CNN is in its death throes. After being exposed as the place to get fake news, three top journalists resigning, a producer calling American voters “stupid as sh*t,” and blackmailing a private citizen for making an Internet meme about them, now it comes to light that Jeff Zucker’s network hired an al-Qaeda propagandist for its award-winning documentary on Syria and they're trying to hide that fact.
AlterNet broke the story after it discovered a video of Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American living and working in Aleppo, complaining that CNN is hiding his name from the project:
“This Undercover in Syria, you can Google it — it won the prestigious Peabody Award, and it won the prestigious Overseas Press Club Award, which are basically the highest awards in journalism for international reporting. Now, [CNN] barely mentioned my name! I’m telling you, somehow CNN must have forgotten that I was the one that filmed it, I guess they forgot that.”
Indeed, as the report notes, CNN is burying Kareem’s part in the documentary, never mentioning his name during the press tours. Zucker was a keynote speaker at one of the award ceremonies and didn’t bother thanking Kareem for his contributions, even though he worked closely with CNN’s foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward.
The reason CNN is distancing itself is explained in detail by AlterNet:
The man Ward contracted to take her into rebel-controlled territory was well established as one of the top English-language propagandists for al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, along with other extremist groups fighting the Syrian government.
In fact, the Saudi Arabian news outlet Al Arabiya reported on June 7 that Abdul Kareem officially joined al-Nusra in 2012.
Kareem denies this, but not so fast, says the report:
However, one of Abdul Kareem’s closest colleagues has also been accused of membership in Syria’s al-Qaeda franchise. Akif Razaq, an employee of Abdul Kareem’s online media group, On the Ground News, was recently stripped of British citizenship for his alleged involvement with al-Nusra. A notice presented by British authorities to Razaq’s family in Birmingham accused him of being “aligned with an al-Qaeda affiliated group” and declared that he “presents a threat to the national security of the United Kingdom.”
During Abdul Kareem’s Facebook video response to the Al Arabiya report, he was seated beside Razap. Razaq has also co-hosted On the Ground News segments with him.
AlterNet did an extensive piece last year on Kareem’s “established record of creating sectarian propaganda for extremist Syrian rebels.”
This all begs the question: How many more hits can CNN take before it finally goes down?