CNN is facing a backlash from its own staff over editorial policies they say have led to a regurgitation of Israeli propaganda and the censoring of Palestinians perspectives in the network’s coverage of the war in Gaza.
Journalists in CNN newsrooms in the US and overseas say broadcasts have been skewed by management edicts and a story-approval process that has resulted in highly partial coverage of the Hamas massacre on 7 October and Israel’s retaliatory attack on Gaza.
“The majority of news since the war began, regardless of how accurate the initial reporting, has been skewed by a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel,” said one CNN staffer. “Ultimately, CNN’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza war amounts to journalistic malpractice.”
According to accounts from six CNN staffers in multiple newsrooms, and more than a dozen internal memos and emails obtained by the Guardian, daily news decisions are shaped by a flow of directives from the CNN headquarters in Atlanta that have set strict guidelines on coverage.
They include tight restrictions on quoting Hamas and reporting other Palestinian perspectives while Israel government statements are taken at face value. In addition, every story on the conflict must be cleared by the Jerusalem bureau before broadcast or publication.
CNN journalists say the tone of coverage is set at the top by its new editor in chief and CEO, Mark Thompson, who took up his post two days after the 7 October Hamas attack. Some staff are concerned about Thompson’s willingness to withstand external attempts to influence coverage given that in a former role as the BBC’s director general he was accused of bowing to Israeli government pressure on a number of occasions, including a demand to remove one of the corporation’s most prominent correspondents from her post in Jerusalem in 2005. [Continue reading…]