CNN's Yellin uncritically aired unidentified woman's false assertion that Wright's "avowed interest was the elimination of the Jewish race"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

In a report on Sen. Barack Obama's outreach to Jewish voters in Florida, CNN's Jessica Yellin aired a quote from an unidentified woman who said that Obama "was affiliated with someone whose avowed interest was the elimination of the Jewish race, and that was Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright." Yellin did not challenge or contradict the woman's false assertion.

In a May 22 report on CNN's The Situation Room about Sen. Barack Obama's outreach to Jewish voters in Florida that same day, Capitol Hill correspondent Jessica Yellin said that "Jewish voters in a South Florida community Obama visits today have mixed views." During the report, Yellin aired statements from four unidentified women, including one who said of Obama: "He was affiliated with someone whose avowed interest was the elimination of the Jewish race, and that was Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright, and it's a very unsavory connection." Yellin did not challenge or contradict the woman's false assertion.

From the May 22 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

[begin video clip]

YELLIN: As Obama courts Florida's Jewish voters, he has his work cut out for him. This ad by a Republican Jewish group accusing him of anti-Israeli views is running in three local papers and critics are playing on Jewish fears.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: We know that his alliances are Reverend Wright, Louis Farrakhan, known haters of the state of Israel.

YELLIN: Yet Obama has denounced both men.

OBAMA: I pledge to you that I will do whatever I can, in whatever capacity, to not only ensure Israel's security, but also to ensure that the people of Israel are able to thrive and prosper.

YELLIN: Jewish voters tend to be reliable Democrats, but a significant minority are wary of an Obama presidency. John Kerry won 80 percent of the Jewish vote in 2004, but a recent Gallup poll shows only 61 percent say they would vote for Obama in November. Jewish concerns include Obama's past association with Reverend Wright; false rumors that he's Muslim; praise he received from a Hamas leader; and, most significantly, Obama's offer to hold talks with the leader of Iran, a sworn enemy of Israel.

OBAMA: That doesn't mean that we would not have preparation. ... But what I have said is that, at some point, I would be willing to meet.

YELLIN: Jewish voters in a South Florida community Obama visits today have mixed views.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: He was affiliated with someone whose avowed interest was the elimination of the Jewish race, and that was Reverend Wright, and it's a very unsavory connection.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 3: Well, you hear the people saying that he's anti- -- an anti-Semite, that he is Muslim. ... I don't feel that way. I really don't.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 4: I think we will find that he will be a good friend to the Jews, and he'll be a good friend to everyone.

[end video clip]

YELLIN: Now, Wolf, I'll tell you the campaign points out that the same Gallup poll I cited earlier showing Obama getting 61 percent of the Jewish vote -- that's double the Jewish vote that McCain would get. The campaign -- the Obama campaign feels very strongly that, as soon as Jewish voters learn more about Barack Obama's positions, as soon as they learn that he is Christian and not Muslim, as soon as they have a chance to talk to him, they will come around to voting for him in November. And he has a chance to talk to all these folks any minute now.

WOLF BLITZER (host): He'll be walking into this synagogue very soon. We'll go there live once he starts his remarks. Jessica, thanks very much.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Jessica Yellin
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.