CNN said it was cutting ties with a freelance producer Thursday after posts praising Hamas terrorism and expressing support for “#TeamHitler” were exposed, adding to a series of accusations relating to the network’s purported bias against the Jewish State.
Earlier this week, pro-Israel media watchdog group HonestReporting reported on tweets from Idris Mukhtar Ibrahim, who worked as a freelancer covering a range of international stories for CNN – including Israel.
In one example, Ibrahim co-wrote a story on a Nov. 13 article about Israel’s incoming coalition. On the same day, HonestReporting editor Akiva Van Koningsveld published a report revealing Ibrahim’s history of anti-Semitic rhetoric online, arguing that it “calls into question his ability to impartially report on the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
According to screenshots reported by the organization, Ibrahim tweeted in 2014 that he has “shifted to team Germany after finding out that Messi supports Israel. #teamHitler,” although it was unclear if he was being facetious.
In another tweet that same year, Ibraham praised members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, calling them “modern-day freedom fighters” who are “defending their land.” Ibrahim also said Hamas was “entitled to armed struggle.” Hamas is a U.S.-designated terror organization that governs the Gaza Strip.
CNN told Fox News that it was unaware of his past rhetoric.
“Idris was employed as a freelancer by CNN. We were not aware of these tweets, which were published before we began working with him,” a CNN spokesperson said. “We have informed him that we will no longer be working with him in the future.”
Ibrahim shared an apology on Friday morning for his prior tweets, stating, “In 2014, I wrote some ignorant and hurtful tweets. I regret having done so and unreservedly apologize for the pain my words caused, especially to the Jewish Community. They were offensive and I must take responsibility. I was young, new to social media, and blurted out.”
Ibrahim began working as a freelance field producer for CNN International in 2015. According to his student biography page, he has worked closely with CNN correspondents such as Jim Acosta.
Ibrahim was not the only employee of CNN who allegedly expressed extreme views.
In 2019, a former CNN photo editor resigned after statements that he tweeted prior to working at the network resurfaced. Mohammed Elshamy reportedly referred to victims killed in a terror attack in Israel as “Jewish pigs.”
In 2018, the network fired left-wing commentator Marc Lamont Hill after critics accused him of using a dog whistle advocating for the elimination of Israel, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
CNN also has a lengthy history of critics accusing the network of an alleged bias on its reporting relating to terrorism in Israel and the surrounding territories.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer famously called out CNN’s reporting on the region on live television in 2014, calling its reporting on that year’s Gaza-Israel war a “disservice” to viewers.
Around this time period, CNN was forced to apologize after a Palestinian terror attack in a synagogue was reported onscreen as “Police Shot, Killed 2 Palestinians.”
They later amended the headline to “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem.”
Critics blasted CNN for its framing of the attack.
Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren tweeted, “CNN – ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! How would America react to the headline: ‘3,000 Americans and 19 Arabs killed on 9/11’? You broke all bounds!”
In 2016, CNN was forced to apologize after appearing to question whether a terrorist attack, which left four people dead and dozens wounded, took place in Tel Aviv’s Sarona market.
The Jerusalem Post reported, “CNN inspired outrage with its headline when it put the word ‘terrorists’ in quotations. Additionally, the news agency failed to mention terrorism even once in the article reporting the ordeal.”
Ibrahim’s uncovered posts come less than a month after the same media watchdog group revealed that Palestinian freelance journalist Shatha Hammad – who was the recipient of the prestigious Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism – repeatedly praised Hitler in old Facebook posts, and even referred to the Nazi leader as “her friend.”
Hammad was set to appear as a guest speaker on a panel moderated by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference in London last month, but was stripped of the award once her social media history came to light.
Other examples of issues in the mainstream media’s coverage of Israel included reports the New York Times was using pro-Hitler stingers.
The Times severed ties with the freelancers in August after multiple exposés by HonestReporting. It was unknown whether the Times was aware of their sentiments or vetted the individuals when they were hired.
One had said, “In the end, the Jews are sons of the dogs, and I am in favor of killing them and burning them like Hitler did to them. I would be extremely happy,” according to the report.