CNN, the American Cable news-based TV channel owned by communication heavyweight AT&T, carries an official slogan that goes: “The Most Trusted Name in News”
In recent times, that slogan has been taking a turn south as more and more examples begin to surface of CNN’s bias when it comes to reporting — especially with concerns to the Middle East.
A few days ago, after the horrific massacre in El Paso, Jake Tapper the chief Washington correspondent for CNN manipulated the event to casually compare the white nationalist mass-murderer with Palestinians and their cause. As one horrified viewer said, “What do the Palestinians have to do with white nationalism or El Paso. This guy is way off his rocker.”
But Jake Tapper’s malicious dialogue was yet another example of deeply ingrained anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim bigotry by a member of the “most trusted name in news”.
On a talk show, he manipulated a conversation about white supremacy, which led to the massacre of 22 innocent people, into a racist slam against Palestinians and Arabs, who are among the top targets of white supremacists. The special extended version of CNN’s Sunday flagship show State of the Union was supposed to grapple with two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that came within 24 hours from midday last Saturday to early morning Sunday and dwell on the El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius of Dallas, who cited ‘anti-immigrant racism and the president’s rhetoric as motivating factors in an alleged 2,300-word rant posted online shortly before the attack.’
Somehow Jake Tapper still finds a way to bring the Arab world and Palestinians into a conversation about WHITE SUPREMACISTS murdering innocent people.
However, Tapper tried to convince viewers that such racism was no different than ‘the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders whose followers occasionally attack Israelis’ as part of the resistance movement to their oppression by the apartheid state.
“You hear conservatives talk all the time—rightly, in my view — about the tone set by, well, the Arab world,” said Tapper. “The Palestinians and the way they talk about Israelis, justifying — in the same way, you’re doing, no direct link between what the leader says and the violence to some poor Israeli girl in a pizzeria—but the idea you’re validating this hatred.” We cannot let this slide.
Individuals and media groups immediately took to the airwaves demanding that CNN take action against such blatant distortion of facts. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and MPower Change, a grassroots organisation, demanded that CNN President Jeff Zucker take action against this kind of anti-Arab and Islamophobic bigotry, “especially in the aftermath of an explicitly an anti-immigrant mass shooting.”
Tapper, who continuously voices anti-Palestinian and far-right sentiments under the guise of balanced reporting remains uncensored.
He had previously interviewed extreme white supremacist Richard Spencer – a man who wants “peaceful ethnic cleansing” and invokes Nazi slogans – giving him an enormous public platform to broadcast his hateful views. He was severely critical of a near-unanimous UN vote condemning the US decision to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is indeed disturbing that his racism against Palestinians and Arabs continues to get a pass by CNN and others.
“Somehow Jake Tapper still finds a way to bring the Arab world and Palestinians into a conversation about WHITE SUPREMACISTS murdering innocent people,” a popular activist said on Twitter. “Disgust-ing. But hey, when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
According to data from Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, at least 3,480 Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli security forces in recent times versus 127 Israelis at the hands of Palestinians. Of the 3,480, a total of 782 were children and 338 were women. Which brings to mind the swift firing by CNN less than a year ago of popular CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill when he talked about Israeli occupation and modern-day colonisation. Hill had appeared at a UN-sponsored event commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In the speech, he accused the Israeli government of practising what he termed as ‘settler colonialism’ and apartheid.
Hill explained his remarks as ‘I called for freedom and equal rights for all citizens, irrespective of race, religion, class, gender, or sexual identity. No one should have greater or fewer rights and privileges in a democracy. It’s quite simple.’
The pro-Zionist movement in the US immediately set about to remove this individual from any forum that may bring to light what the US media has suppressed for so long, the ill and vicious treatment of the hapless Palestinians. No such haste has been observed of CNN in Tapper’s case.
A year and a half ago, US President Trump tweeted: “CNN’S slogan is CNN, THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS. Everyone knows this is not true, that this could, in fact, be a fraud on the American Public. There are many outlets that are far more trusted than Fake News CNN. Their slogan should be CNN, THE LEAST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS!”
Today CNN is proving him right.
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena