CNN draws Jewish ire over weather listing

Rating: NNNNNCNN, the Atlanta-based all-news-all-the-time broadcasting giant, also found itself in the crossfire last week. The station fielded angry calls after.


Rating: NNNNN


CNN, the Atlanta-based all-news-all-the-time broadcasting giant, also found itself in the crossfire last week.

The station fielded angry calls after surfers on the station’s CNN Interactive Web site noticed something strange in the weather listings: Jerusalem was listed all by itself, with no mention of the fact that it’s the capital of Israel.

Most of the storm of controversy, it seems, blew in from north of the border after B’nai Brith Canada complained in a formal letter to Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin.

CNN has since decided to list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in its Web weather listings — with an asterisk explaining that “the status of Jerusalem as the seat of Israeli government is the most contentious issue in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Palestinian Arab leaders consider parts of Jerusalem the capital of their prospective Palestinian state.”

Time Warner VP of public relations Edna Johnson says CNN wasn’t trying to make a political statement when it decided back in February to list Jerusalem without mentioning Israel.

Still, B’nai Brith spokesperson Ruth Klein says, “It did look pretty odd… this attempt by CNN to use its weather report to reflect the barometer of Middle East politics.”

Canadian Arab Federation prez John Asfour offers, “As far as we’re concerned, Jerusalem is Arab. B’nai Brith is inflaming the issue.” ENZO Di MATTEO

Additional reporting by Geoffrey Chan

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