Protesting the CNN biased coverage
Provided by: Chris Meyer
Date: July 9, 2002
Written By: Tom MacMaster
Atlanta: On Sunday June 30, a sweltering summer day in Georgia, a crowd of 150 people gathered along a busy Atlanta street across from CNN (Cable News Network) headquarters in downtown Atlanta. Chant’s of “CNN Stop Lying, Palestinians are dying,” and “CNN-half the story, all the time” echoed along Marietta street.
In the aftermath of Ted Turner’s recent comments to a British newspaper, Atlanta Palestine Solidarity (APS), a recently formed Palestine advocacy group, called the demonstration in response to what they consider to be CNN’ s, “apparent caving in to political and financial pressures from Israel and it’s supporters in the U.S.”
Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, recently accused Israel in an interview to the Manchester Guardian of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians. Though he later apologized for his comments, the company he founded in 1981, distanced itself from him and responded by producing a five-part documentary series on Israeli civilians killed since September 2000 titled, “Victims of Terror”.
In addition, CNN has created an online memorial on its website with pictures and brief biographies of only the Israelis killed during the current Palestinian uprising. In a statement issued by APS on June 24, the group demanded that CNN dedicate equal coverage to the Palestinian victims killed by Israel in an equivalent five part series. They also demanded a complete tally of every single child, woman, elderly or innocent Palestinian civilian be included on CNN’s web page. Speaking about the protest, APS member Adam Levenstein said, “For a fledgling group that organized this protest in less than a week, this is pretty good.” Levenstein also referred to the many groups who had joined APS in sponsoring this demonstration. These included Al-Awda - Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Palestine Media Watch, Refuse and Resist – Atlanta, Islamic Association for Palestine, Arab-American Christians for Peace, International Action Center and the Georgia chapter of the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee.
Tracey Green who had come with Refuse and Resist explained why her group endorsed the call, “We stand with the people around the world and not with what the US government is doing by supporting Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians.” When questioned about allegations that Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians is not equivalent to suicide attacks by Palestinian militants, local Al-Awda organizer, Yosef Abuneaj said, “Every major human rights organization such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B'Tselem has said that Israel targets civilians for political purposes. Not one human rights organization supports the ludicrous notion that Israel does not target civilians. Since far more Palestinian civilians are thus killed by Israeli forces than the other way around, it is clear that the Israeli army is engaged in far greater terrorism than anything Palestinians are capable of doing.” When questioned about CNN’s current coverage, Rani El-Hajjar, the Atlanta regional coordinator of Palestine Media Watch also objected to CNN’s adoption of what he called “Israeli terminology.” El-Hajjar said that “CNN’s exclusion of Palestinians and its referral to exclusively Jewish settlements as ‘neighborhoods’ is a distortion of facts; these settlements are in contravention of internationally accepted legal norms. People are being mislead and this must end.”
The organizers of the protest promised to coordinate with other groups around the country in a national demonstration next spring if CNN persists in what they consider to be “blatantly racist, pro-Israel propaganda”. Tom MacMaster is a freelance writer living in metro Atlanta and is currently working on a book on the Palestinian situation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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