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« Glossary Addition | Main | What, Me Worry? »


Now that we know how the game is played, please tell us why your reporting from Damascus, or Gaza, or the West Bank (as just three examples) should be given any credibility whatsoever. How much of Arafat and Assad's thuggish behavior have you been covering up? And if you now propose to tell us, why should we believe you?

In a just and rational world, this should be devastating for the network, but they'll probably get the usual pass.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 11, 2003 04:00 PM
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Craven No-News Network
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Tracked: April 11, 2003 07:13 PM
CNN admits to being in bed with Saddam
Excerpt: CNN?s chief news executive, Eason Jordan admits that his news organization has spent the last 12 years withholding the whole truth about just how bad Saddam Hussein and his regime was, in order to maintain access and keep the CNN...
Weblog: Daily News Brief
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Excerpt: Folks are all atwitter about CNN chief Eason Joradan's Op-Ed in the Times in which he confesses that CNN deliberately spiked stories that might offend the Hussein regime: Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to
Weblog: The Truth Laid Bear
Tracked: April 12, 2003 09:23 AM
The Illusion of Truth
Excerpt: Folks are all atwitter about CNN chief Eason Joradan's Op-Ed in the Times in which he confesses that CNN deliberately spiked stories that might offend the Hussein regime: Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to
Weblog: The Truth Laid Bear
Tracked: April 12, 2003 09:41 AM
The Illusion of Truth
Excerpt: Folks are all atwitter about CNN chief Eason Joradan's Op-Ed in the Times in which he confesses that CNN deliberately spiked stories that might offend the Hussein regime: Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to
Weblog: The Truth Laid Bear
Tracked: April 12, 2003 10:46 AM

They're the "most trusted name in news!" Their station identifications say so! Isn't that reason enough?

Posted by Thomas Vago at April 11, 2003 04:18 PM

This is a vindication of the media watch groups that have been decrying CNN's shoddy reporting (as well as that of other "respected" "news" outlets) for some time now.

As Fallaci would say, "I find it shameful."

Posted by Nikita at April 11, 2003 05:36 PM

"Damascus, or Gaza, or the West Bank"
Or Washington.

Posted by Billy Oblivion at April 11, 2003 06:01 PM

Suppose they'd told the truth - all of it - for the past 12 years.

Would Saddam have been removed sooner?

Would France & Germany - especially Germany - have been able to maintain their despicable support of Saddam if the truth of what they were supporting was widely known?

Would France have been able to find support for its obstructionism?

We'll never know what would have happened had the truth been told - we only know that CNN, by lying, actively collaborated with Saddam's efforts to escape accountability.

CNN should be ashamed.

Posted by BradDad at April 11, 2003 06:03 PM

CNN should be more than ashamed. They should be off the air.

More thoughts on my blog site.

Posted by D. Rouselle at April 11, 2003 06:18 PM

Should we trust CNN reporting from Damascus? Well, I wouldn't bet the bank on reporting by any news organization working in a country that assigns minders to reporters, controls where they go and who they meet, and monitors the content of their reports (holding the reporters continued presence in country hostage to regime pleasure with the reports.)

That's the nature of totalitarian regimes. Free press goes out the window. CNN can, and should be, faulted for not highlighting that, and for continuing as if reporting from Baghdad was the same as reporting from Iowa. Every other Western news organization that had people in Saddam's Baghdad deserves the same slap, too.

The impulse to sit on a story to protect a life is understandable. But, we've all known about Saddam's brutality for years. Did CNN think their local employees were immune? Just working for CNN (widely thought in the Arab world to be an outlet of the U.S. govenment) put them at risk and was likely to earn them an interrogation or two.

That said, I don't think CNN sat on much of a story here.

Posted by enloop at April 11, 2003 06:34 PM

Why only call out Arafat? What about Sharon? What's to say that threats of violence are the only things that prevent "honest" coverage"

Posted by surfmonkey at April 11, 2003 06:57 PM

Well, at least we know how reliable and honest the reporting from their celebrated Havana bureau is.

It'll also be interesting to see which CNN "names" resign over this, or aceept that their professional reputation has been compromised. Prediction-- as many as Clinton's Cabinet resigned after they learned they were lied to by the Big He.

Posted by Raoul Ortega at April 11, 2003 07:06 PM

And the things that Sharon does to prevent "honest coverage" are...?

