John on October 2, 2007 at 12:55 am
I wrote about this show several times before and after it aired. Today, Jay Tcath, one of the people who actually made it into (albeit briefly) the Jewish portion of the special wrote a column for the Jerusalem Post about the experience:
IT WAS a scam, a hoax, a manipulation I tell you. But this time one carried out not by “Jewish Warriors” in the stealth “Israel Lobby,” but by a soft-spoken, solicitous, sugary sincere young CNN field producer.
She learned of our JCRC through her mother, a non-Jewish resident of a Chicago suburb who admired our leading role in advocating an end to the Darfur genocide. It was precisely this type of activity, the noble pursuit of justice by grassroots people motivated by religious impulses and acting through religious institutions that the young producer claimed the network and its star correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, wanted to explore. After all, she told us, it is such a decent, important activity and so much more real, common and under-reported than the conventional stereotypes promoted by the mass media. She insisted that CNN’s aim was not to focus – as others do ad nauseam – on the radical fringes among the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Months later (February 2007), CNN, agreeing with our suggestions, dispatched crews to film our volunteers repainting bomb shelters in Israel’s north and another to capture our meeting with representatives on Capital Hill. Our multi-issue agenda that day in Washington ranged from Israel to Darfur, from the environment to Iran and from hate crime legislation to social services. The CNN crew expressed appreciation for our providing them “just what we were looking for.”
So why then did virtually all of the footage end up on the cutting room floor? I have my suspicions:
1. The producer was sincere and she and perhaps others at CNN wanted to create a program along the lines she originally described, but lost an internal battle over editorial content;
2. She and perhaps others at CNN sought to lull us into doing or saying something on tape that would have fit their “Jewish Warrior” story line, or;
3. We were simply lied to.
Since I watched about half of the 6 hours that aired, I’m going to opt for #3. There was little balance in this show. It’s greatest inspiration seemed to have come from Richard Dawkins’ earlier BBC special Root of All Evil?
Who else was lied to by CNN’s producers? I doubt Jay Tcath was the only one.