CNN spokesperson admits outlet submits stories to IDF for Israeli censorship and control
By Belle Carter // Jan 16, 2024

A spokesperson from CNN admitted that the mainstream media outlet follows a certain protocol that gives Israeli censors influence over its stories.

The said staffer who spoke to the nonprofit news organization Intercept, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the news outlet's news coverage about Israel and Palestine is first run through and reviewed by the CNN Jerusalem bureau, which is subject to the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF's) scrutiny prior to publication.

The source further revealed that the "review team" restricts foreign news outlets from reporting on certain subjects of its choosing and outright censors articles or news segments if they don't meet its guidelines. This just means that much of the network's recent coverage of the war in Gaza and its reverberations around the world has been shaped by journalists who operate under the shadow of Israeli Military Censor, a unit in the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence tasked with carrying out preventive censorship. (Related: Israeli Military Censor lists 8 topics journalists are banned from covering.)

Intercept's D.C. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim further reported that a "shaky arrangement" has long existed between the IDF censor and the domestic and foreign press, forcing journalists to frequently self-censor their reporting for fear of running afoul of prohibited subjects, losing their press credentials, and potentially being forced to offer a public apology. "CNN, like other American broadcasters, has repeatedly agreed to submit footage recorded in Gaza to the military censor prior to airing it in exchange for limited access to the strip, drawing criticism from those who say the censor is providing a filtered view of events unfolding on the ground," he further exposed.

The industry insider said that the policy of running stories about Israel or the Palestinians past the Jerusalem bureau has been in place for years. It is simply down to the fact that many unique and complex local nuances warrant extra scrutiny to make sure our reporting is as precise and accurate as possible."

For James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute, the IDF's approach to censoring media outlets is "Israel's way of intimidating and controlling news." "Every single Israel-Palestine-related line for reporting must seek approval from the [Jerusalem] bureau –  or, when the bureau is not staffed, from a select few handpicked by the bureau and senior management –  from which lines are most often edited with a very specific nuance," another staffer told the Intercept.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem bureau chief Richard Greene announced it had expanded its review team to include editors outside of Israel, calling the new policy "Jerusalem SecondEyes." The expanded review process was ostensibly put in place to bring "more expert eyes" to CNN's reporting particularly when the Jerusalem news desk is not staffed. The CNN staff also revealed that "war crime" and "genocide" are considered taboo words. Israeli bombings in Gaza will be reported as "blasts" attributed to nobody until the Israeli military weighs in to either accept or deny responsibility. Quotes and information provided by the Israeli army and government officials tend to be approved quickly, while those from Palestinians tend to be heavily scrutinized and slowly processed, the source further disclosed.

Despite the revelations, CNN's senior director of news standards and practices David Lindsey told journalists in a Nov. 2 memo that "Hamas representatives are engaging in inflammatory rhetoric and propaganda... We should be careful not to give it a platform." Another email sent in October suggested that the network aimed to present the Ministry of Health's casualty figures as questionable, with the News Standards and Practices division telling staffers, "Hamas controls the government in Gaza and we should describe the Ministry of Health as 'Hamas-controlled' whenever we are referring to casualty statistics or other claims related to the present conflict." Newsroom employees were also advised to "remind our audiences of the immediate cause of this current conflict, namely the Hamas attack and mass murder and kidnap of Israeli civilians" on Oct. 7.

Military censor says Netanyahu presses him to clamp down on reporting

Back in November 2023, Israel's military censor Brig. Gen. Kobi Mandelblit allegedly complained in private that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior government officials are pressing him to muzzle some media publications without a valid security justification. Mandelblit reportedly vented on the matter to other senior IDF officers in a recent off-the-record conversation, during which he made several harsh remarks about the prime minister and told them he fears Netanyahu wants to remove him from his post or deprive the censor of authority.

Netanyahu's office responded in a statement that the censor had in its view harmed national security and endangered soldiers by permitting the publication of some news during the current conflict in the Gaza Strip. It did not provide details but denied that Mandelblit's job had been threatened.

The military official, who is a cousin of former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and the Israeli jurist who indicted Netanyahu on corruption charges, claimed he was asked to clamp down on information from cabinet meetings in which Netanyahu came off as hesitant about the ongoing war with Hamas. One item that he was requested to withhold, and which was indeed prevented from publication, concerned private matters relating to Netanyahu and his wife, the report said. The censor justified the ban by ruling it was due to security considerations relating to the Netanyahu couple, a local newspaper reported.

Check out Censorship.news to read more stories on news and free speech suppression.

Sources for this article include:

CommonDreams.org

TheIntercept.com

TimesOfIsrael.com



Take Action:
Support NewsTarget by linking to this article from your website.
Permalink to this article:
Copy
Embed article link:
Copy
Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use is permitted with credit to NewsTarget.com (including a clickable link).
Please contact us for more information.
Free Email Alerts
Get independent news alerts on natural cures, food lab tests, cannabis medicine, science, robotics, drones, privacy and more.

NewsTarget.com © 2022 All Rights Reserved. All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. NewsTarget.com is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. NewsTarget.com assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published on this site. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

This site uses cookies
News Target uses cookies to improve your experience on our site. By using this site, you agree to our privacy policy.
Learn More
Close
Get 100% real, uncensored news delivered straight to your inbox
You can unsubscribe at any time. Your email privacy is completely protected.