CNN and The Palestinian Coverage

CNN rebuts, but...

Posted: 4 Rajab 1422, 22 September 2001

CNN has rebutted the allegation that it used an old tape to malign Palestinians. However there is more to it. The following exchange of letters will explain that.

Letter #1 from CNN

From: "Jordan, Eason"
To: "''"
Subject: retraction and apology
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 08:01:51 -0400

Contrary to a baseless report on your Web site, CNN did not televise 10-year-old videotape and claim the video showed Palestinians celebrating on September 11 of this year in response to the same day terrorist attacks in the United States. The source of the allegation has withdrawn it and apologized. See below. I hope and trust you will give the retraction as much attention as you did the false initial report.



UNICAMP would like to announce that has no knowledge of a videotape from 1991, whose images supposedly aired on CNN showing Palestinians celebrating the terrorist attacks in the U.S. The tape was supposedly from 1991, and there were rumors that the images were passed off as current.

This information was later denied, as soon as it proved false, by Márcio A.V. Carvalho, a student at UNICAMP. He approached the administration today, 17.09.2001, to clarify the following:

· the information he got, verbally, was that a professor from another institution (not from UNICAMP) had the tape;

· he sent the information to a discussion group email list;

· many people from this list were interested in the subject and requested more details;

· he again contacted the person who first gave him the information and the person denied having the tape;

· the student immediately sent out a note clarifying what happened to the people from his email list.

The original message, however, was distributed all over the world, often with many distortions, including a falsified by-line article from the student. He affirms that a hacker attacked his domain. Several E-mails have been sent on his behalf and those dating from 15.09.2001 should be ignored.

Among the distortions is the fact that UNICAMP would be analyzing the tape, which is absolutely false. The administration considers this alert definitive and will be careful to avoid new rumors.

Response from Albalagh

Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001

Dear Mr. Eason Jordan,

Thanks for contacting us with your response. We are eager to get to the bottom of this. Two sites are listed as our source. One is CounterPunch the other is Independent Media. At both places the item is still being displayed, as I write this letter. There is no retraction or apology on either one of them. So we are at a loss to understand the contention that the person has issued an apology and has retracted it.

Additionally we would very much want your response to the following point raised in our posting:
"Even if it turns out that the news of some celebration was true, its use by CNN, without balancing commentary, was clearly malicious and was meant for propaganda purposes: To reverse the tide of support for the Palestinians who have been oppressed by the apartheid state of Israel for too long."

In this connection we may ask why CNN did not repeatedly show the 5 Israelis in New York who were caught filming the destruction and showing joy over it. (See link to this item in Haaretz on our page.)

We assure you that your response will be published on our page as prominently as the original item you are complaining about.

Khalid Baig

Response from CNN

Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001

I don't see the link you promised. I am unaware of the videotape in question. CNN showed more video of mourning Palestinians than it did of celebrating Palestinians. But this fact has been overlooked altogether.

Response from Albalagh

Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001

Here is the link (5 Israelis filming and laughing right here in NY):

Response from CNN

???? (CNN, we are still waiting…)

Albalagh Note: The discussion continues on the list referred to above. There is now a retraction from the original poster. That retraction only means that the poster does not have proof that the tape was old. However, there were other questions raised about the authenticity of the tape, including that the video showed broad daylight when it would be night in Palestine. These questions have not been answered.

However, we think the central issue now is the proprietary of presenting that information the way it was done. And we certainly want to know why the news about 5 Israelis joyfully recording the incident on video was not an equally important news?