Propaganda Watch

CNN Used 1991 Film To Incite Against Palestinians

Posted: 26 Jamad-u-Thani 1422, 14 September 2001

CNN showed Palestinians cheering the death and destruction of 11 September. The scenes were repeated throughout the day and around the world to sow hatred against the "callous" Palestinians.

Now it turns out that it used footage from 1991 and just claimed that it was today's footage. A contributor to CounterPunch (edited by Alexander Cockburn) reports that he and his colleagues had compared this tape with one from 1991 showing Palestinian cheering, and found them to be identical. Here are excerpts from that letter by Marcio A. V. Carvalho at State University of Campinas - Brazil:

"All around the world we are subjected to 3 or 4 huge news distributors, and one of them - as you well know - is CNN. Very well, I guess all of you have been seeing (just as I've been) images from this company. In particular, one set of images called my attencion: the Palestinians celebrating the bombing, out on the streets, eating some cake and making funny faces for the camera.

Well, THOSE IMAGES WERE SHOT BACK IN 1991! Those are images of Palestinians celebrating the invasion of Kuwait! It's simply unacceptable that a super-power of communications as CNN uses images which do not correspond to the reality in talking about so serious an issue.

A teacher of mine, here in Brazil, has videotapes recorded in 1991, with the very same images; he's been sending emails to CNN, Globo (the major TV network in Brazil) and newspapers, denouncing what I myself classify as a crime against the public opinion. If anyone of you has access to this kind of files, search for it. In the meanwhile, I'll try to 'put my hands' on a copy of this tape.

But now, think for a moment about the impact of such images. Your people are hurt, emotionally fragile, and this kind of broadcast have very high possibility of causing waves of anger and rage against Palestinians. It's simply irresponsible to show images such as those."

Marcio A. V. Carvalho State University of Campinas - Brazil.


Contact CNN at:,,,,,

In polite but firm letters denounce the act and demand an explanation and corrective action.

For more on this issue you can visit the following discussion list which has arguments and counter arguments from all sides.

It should be noted that CNN response on this has been ambivalent. They angrily denied it to some people who emailed them while said that they will issue a response later to others. Still others have not received any response from CNN.

According to one posting on the list whose URL is given above, a person received the same account (that the tape was indeed old) from another independent source in Germany.

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.

For followup, see CNN and The Palestinian Coverage.