Kosher Journalism? CNN Gets Its News from Pro-Israeli Site

Posted: 5 Jamad-ul-Awwal 1423, 16 July 2002

PMWATCH - July 16, 2002 - If you were wondering how CNN was able to quickly set up an extensive web site that listed every single Israeli victim only a few days after the Ted Turner controversy broke out on June 18, wonder no more. (Web site was established 6 days later, on June 24.)

CNN appears to have obtained not only the photos but also much of the actual text (sometimes used practically verbatim) from the heavily pro-Israeli site "The Israel Emergency Solidarity Fund" -- and is passing it for material produced by CNN.

Here is CNN's compilation:

And here is the pro-Israeli site's compilation:

Compare and contrast, especially the text (the photos are identical), and it will be clear that CNN by and large engaged in a cut, paste, and shuffle operation and is now trying to make that look like material generated by CNN.

Nowhere in the site could we find a disclosure that pointed to the original site.

The finding also seems to contradict CNN's July 12, 2002 statement, in which CNN said: "CNN's reporting two weeks ago was conceived and produced after two terror attacks killed 26 Israelis and injured many more." Indeed, "The Israel Emergency Solidarity Fund", as described in their mission statement, was established in November 2000, and the web memorial on their site appears to have long predated the CNN mirror memorial. (No reference to the CNN web memorial could be found on the pro-Israeli web site.)

Besides being journalistically un-professional, this action is in clear and direct violation of one of the basic tenets of the The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) Code of Ethics, which reads in part: "... Professional electronic journalists should... Clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders."

For a multi-national, multi-billion dollar, mega organization whose very business is to gather information, this is a new low.

Here is what you can do:

(1) Call the RTNDA at: 202) 659-6510 / Fax: (202) 223-4007

(2) Call CNN at: (404) 827 - 2030

(3) Drop both the RTNDA and CNN a line by entering your letter and pressing the send button below.