CNN claims its mission is to be “truth-seekers and storytellers.” Based on the network’s behavior, one must wonder where the truth-seekers are, because the truth is all too often missing from the stories.
Again and again, CAMERA has called out CNN for laundering the propaganda of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, Hamas. Yet CNN still refuses to be straight with its audience about the credibility, or rather lack thereof, of the laundered propaganda.
The latest example comes from a November 14 article by Nic Robertson, Rebecca Wright, John Torigoe, and David Shortell, entitled “Israel shows alleged Hamas ‘armory’ under children’s hospital in Gaza. Local health officials dismiss the claims.”
The article is about the terrorist infrastructure underneath al-Rantisi children’s hospital in the Gaza Strip that the Israeli Defense Forces showed CNN. That the network reported on this story is of course welcome, if long overdue.
But where CNN fails spectacularly is in how it provides cover to Hamas officials attempting to explain away the evidence. The headline refers to “local health officials,” and in the article itself, the authors state that the IDF’s assertions “are denied by Hamas, as well as health officials and hospitals in Gaza.”
Notice that CNN’s language seeks to differentiate “Hamas” and “health officials and hospitals.”
The only two Gazan sources cited in the article are Mohammad Zarqout and Dr. Munir Al-Bursh. The only description of Zarqout is that he “has responsibility for all of Gaza’s hospitals.” Much later in the article, CNN clearly identifies Al-Bursh as the “Director-General of the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza.”
Based solely on CNN’s description of Zarqout and Al-Bursh, and the article’s claim that both Hamas and “health officials and hospitals” have denied the IDF’s claims, one is left with the impression that Zarqout must be the “health official and hospital” source and not a Hamas source.
But in fact, both Zarqout and Al-Bursh are Hamas officials. According to the New York Times’s reporting, Zarqout is the “Gazan Health Ministry’s general manager for hospitals.” That is, Zarqout is from the same “Hamas-controlled Health Ministry” as Al-Bursh.
By failing to clearly identify Zarqout’s affiliation, CNN thus laundered the numerous claims he made in the article as if they came from an independent health official, and not from the Hamas terrorist organization that stands credibly accused of exploiting hospitals for terrorist purposes.
Consider some of the attempts by Zarqout to explain away the IDF’s evidence:
Speaking by phone to CNN on Tuesday, Mohammed Zarqout, who has responsibility for all of Gaza’s hospitals, said the basement at Al Rantisi had been used as a shelter for women and children – not to store Hamas weaponry and hold hostages – as well as being the location of the pharmacy and some of the hospital’s administrative offices before rainwater made it “impossible” to use.
CNN was shown a shaft, about 200 meters away from Al-Rantisi, which [IDF Spokesperson] Hagari claimed was located next to a Hamas commander’s house and also a school.
Wires leading into the shaft provided power to the tunnel from solar panels fixed onto the roof of the Hamas commander’s house, he also said.
“We [put] a robot inside the tunnel and the robot saw a massive door, a door that is in the direction of the hospital,” Hagari said.
Zarquot (sic) said “the tunnel they claim to be a Hamas tunnel is actually an electrical wire assembly point. We raised the wires to prevent any electrical shocks caused by floods.”
These claims would have wildly different credibility if coming from a truly independent source rather than a Hamas source.
So why did CNN decide to hide Zarqout’s affiliation?
This is, yet again, bad journalism from the network. And this bad journalism plays right into Hamas’s cynical media strategy. It tells those terrorists who have undeniably made extensive use of civilian infrastructure that when they commit these war crimes, the media will help them cover it up and shift blame for the harm caused to their enemy, Israel.
CNN’s mission statement also claims that the network is “committed to serving you,” the media consumer. Instead, CNN is acting as if it is committed to serving Hamas.