The British-Iranian presenter is married to former US Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin. Rubin was the State Department spokesman during Bill Clinton’s administration and later advised Hillary Clinton. Rubin also served as former candidate John Kerry’s senior adviser on national security. Kerry is now the US secretary of state.
Amanpour’s sister-in-law Elizabeth Rubin is a press fellow at the CFR. Amanpour herself has passionately supported a US intervention in Syria, shedding her pretense of journalistic impartiality and being presented as a ‘Middle East expert’ in the UK.
Following the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Amanpour accused President Obama of lying about Islamic State and dismissing the only successful strategy against the terror group.
Describing Obama’s statement that the US strategy against IS was working as “pretty incredible,” Amanpour said “The only strategy that’s working is the strategy that he [Obama] tends to dismiss — and that’s the ground troop strategy.”
“He’s saying that ISIS is contained. This also…is not actually true,” Amanpour told her colleague Anderson Cooper.
Somehow dubbed ‘Iron Man’ by his colleagues, he is the face of CNN’s political coverage. In the 1970s, the German-born Blitzer worked as an editor of monthly publications at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which is lobbying pro-Israeli policies in Washington.
Having joined CNN in 1990 as a military reporter, in 1992 Blitzer got the gig as the network’s White House correspondent. From there, he rose to become CNN’s lead political anchor.
Among controversies featuring Blitzer is an episode during a 2012 elections interview. CNN went live to the Iowa Caucus to speak to Corporal Jesse Thorsen, a US military veteran and adamant supporter of Rep. Ron Paul. Thorsen praised Paul, who was trailing frontrunner Mitt Romney by fewer than 200 votes, for his non-interventionist ideals. But just as Thorsen began to get passionate the feed went out. “Sorry, we lost the signal,” Blitzer said, dismissing it as a technical malfunction. A lot of viewers didn’t buy into the tech-error excuse and cried censorship.
As Pentagon correspondent, Starr was called a ‘spokesperson for the Pentagon’ by the late Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings. In a June 2013 CNN blog entry entitled ‘Terrorists try changes after Snowden leaks, official says’, Starr, citing a US intelligence official, wrote “several terrorist groups are in fact attempting to change their communications behaviors based specifically on what they are reading about our surveillance programs in the media.” During a monologue on his MSNBC program ‘All In’, Chris Hayes notes that all of the information passed on to Starr regarding terrorist communication patterns was“almost certainly classified.”
“This article not only self-servingly advances the narrative that the intelligence community would like us to believe, that the Edward Snowden links have helped the terrorists, but in doing so, it could be seen in doing far more to concretely alert terror groups to what the US intelligence community knows about them and their communications that anything published by the Guardian or the Washington Post [which broke the Snowden leaks],” Hayes said.
He went on to note that sharp contrast between how the Beltway reacted to Glen Greenwald’s reporting for the Guardian on the Snowden affair versus Starr’s use of potentially leaked information.
“When, as with Glen Greenwald’s reporting, the leaks are not specifically designed to advance the Pentagon’s agenda, then we have shock, controversy and calls for prosecution. But when they are, as with the Barbara Starr reporting, [then there’s] radio silence.”
Family political ties run deep for Chris. He is the brother of current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom he famously interviewed in December 2013 after a tragic train accident, throwing him softball questions and even admitting “we’re family, so we’ve been talking about this a lot” at one point in the segment.
Their father, Mario, also held the governor post from 1983-94.
Chris’ wife, Cristina Greeven, is the former editor of Gotham — a lifestyle magazine aimed at New York’s super wealthy.
Numerous sources have taken CNN to task for presenting war as entertainment, something considered to have begun during the first Gulf war in the early 1990s.
Amanpour was heavily criticized for “being a cheerleader for the Bush war drive against Iraq.” German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung declared that CNN’s conflict coverage was similar to that of the Super Bowl. A CNN reporter was quoted as saying that bombers taking off from Saudi Arabia was a “sweet, beautiful sight.”
In China, the network has been lambasted by Xinhua news agency for offering one-sided coverage of disturbances in Urumqi and Tibet. The same concerns hovered around their coverage of Thailand’s 2010 political protests.
In 2008, CNN showed violent clashes between police and protestors in Belgrade, while speaking of a nationalist threat in the Balkan nation. There was one major problem — the images shown came from Budapest two years earlier. Budapest is the capital of Hungary.
Later that year, during the South Ossetia War, CNN used images from Georgia’s destruction of Tskhinval to illustrate a piece about the Russian bombardment of Gori. CNN ignored the criticism and never addressed it.
Amber Lyon, a former correspondent at the network, claimed in 2011 that she had been instructed by CNN to ensure her reports helped sway US opinion towards supporting an attack on Syria, and even Iran. She also alleged that this was common practice at CNN. Lyon also stated that Bahrain’s government had paid CNN for positive coverage.
In 2006, CNN was banned from Iran for incorrectly translating a statement by then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. CNN reported that he had said: “the use of nuclear weapons is Iran’s right.” What he actually said was “Iran has the right to nuclear energy. A civilized nation does not need nuclear weapons, and our nation does not need them.” CNN opted to apologize for the mistake, prompting the Islamic Republic to lift the ban.
CNN’s technical mess-ups are legendary, from basic geographical fails to misidentifying religious sites. In 2007, they used Osama Bin Laden’s photo captioned with Barack Obama’s name in a Wolf Blitzer segment called “Where’s Obama?”
CNN once again dropped the ball while covering the November 18, 2014, terror attack in Jerusalem. Reporting live on the horrific attack at a Jerusalem synagogue, which left three Israeli-American citizens and one British-Israeli citizen dead, the American network ran the questionable headline: “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack,” failing to note that the two Palestinians were actually the attackers.
What’s worse, CNN ran a graphic that said that the attack happened at a “Jerusalem mosque” provoking a wave of social media outrage.