Accuracy in Media

The majority of the mainstream media covered the news that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) boycotted the annual conference for the pro-Israel group known as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Sanders called the conference a demonstration of the organization’s alleged “bigotry,” which AIPAC denied. But CNN did not publish a piece on Sanders’ boycott of AIPAC’s event, though multiple other news outlets covered the news.

The Hill, National Public Radio, Politico, ABC News and the Washington Post covered the news of Sanders’ boycott. However, the Washington Post covered it from the perspective of an anti-Israeli activist group known as IfNotNow, whose supporters praised Sanders’ statement alleging AIPAC was a bigoted organization.

CNN’s coverage of Sanders’ boycott was non-existent. The last article which mentioned AIPAC on CNN’s website was from January 29, 2020, which mention was a comment from IfNotNow. The group criticized another pro-Israel group’s ad buy, which ad criticized Sanders’ stance on Israel. The group said that the ads “don’t focus on any of the AIPAC-front group’s foreign policy goals because they are increasingly out of touch with the Democratic Party.”

Sanders tweeted his boycott plans and said it was due to AIPAC’s “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” He added, “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference.”

AIPAC responded, saying Sanders never attended their conference in the past.

“Bernie Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” they said. The group cited its diverse supporters and its bipartisan support from Democratic Party and Republican Party lawmakers. It called Sanders’ statement “an odious attack” and that it was “truly shameful.”

CNN’s omission of AIPAC-related news was a missed opportunity to inform its readers about Sanders’ relationship with a prominent pro-Israel organization. Its media competitors provided balanced reports on Sanders’ boycott, but CNN failed its readers because it did not publish an article or report on the news subject. CNN should do a better job in covering the news, especially when its media competitors deemed it as newsworthy for their readers.

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