DUBAI: A CNN spokesperson defended the network and its embedded reporter Clarissa Ward by reiterating that “Interviewing voices such as the protestor in Cairo is why our CNN team is on the ground reporting from there. We continue to cover this conflict and those impacted by it, including dozens of voices from the Palestinian perspective, as well as from Israel.”
"We are determined to give our audiences as full an understanding of this story as possible,” a CNN spokesperson told Arab News.
Earlier this week, a video in which a pro-Palestinian protester confronts CNN’ Ward at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt and accuses her of biased reporting has gone viral on social media, racking up thousands of views on X, TikTok and Instagram.
The protester, identified as Egyptian podcaster and stand-up comic Rahma Zein, is seen calling out to Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent, saying: “Come talk to me like a human being. We are watching an occupation … and we are watching the result of your silence (and) of your misrepresentation of Arabs.”
She goes on to accuse Western media organizations of changing the narrative surrounding the conflict.
“You own the narrative, you own the United Nations, you own Hollywood, you own all these mouthpieces. Where are our voices?” she asks.
“We’ve been watching your channel and instead of mourning our dead, instead of mourning these Palestinian children, we’ve been having to deal with more dehumanization of Arabs.”
Many users on social media shared the video and spoke up in support of Zein’s comments.
فتاة ضمن آلاف المصريين المؤازرين للفلسطينيين عند الحدود مع رفح، تعبّر عن غضبها على مراسلة CNN التي رأى كثيرون أنها أسهمت في تضليل مشاهدي القناة، ونشر الرواية الإسرائيلية الكاذبة.#GazaHospital #Gaza_Genocide #غزة_تحت_القصف pic.twitter.com/bQsqTxENIL
— محمد أبوعبيد (@mobeid) October 20, 2023
@zein_rahma, a young Egyptian woman explains clearly to @clarissawardcnn how @cnn is complicit in absolving Israel of any accountability or responsibility for their war crimes, for decades of brutal occupation, for ethnic cleansing the native Palestinian people from their… pic.twitter.com/AfZJRQ9WvZ
— AHMED | أحمد (@ASE) October 20, 2023
هذا المقطع متفجر ومنتشر في التيك توك الاجنبي، هذه السيدة غسلت شراع مراسلة وممثلة قنوات ال CNN.
عجبني المقطع وترجمته، المقطع على حدود
تقول بسبب صمتكم على الذي يحدث من عقود، هذا أدى لتكوين ميليشات كحماس تسببت في هذا، وبينما تملكون السيطرة على الرواية، لكم عقود… pic.twitter.com/rfUqDfrbry
— ﮼ابوخالد (@AzeezLazez) October 20, 2023
This brave Egyptian woman confronting CNN’s Clarissa Ward, calling out mainstream media outlets for repeating Israeli lies, whitewashing Israeli crimes and dehumanizing Palestinians in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/rrfQsabVVM
— sarah (@sahouraxo) October 20, 2023
Zein later posted a video on Instagram in which she spoke about the incident at the border crossing.
“It’s good we’re talking about Western media bias because this is definitively the case and this is very much causing a big problem,” she said.
“But I myself got distracted in that interaction with the reporter from CNN, instead of actually talking about what’s happening on ground, which is a really big humanitarian crisis.”
She added that Egyptians and people from other parts of the Arab world are trying to send relief supplies across the border to help the people of Gaza but Israeli authorities have closed the crossing. They have also bombed the area between the crossing and Gaza, Zein added, so that even if the border reopens, aid trucks will not be able to easily get through.
CNN’s coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas has received a mixed response, with some accusing the network of bias toward Israel and others commending it for balanced reporting.
One X user, Brian Bridgeforth, wrote: “Seeing a lot of pro-Palestinian people talking about how bias (sic) CNN’s coverage is in favor of Israel. I have no idea what they are talking about. CNN is cutting it down the middle.”
Seeing a lot of pro-Palestinian people talking about how bias CNN's coverage is in favor of Israel. I have no idea what they are talking about. CNN is cutting it down the middle. Just because CNN has sources that disagree with someone's preformulated views does not mean bias. pic.twitter.com/bJEYN8ruIK
— Brian F. Bridgeforth (@bfbridgeforth) October 18, 2023
Richard Grenell, a former US ambassador to Germany and former acting director of national intelligence, said in a message posted on X: “You blame America for the people of Gaza having a terrorist organization as a government?!? Lots of Arabs, Jews and Christians live together peacefully in Jerusalem. Americans are tired of paying for this perpetual chaos because your governments steal and terrorize.”
BS. Total BS.
You blame America for the people of Gaza having a terrorist organization as a government?!? Lots of Arabs, Jews and Christians live together peacefully in Jerusalem.
Americans are tired of paying for this perpetual chaos because your governments steal and… https://t.co/e49YGicfxr
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) October 20, 2023