Thursday, August 10, 2006

Media Gems - Arabs and Muslims One and the Same?

CNN shows it ignorance of the basic definitions again!
You can find the whole jewel here:


The title says: "Hezbollah warns Muslims to flee Haifa"

The secondary title says: "Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday warned all Israeli Arabs to leave the port city of Haifa so the militant group could step up attacks without fear of shedding the blood of fellow Muslims."

The text of the news item quotes Hassan Nasrallah as saying: "I have a special message to the Arabs of Haifa, to your martyrs and to your wounded: I call on you to leave this city. I hope you do this. ... Please leave so we don't shed your blood, which is our blood."

My comment:

The quite accurate translation of Nasrallah's speech does not make any difference between Muslims and Christians (or Jews for that matter!) He is addressing the "Arabs of Haifa", so why did the secondary title talk about "the blood of fellow Muslims"? Why did the title talk about "warning Muslims"? Does CNN know the difference between Arab and Muslim? Note that the orignial AP wire, by Joseph Panossian, was titled "Nasrallah urges Arabs to Leave Haifa". It can be found here ( ) but may join the archives soon and become inaccessible. The first paragraph of that wire, though, still mentions the "blood of fellow Muslims" which does not belong to Nasrallah's speech.

Conclusion: CNN seems to have changed the title deliberately. Is it to blur the picture a little further for its readers?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Media Gems - Anderson Cooper Moving from Journalism to Propaganda

CNN, "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees", aired on 3 August 2006. Two instances of shameless media bias. You can find them both in the transcript at:

Gem 1: Cooper goes chemical



GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: It should not be lost on us, for example, that Hezbollah fields greater and longer range weapons than most regional armed forces. If left unchecked it is possible to imagine chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons being transferred to militias or terrorist organizations by a state actor.


COOPER: Chemical, biological or nuclear being transferred to a group like Hezbollah. Certainly a terrifying scenario for many. For more on Hezbollah, the fighting and peace keeping mission. I spoke earlier to retired Brigadier General David Grange, who's also a CNN military analyst. And I began by asking him about General Abizaid's belief that Hezbollah wants nuclear weapons.


COOPER: What do you the likelihood of that really is?

My comment:

Cooper takes what "is possible to imagine" and turns it into a near-certainty by moving from the general statement about "militias or terrorist organizations" to "Chemical, biological or nuclear being transferred to a group like Hezbollah." Let's keep in mind that General Abizaid represents an army which was not even able to find such weapons in Iraq! Well, not only do such claims remain phony because there has never been evidence to Hezbollah's desire to acquire such weapons, but there have been reports about Israel using phosphorus bombs in Lebanon during the current conflict. They should be investigated.

Gem 2: Cooper becomes more Gillermanish than Gillerman himself


COOPER: When you really listen to these speeches that Nasrallah has given in the past, I mean, it's a speech that an Adolph Hitler could have given, I mean essentially these guys are Islamic fascists. And then you hear the president of Iran talking about essentially a final solution against the state of Israel and you compare that to suddenly seeing Hezbollah flags in Trafalgar Square and demonstrations. Do you feel like the world understands what Hezbollah is really all about?

GILLERMAN: I certainly hope the world understands because this war is not just about the safety of Israel or the freedom of Lebanon, it is about preserving civilization as we know it. When...

My comment:

Adolf Hitler, no less? For all I know, Nasrallah's speech was neither agressive nor anti-Jewish/anti-semitic. He was firm, indeed, but he was clear as to his intention of stopping the shelling of Israel as soon as Israel stops shelling the Lebanese. His threat of shelling Tel Aviv was conditional, i.e. he would do it only if Israel pursued the shelling of Beirut. And where did the term "Islamic fascists" come from? Anderson is borrowing this from neocon litterature, isn't he? Does he know the definition of the word "fascism"? Does he know the difference between "Islamic" and "Islamist"? Hezbollah's flags in London bother him? But isn't that freedom of expression? Finally, would Anderson Cooper say, for instance, that Olmert is a "Zionist fascist" because Beirut is being shelled and Lebanese civilians are being murdered by the hundreds?

What is clear is that Anderson Cooper is no more an anchor than I am a sports champion. He has just transformed himself into an instrument for Israeli propaganda.