Monday, July 17, 2006

CNN Accused of Helping Hezbollah

In an interview with CNN's Kyra Phillips on Monday Steve Hartov, identified as a former IDF operative, accused CNN and other unnamed media outlets of aiding Hezbollah to measure the success of their missile launches into Israeli territory and using the video provided by the network to rework their strategy:

PHILLIPS: All right. You're former IDF. I want to ask you about the Israeli Defense Force stepping in and asking the media to stop showing certain images in the area. We have struck a deal that it's a war-sensitive time; there have to be certain censorship issues. Tell me why the IDF is asking us to back off on certain specific pictures.

HARTOV: Well, Kyra, it's difficult for a western viewer sometimes to understand the aspects of what we might call here censorship. But in fact if you've got a camera, for instance, in Haifa, and you report that a rocket has fallen in a particular neighborhood, you become a forward observer for the enemy. Almost instantly, they can redirect their fire. And if they were trying for the petrochemical plant with a multiple rocket launch, and we tell them that they've fallen half a kilometer north of that, they just drop five degrees, and then hit the petrochemical plant. So I think we can understand why the Israelis are pretty sensitive to camera work and information revelation right now.

PHILLIPS: So it's pretty interesting, and I guess we learned this during the Iraq war as well, with just the live element of television. You're saying that Hezbollah leaders sit back, watch CNN, and look at how their weaponry is working, where it's hitting, and they're actually able to tell, OK, we fired for this target, wasn't that far off, let's try it again. I mean, it gets that detailed. They sort of use us as an intel center?

HARTOV: Absolutely. And the maps are laid out right in front of them, and if a cameraman inadvertently reveals something they really need to know, they'll fire for effect the next time. So it's -- we have to be sensitive to those issues. It's not a game to those folks over there. It is life and death.

The right-wing has already viciously attacked the New York Times for what it believes are 'treasonous' and 'traitorous' behaviours and some right-wing blogs have published the home addresses of NYT staff as retribution for what they see as a 'left-wing' agenda. Will CNN be the next front in their war with the so-called liberal media?

It's also worth noting that the Mr Hartov said absolutely nothing about the fact that media outlets like CNN also show the locations of where Israeli missiles have landed which would, logically, allow the IDF to measure the results of its actions as well.

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