Israel Resource Review 27th June, 2002


How CNN Could Establish Integrity:
Run Ten Segments on a Day in the Life of the Palestine Authority
David Bedein

On Tuesday morning, June 19th, we began the day with the horrific news of yet another bus bombing in Jerusalem.

A colleague who covers Arabic language media output of the Palestinian Authority, reported how the bus attack was covered on the PBC Voice of Palestine radio station only a few minutes after the attack, in an announcement that would be played all day o the PBC. It was reported as "An attack on a busload of Zionist colonists" on PBC.

No regret, no condemnation.

Yet CNN 11reported that the Palestinian Authority had issued a swift condemnation of the attacks. The CNN news ticker tape running underneath the screen said exactly the same thing. As a former CNN Israel radio correspondent, I immediately called my colleagues at CNN n Jerusalem with the update from PBC radio, and with also called my colleagues at CNN in Atlanta who produce the CNN ticker tape.

CNN in Jerusalem responded by saying that they were relying on the word of PA spokesman Saeb Erakat, who had given them a statement in English condemning the attack, CNN international desk indicated that they would rely on the info received from the PLO public relations office in Washington which is managed by the former US consul in Jerusalem, Mr. Edward Abington.

The CNN policy of reporting the PR statements of Erakat and Abington in English for foreign consumption, as if they reflect the policies and reality of the official PA policy towards terror reflects the CNN policy of how it reports Palestinian terror second hand, in English, without any mention of the PA's own media coverage of the same event.

At a time when CNN's reportage from the middle east has come into question, the way in which CNN could demonstrate its integrity would be to launch a CNN series that call be called Inside the Palestinian Authority, which could have ten segments of reportage never seen before on CNN. As a journalist who has covered each aspect of the PA, I can assure CNN that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO would provide full cooperation in the preparation of each of these reports.

The US State Department and the European Union, who have invested so much in promoting the PLO and its Palestinian Authority as a peace partner, would not be too happy with the new CNN series.

Segment One: A day in the Palestinian Authority classroom, where the official new curriculum that inculcates a new generation of Arab youngsters to conquer all of Palestine would be explored.

Segment Two: A day of following the official news coverage of the PBC radio and TV. Follow those messages of Jihad, as they are conveyed to the Palestinian Arab people, and integrate tens of news clips from the years when CNN forgot to follow the PBC. Note how attacks on Beer Sheva, Hadera and Netanya are justified by the PBC, since these "illegal Jewish settlements" took the place of Arab villages in 1948.

Segment Three: A day on the Fatah Website - With the most newsworthy praises forthcoming for the latest attacks on Jews. Note the fact that Fatah never recognizes any two state solution.

Segment Four: A day of interviewing the official pollsters of the PA who will show how the majority of the Palestinian Arab population justifies suicide bombers in the context of liberating all of Palestine.

Segment Five: A day in the life of an UNRWA camp, where thousands of Arabs languish under the premise and promise of the Right of Return. Make sure that you see the Right of Return computer network that operates in UNRWA camps to help Arabs facilitate their return to homes and villages from 1948 that no longer exist.

Segment Six: A Friday in a mosque. Follow the message conveyed on any given Friday in any mosque under the funding and control of the PA. Begin with Jerusalem.

Segment Seven: Review the new and official maps of the Palestinian Authority which show all of Palestine as the location of any future Palestinian state.

Segment Eight: Interview the Hamas officials who are in the Arafat cabinet. Review the Hamas-PLO accord from December 15, 1995 that incorporated Hamas into the PA and do not forget to mention the PA-Hamas agreement from May 9, 1995 in which the PA agreed to supply weapons to the Hamas. Since CNN has not yet reported the Arafat-Hamas cooperative agreements, all this would be new and newsworthy for the CNN viewers.

Segment Nine: Spend a day reviewing Arafat's unreported speeches to his own people. Start with his recent calls for millions of Arabs to sacrifice themselves to liberate Jerusalem.

Segment Ten: Run a piece on how the Palestinian Authority offers a safe haven for anyone who murders a Jew and takes refuge inside the territories run by the PA. Since PA officials, assailants and victims are ready to be interviewed in this regard, this will be quite a salient human interest story for the CNN viewing audience.

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