CNN Staffers Say Network Has ‘Systemic and Institutional Bias Toward Israel’

by | Feb 5, 2024

CNN Staffers Say Network Has ‘Systemic and Institutional Bias Toward Israel’

by | Feb 5, 2024

cnn newsource

Several employees of CNN spoke out against the outlet’s bias towards Israel in its reporting on the war on Gaza. Other US corporate media outlets have shown significant favoritism toward Tel Aviv. 

The Guardian reports speaking with six staffers from different newsrooms who said that there is growing backlash against the leadership’s pro-Israel slant. “The majority of news since the war began, regardless of how accurate the initial reporting, has been skewed by a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel,” said one CNN staffer. “Ultimately, CNN’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza war amounts to journalistic malpractice.”

“There’s a lot of internal strife and dissent. Some people are looking to get out,” the CNN staffer explained. “Senior staffers who disagree with the status quo are butting heads with the executives giving orders, questioning how we can effectively tell the story with such restrictive directives in place.”

A staffer speaking with the Guardian explained how systemic censorship occurs. “Many have been pushing for more content from Gaza to be alerted and aired.” The source continued, “By the time these reports go through Jerusalem and make it to TV or the homepage, critical changes – from the introduction of imprecise language to an ignorance of crucial stories – ensure that nearly every report, no matter how damning, relieves Israel of wrongdoing.”

The CNN employees say the bias starts at the top, with CEO Mark Thompson. The Guardian obtained emails and members that backed up the accusations made by the CNN staff members. The employees say the slant is causing a backlash. 

In one memo obtained by the Guardian, Thompson gave orders that all stories mentioning the atrocities committed by the Israelis in Gaza must mention the war is only occurring because of the Hamas attack on October 7. 

The memo reads, “We must continue always to remind our audiences of the immediate cause of this current conflict, namely the Hamas attack and mass murder and kidnap of civilians.” One staffer confirmed that the memo was interpreted “as an instruction that no matter what the Israelis do, Hamas is ultimately to blame.”

CNN’s bias towards Tel Aviv is matched by the Washington Post and New York Times. Writing at FAIR, Julie Hollar explains,” At the New York Times and Washington Post, opinion editors have skewed the Gaza debate toward an Israel-centered perspective, dominated by men and, among guest writers, government officials.”

“While both papers did include a few strong pro-Palestinian voices—their pages leaned heavily toward a conversation dominated by Israeli interests and concerns.” She continued, “That was due in large part due to their stables of regular columnists, who tend to write from a perspective aligned with Israel. As a result, the viewpoints readers were most likely to encounter on the opinion pages of the two papers were sympathetic to, but not necessarily uncritical of, Israel.”

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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