My last post about CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman’s July 10th report from Nablus warned that we were working on major aspects of this report and had serious concerns about the honesty and accuracy of it. There is now good reason to believe that Wedeman and CNN have seriously compromised their professional and ethical obligations in this matter.
It has been confirmed to Second Draft by reliable Israeli sources that the short clip of the Kindergarten graduation “festivities” that Wedeman used in that report is actually part of a much longer and extremely disturbing video which we at Second Draft have now posted on YouTube. Here is the whole video-
It has further been confirmed by Second Draft's source that the full length video which had been confiscated by the Israeli Defense Force had been given to CNN as an exclusive with the understanding that it represented clear and undeniable evidence that the Palestinian Authority is not complying with one of the basic responsibilities it has undertaken as part of the ongoing negotiations to stop intentionally fomenting hatred and violence.
The sequence in the YouTube video that begins 6 seconds in is particularly horrific. The camera work is bad but you can clearly see that the children dressed as Palestinian “fighters” are acting out an assault on and murder of children dressed as and playing the role of unsuspecting Israeli soldiers. The “dead Israelis” are then dragged across the stage. The clip Wedeman used showed the dragging (without explanation of the uniforms) without the murder sequence.
This, of course goes a long way in explaining why Wedeman's report seemed so disjointed. He was a very busy little suck-up - trying to serve all his diverse interests by appearing professional, bending over backwards to avoid angering the Palestinians and throwing the merest of bones to the Israelis.
His first priorities (as is the case with our other favorite media villain, Charles Enderlin) are his career, his image and his bank account. He is a favored toady of Hamas and as such, gets lots of juicy goodies ike his field trip to a Qassam factory. Which no reporter that ever said anything negative would ever have gotten (or returned from on schedule or alive, anyway). So he gets a lot of benefits from "being nice" to the Palestinians. On the other hand, the Israelis just swallow all the bias and keep rewarding him and CNN with "exclusives" that they, in turn, feel free to use against the Israelis. This is what we call access journalism.
So, Wedeman used the Kindergarten video, which should have represented a promising opportunity to bring clarity and fairness back into the debate, in such a way as to diminish its positive effect severely and, in fact, to turn it against Israel.
This is also yet another example of the Israelis (who value freedom of the press and will not punish such behavior- even by just taking away press accreditation) being betrayed and libeled by reporters who live in fear of the explicit favoritism and violence of the Palestinians (who stage, exaggerate and misrepresent continually while threatening anyone who does not toe their line). See my post on what Israel and America have in common with battered women.
Wedeman is not just a fool and a dupe, he is so much less than that, he is a greedy, duplicitous liar who is trying to serve too many masters. The savagery of the images which he minimizes and the evil to which he caters on a regular basis all the while pretending to "evenhandedness and professional integrity is, simply, hollow and disgusting.
As I mentioned above, his (and CNN's) first priorities are his career, image and bank account. The only way we can correct the situation is for you to help us at Second Draft fulfill our mission of educating the public to be more informed and discriminating consumers of "the news". If we can do that, the public will lose the undeserved trust they hold for CNN. Then news slobs like Wedeman and Enderlin will lose their jobs and we can begin to build a media we can tust.
Spread the word - CNN is NOT to be trusted!