CNN’s bias toward Israel starts at the top

A recent Guardian article documenting CNN's bias toward Israel was impressive but lacked one crucial detail: Why CNN has such bias. You don't have to look farther than CEO David Zaslav to understand the answer is Zionism.

David Zaslav on Israeli tv i24 in 2020. He was then the head of Discovery and is now the CEO of Warner Discovery, which owns CNN

This week, the Guardian published a long article documenting CNN’s bias toward Israel, notably internal rules for preparing reports that privilege the Israeli perspective (that its unending massacres and ethnic cleansing are justified by Hamas’s massacre of October 7).

The investigation was impressive but lacking: The Guardian had no idea Why CNN has such bias.

There is one reason for the bias in plain sight: religious ideology. David Zaslav, the CEO of CNN’s parent company, is a Zionist. He believes in the need for a Jewish state as a historical imperative and, on that basis, has justified Zionist massacres of Palestinian civilians.

Such attachment would be front and center if the subject were abortion or evangelical voters in the Republican Party. The Guardian leaves out the angle because it is afraid that bringing up the Israel lobby and the Jewish presence in the establishment will foster antisemitism. But I would argue that religious ideology is the most important factor at work.

Let’s look at statements from Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Brothers/Discovery.

In the days after October 7, even as Israel was bombing Gaza, Zaslav issued a statement of support for Israel, saying it had experienced “one of the deadliest [days] in Jewish history since the Holocaust.” Zaslav was reported to be considering taking part in a $50 million publicity campaign to “define Hamas to the American people as a terrorist organization.”

Zaslav was fully on one side in this conflict. He characterized Hamas’s actions as “unthinkable evil,” Variety reported:

“The terrorist attacks by Hamas on innocent men, women, children and babies have been unimaginable, abhorrent and inexcusable. Many have lost their lives and others have been taken hostage and remain unaccounted for,” Zaslav said in the memo, which was sent to WBD staff on Tuesday. “Our hearts break for all those whose lives have been irrevocably and senselessly impacted by these vile acts of terror. Our company’s founders believed it was their duty to shed light on injustice in the world.”

Zaslav also applauded the journalists at CNN and TVN for their coverage. “In defining moments like these, where unthinkable evil is clearly on display, we are especially grateful for [their] dedication and courage…”

The 64-year-old media boss is deeply committed to Israel as the answer to Jewish persecution in Europe. As he told the Israeli broadcaster i24 News in 2019, he is a Jewish kid whose grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Eastern Europe with nothing. One grandmother barely escaped the Holocaust in Warsaw.

Israel’s existence is essential for all Jews, Zaslav said, and he watches the movie Exodus1 every year to remind himself of the strength of pre-1948 Zionist armed forces: the Haganah, the military wing of the Jewish Agency that became the IDF, and the Irgun, a terrorist group that the Haganah secretly worked with.

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