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CNN’s Mike Hanna: Round Up the Usual Bias

CNN’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna has a nasty habit – when Palestinians are killed in clashes with Israelis, he is generally sure to let his audience know the perpetrators, as in this report on October 11:

The number of dead today, at least two. A 16-year old Palestinian killed in the Gaza Strip; a 17- year old Palestinian killed in the West Bank – both, reportedly, by Israeli fire.

But when it comes to the killers of Israelis, Hanna seems to suffer from sudden bouts of amnesia. Thus, one sentence later, reporting the funeral of an Israeli, he neglected to mention the perpetrator:

'There was a funeral for an Israeli who had been found killed last week.

Hanna certainly could have said “killed, reportedly by Palestinians,” since the IDF had issued a clear statement on Rabbi Hillel Lieberman’s death two days before, saying:

Lieberman was murdered in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists as he made his way to Nablus. The IDF holds the PA directly responsible ... (Jerusalem Post, October 10, 2000)

Despite this, Hanna reports the murder of the Rabbi in the passive voice, stating that he was “found killed.” And in reports the day before, Hanna was just as “forgetful.” Willfully ignoring clear Israeli statements that Rabbi Lieberman had in fact been murdered, Hanna informed viewers that the Rabbi was “found dead”:

Israeli police say that a Jewish settler was found dead, also shot, near the West Bank town of Nablus. (CNN, October 9, 2000)

Hanna displayed the same bias against Israel in reporting the wounding on October 31 of his CNN colleague Ben Wedeman, who was caught in a crossfire at the Karni Junction in Gaza. Speaking from his hospital bed, Wedeman said:

We were caught in a gun battle, and it’s hard to say what exactly the sources of fire were. (AP, November 1, 2000)

CNN producer Bruce Conover, who was with Wedeman at Karni, agreed that it was difficult to determine which side’s fire had hit the reporter:

... it was a very nasty firefight, with shelling, probably with gunfire. It’s hard to tell from which side, but there was definitely a lot of stuff coming across. (CNN, October 31, 2000)

But in his report on Wedeman’s wounding, Hanna would have none of this. He was determined that viewers understand it was probably those trigger-happy Israelis that had shot Wedeman:

Among those wounded, CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman, who was hit by a live round during a clash between Israelis and Palestinians. He says he could not be sure where the bullet came from, but he says the preponderance of fire came from the Israeli side. (CNN, October 31, 2000)

According to CNN and wire reports, Wedeman had said no such thing, and neither had those with him.

Mike Hanna is unfortunately just another in the long line of CNN correspondents like Walter Rodgers, Brent Sadler, Rula Amin and Jim Clancy who’ve never met a Middle East story they won’t try to spin or slant against Israel.


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