On Palestinians’ Deadliest Day, CNN Protects The Lion’s Den

CNN is highly diligent about tracking the most deadly days for Palestinians. Last month’s headline was “At least 4 Palestinians killed, dozens wounded in one of year’s deadliest Israeli West Bank raids.” Yesterday CNN conscientiously kept up the count, marking a new record number of fatalities with the headline “Six killed by Israeli forces in the deadliest day for Palestinians this year.”

It’s dramatic and newsworthy information. And it’s also highly misleading when corresponding information — like the fact that those killed were terrorists — is ignored or downplayed.

Indeed, when it comes to the identity of the Palestinian casualties, the news network’s reporting is suddenly not so fastidious. To the contrary, the same journalists who so carefully report the numbers of Palestinian casualties also bury the violent activity of those killed. By highlighting the increasing numbers of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire while obscuring the fact that all were engaged in terror activity or attacking troops when they were killed, CNN provides great cheer and sustenance to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who falsely charges that Israel is engaged in “war crimes.” 

Thus, at no point does yesterday’s article by Abeer Salman and Hadas Gold make clear that the five Palestinians killed in Nablus were all members  of the Lion’s Den terror organization. Here’s how the story begins:

At least six Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military on Tuesday, making it the deadliest day of violence in the occupied West Bank this year, CNN analysis of official Palestinian data showed.

Five were killed in the old city of Nablus during an Israeli raid there, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. A sixth person was killed in Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, by Israeli live fire, the Ministry added, when Palestinian protestors took to the streets in response to the Nablus military operation.

The raid in Nablus also left some 20 people injured, the ministry said.

Israel said it was targeting Lion’s Den, a new militant group which emerged in Nablus this year and has targeted Israeli soldiers, killing at least two.

Notably, the CNN reporters don’t even mention Lion’s Den until the fourth paragraph, and only touch on the identity of the casualties in the sixth paragraph, saying that Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid “added that the head of the Lion’s Den militant group and other militants were assassinated in the raid.”

CNN likewise buries the fact that the Israeli military targeted the organization’s bomb factory.  Also in the lowly sixth paragraph, CNN’s Salman and Gold quote Lapid: the “terrorist laboratory of Lion’s Den was severely damaged.”

A comparison to coverage at other media outlets exposes the gravity of CNN’s strenuous efforts to bury the Lion’s Den and the ensuing false suggestion that raging Israeli soldiers carrying out war crimes are killing off peaceful Palestinian civilians.

Unlike CNN, The New York Times places the Lion’s Dean front and center in its story headlined “Deadly Israeli Raid Targets New Palestinian Militia.” The Times’ Isabel Kershner begins:

Israeli forces carried out a major raid against a Palestinian militia in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, killing a leader of the group and four other men, according to members of the militia and Palestinian officials.

The predawn raid targeted the Nablus-based militia known as the Lions’ Den, which emerged this year and does not answer to any of the established Palestinian factions. Many Palestinians have championed the group’s fighters as popular heroes, in part because Israel’s occupation of the territory has dragged on for more than a half-century and become increasingly entrenched.

Israel has blamed the Lions’ Den for a rise in shootings that it says are aimed at its troops and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including one that killed a soldier this month. It said that it had killed the group’s leader, Wadie al-Houh, in an exchange of gunfire, adding that he was the main target of the raid and was responsible for producing bombs and obtaining weapons for the group.

Like The New York Times, the Associated Press also carries a headline tipping readers off to the basic fact that the Palestinian casualties were not innocent victims: “Israeli troops raid gunmen’s hideout; 5 Palestinians killed.” Indeed, AP’s straightforward first sentence reports:

Israeli forces raided a stronghold of an armed group in the occupied West Bank’s second-largest city, blowing up a bomb lab and engaging in a firefight, the military said Tuesday. Five Palestinians were killed and 20 were wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Times and AP reasonably carried out their journalistic responsibilities in covering the Lion’s Den, the lead player in yesterday’s story. CNN, for its part, lent a protective hand to the Lion’s Den as diligently as a vigilant lioness watching over her charges.

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