On November 2, Palestinian Authority TV correspondent Mohammad Abu Hattab was killed in the Gaza Strip. CNN promptly reported on how the TV station reacted to news of his death, describing heart-wrenching scenes of grief in a November 3 article entitled, “‘No international protection at all.’ Grief and anger erupt on air after another Palestinian journalist is killed in Gaza.” CNN omitted that over the recent weeks, the same TV station, and even the deceased correspondent, had been joyously celebrating and justifying the murder of Jews. That omission fits into a longstanding pattern at CNN of leaving its audience in the dark about Palestinian societal attitudes.
Hattab’s death sent shockwaves through his newsroom, with Palestine TV journalist Salman Al Bashir making an emotional on-air report that reduced a television anchor to tears.
“We can’t bear this anymore. We are exhausted, we are here victims and martyrs awaiting our deaths, we are dying one after the other and no one cares about us or the large scale catastrophe and the crime in Gaza,” he said.
“No protection, no international protection at all, no immunity to anything, this protection gear does not protect us and not those helmets,” Al Bashir continued, as he removed his own helmet and protective vest, which had “PRESS” inscribed in bright letters.
“It is every journalist’s worst nightmare. While live on air, this reporter found out his colleague was killed,” is how CNN’s Salma Abdelaziz began her video report on the death of Hattab.
Yet, when Israelis – including journalists and their families – were butchered by Hamas, Hattab and Palestine TV did not consider it a “nightmare.” To the contrary, they celebrated the mass murder. As Palestinian terrorists were still rampaging through southern Israel – raping, torturing, mutilating, burning, murdering, and kidnapping – Hattab was glorifying the terrorists, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch:
“Today Gaza landed a blow that this occupation will yet remember… Today the Palestinian people had its say, and the resistance responded with all the force at its disposal… Today Palestine stands united against the barbaric aggression that the Israeli occupation is committing… This operation (i.e., Hamas terror massacre) disrupted the Israeli calculations and history will mark it. This occupation will know well that the Palestinian people is in its land and needs to take its right to self-determination by force… Today the world states are taking action to save this occupation from this military operation in which [Israel suffered] killed people and captives. We are talking about dozens of detainees and captives, both dead bodies and captive soldiers and settlers… Today they are imprisoned in the Gaza Strip.”
Hattab wasn’t alone at Palestine TV. On October 11, one of the station’s political commentators described the 1,400 murdered Israelis – the overwhelming majority of them civilians, including children, elderly, and disabled – as “military squads.” On October 24, the TV station aired another political commentator who described Jews as “human waste.” Palestine TV’s Israel affairs reporter spent October 16 denying the well-documented atrocities in southern Israel had even happened. A week later, the station featured a university lecturer who described the scenes from the October 7 massacre as “beautiful images.”
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank Celebrate on October 7, Hand Out Sweets, Fire Guns in the Air, following Hamas’s Invasion and Massacre in the Gaza Envelope #Palestinians #Hamas #Gaza #Israel pic.twitter.com/hox5P91DkM
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 29, 2023
Let’s be clear: no journalist deserves to die, no matter how reprehensible their beliefs are.
But CNN’s selective coverage has left its audience with an incomplete picture. They are shown Palestinians weeping over the tragic costs of war, but not those exact same Palestinians celebrating and justifying the horrendous atrocities that launched that war.
This fits into a longstanding pattern at CNN. The network has consistently failed to adequately inform its audience of the prevalence of antisemitism and incitement in Palestinian society. Worse, it has actively distorted the truth about Palestinian bigotry and extremism, often in ways that work to dishonestly shift blame to Israel.
Not that long ago, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour fabricated polling data to falsely claim Palestinians supported a peaceful, two-state solution with Israel when the actual data showed the exact opposite.
In July, the same Abeer Salman wrote an article about surveys showing Palestinian dissatisfaction with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, which she depicted as the result of “increasing Israeli settler violence…” What Salman omitted was that Palestinian violence against Israelis began before the spike in settler violence and has been far more frequent. She similarly omitted that the same surveys also showed a sharp rise in Palestinian support for “armed confrontations” (58% in March 2023). That trend also began before the spike in settler violence.
Where CNN can’t distort survey data, it often simply leaves stories of Palestinian incitement unreported. For example, there’s not a single story on CNN’s website about how, just a few months ago, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas justified Adolf Hitler’s extermination of Jews. International condemnation swiftly followed, and the international media widely reported on it. But CNN averted its eyes.