How CNN falsely framed peace activists as violent and anti-Semitic

CNN falsely frames peace activists as violent and anti-Semitic

On April 24th, the crisis in Gaza sparked protests on campuses across the US. As peace activists occupied common spaces on campuses, some in corporate media very clearly took sides, portraying student protesters as violent, hateful, and/or stupid. CNN offered some of the most striking of these characterizations.

In a segment titled "Destruction, violence and hate on college campuses across the country," CNN's Dana Bash blamed the peace movement for the harassment and intimidation of Jewish students, claiming that activists were echoing the rhetoric of 1930s Europe. Bash cited videos posted by a pro-Israel undergraduate at UCLA, who claimed that protesters were preventing him from entering "public land" and that "Jewish students" were being profiled. However, the undergraduate, Eli Tsives, was merely confronting peaceful antiwar protesters physically blocking the entrance to their encampment. The protesters' true intent was made clear in videos posted by Tsives, which falsely claimed that the protesters were prohibiting "Jewish students" from entering "public land."

Bash's narrative was unsurprising given her anti-Palestinian stance. Earlier this year, she claimed that the US-funded Israeli military operation in Gaza was a "freedom fight." Meanwhile, CNN correspondent Camila Bernal reported that violence erupted during a "counter protest," falsely implying that pro-Palestinian demonstrators had instigated the conflict.

Despite video evidence, CNN falsely claimed that pro-Palestine and pro-Israel groups were "attacking each other" at UCLA and Columbia. The network also praised the NYPD's response to the takeover of Hamilton Hall at Columbia, bringing on a retired FBI agent to analyze the police operation.

CNN's Jake Tapper criticized college presidents for being "too lenient" with protesters and argued that CNN's coverage of the protests was detracting from more important stories, such as "the pain of the Palestinians and the Israelis." Tapper's framing of the protests made clear whose grievances he thought were the most worthy.

A CNN staffer revealed that "the majority of news" on Israel's assault on Gaza had been skewed by a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel.

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