CNN Cuts Deal with Israeli Cable

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After months of controversy and a bitter political debate, CNN International
has reached an agreement with Israeli cable operators for the news network to be
carried on their systems.

The controversy began last summer, when Cable News Network founder Ted Turner
was quoted in an interview accusing both Israelis and Palestinians of engaging
in terrorism.

Like most major news organizations, CNN had been accused by both sides in the
conflict of being biased in its reporting, and the network was widely attacked
by local politicians when Turner's comments were first published.

The controversy helped Fox News Channel -- which was perceived as being more
pro-Israel in its coverage -- to quickly gain carriage in the market and caused
the country's cable operators to consider dropping CNN from their lineups.

But behind the scenes, the dispute also had an important economic component.
Israel's cable and satellite industry continues to face severe financial
problems. The three major cable operators are in the process of merging -- a
move they hope will allow them to radically reduce programming costs.

The cable operators had wanted CNN to reduce its subscriber fees by 40
percent to 50 percent, reported Globes in Israel. Local media reported
that CNN ultimately agreed to carriage fees that were about 25 percent
lower.

But the two sides issued a joint press release saying, 'There is no factual
basis to the various figures quoted recently in the media in connection with the
agreement.'

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