In what is called a major strategic move, many analysts are speculating that CNN/Time/Warner is considering a merger with the IDF, the Israeli 'Defense' Forces. Because of the unprecedented nature of this transaction, many skeptics are closely watching whether the IDF will be left in actual control of CNN operations and how this might slow the merger due to FCC regulations. Some are advising that it would make more sense, from a regulatory perspective, for CNN to merge with a domestic partner like the Pentagon.
But those who are bullish on the CNN/IDF merger point to the common corporate culture at both CNN and the IDF. As one insider said with a grin "the Pentagon lacks the Yiddish factor." In anticipation of the merger, both CNN and IDF are already using common terminology in addressing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As Levine was quick to declare "Merger or no merger, as responsible Yiddish supremacists, we will continue to ignore Palestinian victims and assist the occupation in any way possible." Ariel Sharon, who could very easily veto the whole transaction, has made it clear that he wants total control of news operations. A dejected Walter Isaccson, now managing CNN's news operations, is rumored to be mystified why Sharon doubts CNN's total dedication to the continuation of the acquisition of additional Palestinian real-estate.
Not everyone is happy about the merger. Some Palestinians are concerned how it might reflect on the future prospects of a Palestinian State. However, others, including Arafat, are said to be willing to negotiate with any Board of Directors that emerges from the union of CNN and IDF. A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority clarified this further by adding "We are dealing with an entity managed by war criminals now. And we are certain that any successful CNN/IDF merger will result in a continuity of management style." The people at FOX are also screaming foul. As Geraldo Rivera pointed out "unlike CNN, our correspondents pack heat and are more willing to fire without provocation. FOX has taken broader initiatives in vilifying the Palestinians and would make for a better partner than CNN. " Another rumor had Murdoch considering a hostile takeover of the IDF.
But the bottom line guys like the figures. CNN already publishes IDF press releases with minor editing and has coordinated advertising campaigns with the Israeli government for years. But the minor editing charges can add up and their elimination will help the bottom line by eliminating redundancy. Time Magazine is also looking forward to the strategic advantage of having Ariel Sharon as a corporate poster boy. Left unclear, is whether the CNN staff will be able to get preferential treatment in acquiring settlement housing. Wolf Blitzer has already made an issue of his future rank in the proposed combined institution. Blitzer is concerned that Aaron Brown and Jeff Greenburg will be accorded equal seniority and Israeli military pensions. As Blitzer pointed out "I already feel like a major in the Mossad. I spent more time on a Kibbutz than Brown and Greenburg put together. And lets not forget my services to Israel in promoting the Gulf War. Prior service needs to be properly accounted for or this merger might cause friction between me and Larry King. That would be bad for both CNN and IDF."
Levine has been rather quite on the specifics of the transaction, apparently concerned that any leakage of information on the proposed deal would allow Murdoch to maneuver more adroitly. But he had this to say, "We have an unmatched record of marketing Israeli policies to the American public. We have the Time/Warner factor behind our initiatives and FOX has nothing to compare to our AOL franchise."
A possible deal killer might be Ted Turner. Now a minority owner and bit player, he is making noises about how it would be a better option to merge with the army of an atheist state. As he put it "I am in a tough spot here. I am not comfortable with merging CNN with a Jewish State after my comments about Jane's recent conversion to Christianity. But I am the odd man out. Given my core non-belief system, I have trouble with assuming a Yiddish identity." Boastful as ever, Turner went on to say "I created CNN to be like a giant billboard tied to the human brain circuit. I know the billboard business. Everyone is going to call me a spoiler. But I am concerned that the IDF might not have a compatible billboard department. The genius of CNN is to sell Israeli repression without a Yiddish accent. I don't think Levine is thinking straight on this one."
The IDF is also concerned about having to come under the jurisdiction of American laws. As one Israeli General said "Right now we can make Palestinian life miserable. We can snuff out any Palestinian we want. War Criminals can become Prime Ministers without any due diligence investigations. If the proposed merger goes through, will a man like Ariel Sharon be able to do a Qibya or a Sabra and Shatila? I don't think so. We could face legal hassles in our repression and torture division. " He hastened to add that, as a professional soldier, in the event of an IDF/CNN merger, he would obey any order from Levine or Blitzer.
In a poll taken among Israeli soldiers currently administering the 15-month siege of West Bank villages and Gaza, there was strong support for the move. The consensus among the rank and file grunts was that it might help improve the image of their chosen profession. As one young Israeli soldier said "someone has to do the filthy work. You got these Yiddish guys at CNN feeling great about marketing our kill ratio. But, just remember we are the ones doing the killing. All they do is cover up the story. We think the rewards after a merger should be more even. I don't want to take anything away from Blitzer or Levine, but maybe they should come down here in the field and bulldoze a couple of Palestinian houses to feel what its like. I am enclined to believe that the CNN brass can kill a Palestinian kid just as easily as an IDF grunt. But seeing is believing. CNN is great at smearing the Palestinians as a nation of terrorists. CNN can cover up Sharon's war crimes, past, present and future. But do they have what it takes to conduct a 35 year belligerent military occupation? Do they have the guts to blast away at Gaza with planes? Do they even have an airforce? This business is not just about marketing repression, it is about cutting their hearts out, stealing their land and defaming them with a smile on your face."