Friday, July 6, 2007

CNN’s image fetish

By Mark Perry, Conflicts Forum, July 6, 2007

"......On CNN — “the world’s news leader” — anchor Suzanne Malveaux led off the afternoon news hour with a segment on the freeing of BBC reporter Alan Johnston. The news clip showed a smiling Johnston waving to an assembled crowd in Gaza City and then meeting with an apparently jubilant Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Malveaux then appeared, on-screen, with the following question: “After last month’s brutal factional fighting, Hamas may be cleaning up Gaza, but can it clean up its image?”

To help unpack this shattering question, Malveaux turned to the inimitable Fawaz Gerges, as calm and educated an expert presence as can be found on television. And for good reason: any other analyst might have reached through the camera to strangle Malveaux.....but Gerges, smiled, nodded knowingly, and peered intently at the camera. He then tried to explain — Hamas was ending lawlessness, had promised to release Johnston … “I think this is a very important start on the part of Hamas,” he said....

....She didn’t win an Emmy for nothin’ ya know: “There are some reports that Hamas is linked to this group that kidnapped Johnston, the Army of Islam. Is this true to your knowledge? Does this seem to be some sort of show?” Gerges blinked, but only for a moment.....Ever patient, ever put-upon, ever understanding, ever, ever, ever Fawaz Gerges: “No, Suzanne,” he said slowly, perhaps with just a hint of an uncomfortable laugh. “Based on everything we know, the so-called the ultra-militant group, the so-called Islamic Army that kidnapped Johnston is not part of the Hamas leadership.” Malveaux canted her head, her eyes narrowed. Was this true? Could it be? After all: Hamas was Islamic and the Army of Islam was Islamic. The two seemed to mesh. The two groups even shared the same word. After all, other top-notch CNN reporters had made the same connection — the bombers in Glasgow were doctors, and Ayman Zawahiri was a doctor … so …? No wonder she was skeptical......

Yes, look at where we are today — in which eleven Palestinians died in a “routine operation” in Gaza, in which two Americans were indicted for murdering innocent Iraqis, in which seventeen Iraqis were killed by a car bomb, and in which a leading anchor on “the world news leader” thinks that a movement that represents a people that are being regularly pulverized, butchered, eviscerated, crushed, manacled, hacked, gashed, shot, slashed, killed — and who are fighting every single day just to stay alive — should be concerned about their image. My God. Maybe Malveaux has a point.
Maybe Hamas should hire Israel’s firm

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