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CNN criticised over DP World coverage

Satellite news network CNN has been accused by one of the US’s best known journalists of falling into “partisan” anti-Arab reporting of the DP World controversy.

Satellite news network CNN has been accused by one of the US’s best known journalists of falling into “partisan” anti-Arab reporting of the DP World controversy.

The accusation came at the IAA World Congress in Dubai from Norman Pearlstine, the editor-in-chief of Time magazine, which is also part of CNN’s parent company Time Warner.

After the Dubai-owned DP World agreed to purchase the P&O ports operation, American politicians tried to block the deal, claiming concerns over national security if an Arab country had control of the ports. In the face of the media onslaught, DP World eventually promised to sell on P&O’s American ports.

Pearlstine’s comments on the issue began with an attack on the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Fox News for its openly right-wing agenda.

But then he told the audience that CNN had responded by putting on the air a similar show for its domestic audience. He said: “CNN has given up its most important news hour to a journalist who’s happiest being a commentator appealing to narrow national interests rather than globalisation.”

Referring to the DP World fiasco, he said: “CNN was known as being balanced, but here it was leading a largely partisan, narrow-minded attack. In the absence of a willingness to question ourselves on this issue, it hurts our credibility in the rest of the world.”

CNN issued a statement to Campaign refuting Pearlstine’s comments, saying its coverage “presented the strength of the Dubai bid and focused on the Emirate’s powerful economic boom and its quality of life and standard of security measures”.

During his address, Pearlstine also said that journalism in general has lost its credibility, particularly in the US, citing media jingoism following the September 11 attacks.
“We must be more willing to question the activities of government,” he said.

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