In the wake of the killings by Israeli forces of two Palestinian youths at a Nakba Day demonstration in the occupied West Bank on May 15, CNN aired an excellent report by Ivan Watson providing evidence that Israelis fired live shells at the teenagers. And then, as we noted, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had on former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, now a CNN “analyst,” to suggest that the killings were the “staged” work of Palestinians.
Yousef Munayyer now develops the story: “Wolf Lets Oren Howl at CNN Colleague’s Work.” Excerpts:
Yet, after the [Ivan Watson] package showing Israeli soldiers firing and killing a Palestinian teen was completed, Blitzer turns to his CNN colleague Watson and asks:
“Ivan, a little while ago you spoke with an IDF, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman. What did he say?”
I guess Blitzer wanted to make sure viewers heard the official Israeli perspective, even though it was already provided at the very beginning of the clip. So, Watson proceeds to relay the comments of the Israeli military spokesman again. At this point you’d think Blitzer, the former AIPAC employee, was framing the segment with his questions to ensure the Israel perspective on the events overtook any impression the horrifying video had on CNN’s viewers. And then Blitzer says:
“Ivan, I want you to stand by because Michael Oren is here. He’s the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, former spokesman earlier in his career for the Israel Defense Forces as well.”
Yup, that’s right. Not only do we get an official quote from the Israeli perspective to start the clip, not only is the reporter then asked to repeat the Israeli perspective after the clip, a former Israeli official is brought on to comment about it.
Oren, if you may not know, became a CNN contributor earlier this year. Oren proceeds to dismiss the video by claiming that “we don’t know anything” about what happened. He even says the two boys, whose funeral processions and burials were filmed here, may not even be dead and that the entire thing might be staged.
For Oren, it is just as likely or more so that these masses were staged, that these burials were staged, that those corpses were not corpses, that the tears, wails and laments of family and friends were not real, than it is likely for an Israeli soldier to shoot and kill a Palestinian child.
How disgusting a human being must you be to make such a claim? If you have the stomach for it, the entire transcript is here.
This is as blatant as I have ever seen the pro-Israel bias on this network. What you have here is a segment with three CNN employees, two of them, Blitzer and Oren, have very clear and obvious pasts working to support Israel and its image in the United States. Together, these two heap all sorts of skepticism and doubt on the journalism of their very own CNN colleague. If you were confused about what their priorities are, you shouldn’t be anymore.
This is Zionism and this, sadly, is CNN.
Let’s go to that transcript. Here are excerpts. Note that Oren promises a trial of the soldiers if they used live fire. I keep thinking of how Wolf Blitzer would have covered Kent State. Giving the National Guard the microphone?
MICHAEL OREN, CNN MIDEAST ANALYST: Good to be with you, Wolf, always. Israel has had a lot of experience with pictures like this going back to 2000. Remember the Mohamed al Doura case which helped trigger the second Intifada, great questions whether Mohamed al Doura could have been shot by Israeli forces, whether he was shot at all.
In 2006 a report from Gaza about a family of eight Palestinians killed supposedly by Israeli tank fire. It turned out upon further investigation that they were killed by a Hamas mine, and even in 2012, during the latest fighting in Gaza, a picture of a Palestinian man holding the body of his son purportedly killed by Israeli planes, it was on the front page of the “Washington Post.” It turns out that that picture was staged as well. So Israel — it doesn’t apologize. It investigates very carefully.
BLITZER: They are two boys. Two teenage boys are dead.
OREN: Indeed. We don’t know that for certain. The pictures are very disturbing. But–
BLITZER: You don’t know these two boys are dead?
OREN: We don’t know anything right now. These pictures were taken four days ago. They were released only in the last 24 hours. There were two hours of film that were taken, only two minutes were released of these films. The many, many inconsistencies, you see two young people who were supposedly shot, one to the chest, one through the back but they both fall in the same way. They fall forward which is inconsistent with what we know about combat deaths….
BLITZER: So you hear those reports, very disturbing information. But what I hear you suggesting, it’s possible you think that this whole thing was staged? Is that what you’re suggesting?
OREN: We don’t know. We don’t know. And the Israeli military has a way of investigating this thing. If they can get the bullet [shown by Ivan Watson in his report] they can determine whether that bullet came from an Israeli weapon. It can actually determine what weapon it came from. And it can track — even they know what weapons are fired, live ammunition…
If clearly if they [the Israeli soldiers] were not imminent and present danger, and it turns out that live fire was used then soldiers will be held accountable for that put on trial. But again looking at those pictures and Israeli investigators will look at them very closely, again, the way the bodies fall, the fact that there’s no blood, someone who was hit in the back and a bullet has an exit wound, there is a tremendous amount of bleeding. There’s no bleeding in the picture. There are many, many inconsistencies.
You see a Palestinian young man who’s supposedly throwing a rock at Israeli forces. You’re told that that’s the same Palestinian young men. And later he’s wearing different clothes, Wolf. You’ve got to ask some very serious questions.
BLITZER: All right.
OREN: I’ve had a lot of experience with this.
William McGowan predicted these problems when CNN hired Oren.