“Reporting” on the death of Saudi dictator Abdullah in an article titled “Saudi Arabia’s ‘reformer’ king Abdullah dies”, CNN notes that his dictatorship is a “key US ally”, and thus proceeds to paint an almost entirely sympathetic picture of his brutal regime, perhaps the world’s most repressive. CNN expresses admiration for the dictatorship and hatred for the Saudi people, attempting to defend US policy of repressing those people by propping up the dictatorship since the 1930s, when Saudi oil was discovered.
To help create the desired image, CNN here omits Obama’s 2010 deal to send over 60 billion dollars worth of lethal weaponry to the dictatorship, the biggest weapons shipment in US history, which included internationally banned cluster bombs (which the US regularly uses).
CNN omits that leaked 2009 US cables signed by Hillary Clinton state that Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest sponsor of Sunni terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, and that the government was allowing private donations to those groups.
CNN omits that, as Newsweek reports, Saudi Arabia has zero democratic process, whereas Iran (a US target rather than an ally), Newsweek continues, does. CNN likewise omits why, exactly, Saudi Arabia is a US ally whereas Iran is not.
CNN omits that Saudi Arabia executes, by beheading followed by crucifixion, homosexuals, heretics, witches and wizards, stones adulterers, and cuts the hands off “thieves”, among other “policies”.
CNN omits Saudi Arabia’s recent invasion of Bahrain, using US equipment, to crush a democratic uprising and uphold that brutal US-backed dictatorship, which, as Amnesty Int’l documents, tortures children as a tool of repression. (Amnesty report: “Bahrain: Halt detention, abuse and torture of children”)
Most crucially, CNN omits that a senator who has read the still classified 28 pages of the congressional report on 9/11/01 said that they point a heavy finger of blame at Saudi Arabia as the “principal financier” of the 9/11/01 attacks.
CNN paints the head of the regime that a congressional investigation found to be the “principal financier” of the single most deadly foreign attack on the US as a benevolent “reformer”, and expresses hatred or complete disregard for the people of Saudi Arabia, serving Machiavellian US policy as the US, another of the few remaining countries that carries out clinical state executions (and imprisons far more women than Saudi Arabia), is allied with the dictatorship in repressing its population, and will remain so indefinitely.
This may be contrasted with the way CNN depicts Russia, an incomparably more moderate country, which a gay man recently interviewed by Jon Stewart says he prefers to the United States, which, when he visited it, he found he “didn’t like”.
Recent CNN articles on Russia have titles such as:
“Obama: Putin is no chess master”
This one is stenography for US propaganda against Russia, though CNN offers no explanation for why similar criticism or targeting is never directed towards Saudi Arabia, and offers no context of the US being the top violator of international law and considered the greatest threat to world peace, dwarfing Russia by receiving twelve times more votes for greatest threat.
“From Russia with no love: Party-pooping Putin cancels holiday vacation”
This one depicts Vladimir Putin as a “Grinch” and “conspiracy theorist”, though a search for CNN’s depictions of Bush or Obama as conspiracy theorists for their unfounded and later debunked claims about Iraqi WMDs, Syrian gas attacks in Ghouta (actually carried out by US allies), the downing of airliners over Ukraine, and countless others, shockingly turned up no results.
But most important in the context of how CNN treats the Saudi dictatorship is this article:
“Why Vladimir Putin thinks it’s still 1985”
This is the one that fully reveals CNN’s propaganda strategy (which is naturally and artificially occurring), as CNN precisely inverts what it does in the article about Saudi Arabia. Since the US is allied with the Saudi dictatorship (to keep it in power by repressing the people), and CNN serves US government policy, CNN expresses love for the dictatorship and hatred for the Saudi people.
But in the above article about Russia/Putin, this is reversed. Here to serve US government policy, CNN must, and does, express love for the Russian people and hatred for the Russian government, which the US is targeting. (In addition, CNN spouts its various conspiracy theories regarding Ukraine, mysteriously not labeling itself a conspiracy theorist organization.)
Next, contrast how CNN reports on the death of a US-backed tyrant with the way CNN reports the death of a head of state the US targeted for one of its many regime change operations:
Saudi tyrant Abdullah death CNN articles:
“Saudi Arabia’s ‘reformer’ king Abdullah dies”
“Details released for Saudi King Abdullah’s funeral”
“Saudi State TV: King Abdullah dead at 90”
That covers CNN’s reports on Abdullah’s death. Notice the either praising or benign wordings.
Now, Chavez death CNN articles:
“Hugo Chavez’s death draws sympathy, anger”
(Quote from above article: “News of Chavez’s death drew impassioned reactions from around the world, as leaders and other public figures weighed in on his legacy.”)
“Hugo Chavez, influential leader with mixed record, dies at 58”
(Quote from above article: “Hugo Chavez, the polarizing president of Venezuela who cast himself as a “21st century socialist” and foe of the United States, died Tuesday, said Vice President Nicolas Maduro.”)
Immediately, we see that were one to make judgments about the Saudi dictator and Chavez based on CNN coverage of same events – each of their deaths – one would be led to conclude that Chavez is the far more brutal and controversial figure, hated by at least half of his country, while the Saudi tyrant was actually a benevolent and widely loved “reformer” doing his best to make Saudi Arabia into a democratic paradise by battling a horrid population trying to drag Saudi Arabia down (despite polls showing that public approval in Saudi Arabia for ISIS, for example, is near zero, according to the Washington Institute).
In reality, a 2005 poll put Chavez’s approval rating at 70.5%, a 2011 poll put it at 71.5%, and a poll at the time of his death put it at 57%, always above US congress, almost always above Obama, though often lower than Putin.
Mysteriously, no approval rating polls for King Abdullah are available (“The government tightly controls domestic media content and dominates regional print and satellite-television coverage, with members of the royal family owning major stakes in news outlets in multiple countries. Government officials have banned journalists and editors who publish articles deemed offensive to the religious establishment or the ruling authorities. In 2011, Abdullah issued a royal decree … criminalizing any criticism of … government officials”), perhaps giving insight into how much the King and his US benefactors care whether he is approved of. However, as the LA Times reports, Abdullah certainly earned the approval of US leaders: “Saudi King Abdullah’s legacy praised by U.S. leaders”.
Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry. He is a regular contributor to Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets. Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.