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 11, 2003 07:12 PM

CNN's E Jordan helped a horrible tyrant by withholding accurate info on Saddam's regime in return for ratings. And he feels bad about it. And he wants us to feel bad about it for him. And the wagons (NYT)are circling to help him. It reveals the real quagmire-yuppie culture: "I'm privileged, important & fascinating. Therefore I can do anything, even something horrible. But I don't like feeling bad. Or being told I'm wrong. Hmmm, what to do? Ah, I'll talk more about myself & my feelings. Surely people are interested in how I feel. Now, that's a real story. I'll bet I can get an op ed piece out of this."
In the 2 counties adjacent to me, there are 2 families who lost servicemen recently. If he & his network had reportedly honestly, maybe these families would not be feeling bad right now.

Posted by jdrosario at April 11, 2003 07:19 PM

The skewed picture of Iraq that CNN and everybody else who broadcasted from Baghdad in the last 12 years (plenty of bogus stories about how UN Sanctions were causing misery in Iraq, but no stories about Saddams cruelty) probably did play some role in the difficulty the US faced in garnering international support for this war, propably led to delay of the action eventually taken, and maybe even cost Iraqi and American lives.

It would be one thing if this callous attitute towards humanity that CNN displayed was created in pursuit of the truth. Here, however, CNN's actions were for the intent of HIDING the truth (and aren't journalists always the first ones to say the coverup is worse than the crime).

And what makes Jordan's comments truly, utterly contemptable is that, when an article in the New Republic was published last year that exposed this whole charade in Iraq (minders coercing citizens into professing love for Saddam, anti-American rallies staged for Western cameras, bogus stories about "baby milk factories"), CNN in general, and Jordin in particular, attacked the credibility of the author with a vengeance (check out Instapundit for the link to Jordan's lies).

From where I'm sitting, Jordan's "mea culpa" is less an expression of genuine regret and more akin to an accomplice to murder spilling the details of the crime to the cops in the hopes of a lighter sentence.

Posted by Sean Paden at April 11, 2003 07:39 PM

CNN's Lucia Newman has been reporting from Cuba -- which just threw a few celebratory summary executions by firing squad -- for a couple of years now. I've watched her reporting, and it is despicable and absurd much of the time.

Now that they've given away the game, why would CNN even bother trying to report from countries like that? Nobody will believe a lick of it anyway.

I'm just nauseated by CNN's admission. They are complicit in Saddam's crimes because they allowed themselves, knowingly, to be used as instruments of propaganda for that fascist regime.

Posted by Stretch Cannonbury at April 11, 2003 08:07 PM

Yes, they have been an "enabler". When the only news from a country such as Iraq or North Korea (or the USSR back when it existed) is from the "Information Ministry", then everyone in the free world knows it's all a joke and most likely the most horrible lies.

When CNN (and others) continue to report from such places, in the face of such horrible compromises of journalistic integrity, they do nothing but give an air of legitimacy to the aweful lies spouted by such regimes.

Posted by David Mercer at April 11, 2003 08:19 PM

Who knew CNN -- the most trusted, blah, blah, blah -- would fold so easily? Perhaps Bush and Rumsfeld should threaten John King, Christiane Amanpour, and Jamie McIntire with some plastic shredder action. That's about the only way they'll ever report anything positive out of a Republican administration.

Posted by Melissa at April 11, 2003 08:40 PM

Who knew that the people who called Al Jazeera, the "Middle East's equivalent of CNN", were so right on so many levels!

Posted by Eric Anondson at April 11, 2003 08:48 PM

As I said on my blog, CNN's logic is circular and as far as I'm concerned they are accomplices after the fact to Sadam's terror. They say we couldn't report it or else.... why do you think Sadam was able to continue on: BECAUSE HE KNEW YOU WOULDN'T REPORT IT. For those who saw pro war = about oil, CNN's anti war = about ratings.

Posted by Brendan at April 11, 2003 09:09 PM

I agree with enloop's reasonable assessment, and go farther.

Is it better for us to have no idea of what's going on in a country, if a journalist cannot tell us everything? Did the Amnesty International reports not clue anyone in?
Here's the 1997 nation report, and the earliest (1993) one mentioning Iraq that they have online.
Of all the people outraged by CNN's perfidy in Iraq, how many are monitoring the situation in other countries (besides Cuba)? After all, reading AI reports forces one to confront the lesser but still substantive failings of our allies and even our own country; Kurds don't get off scot-free in those reports.

Anyone who wanted to give a damn for the past two decades could have -- and it's not just the last ten years, remember. Saddam Hussein has been torturing and murdering for quite some time. If you cared to know, you would know. The U.S. government did -- will breasts be beaten in shame now by the people from the Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton administrations?

I just wish that CNN had had the integrity before the war to have said, as they kept saying during the war, that they cannot reveal all the information for safety reasons. During the war, it has been for the safety of our troops; before, it would have been for the safety of Iraqis. People are careless enough to assume that they are hearing everything unless they are explicitly told otherwise.

Posted by PG at April 11, 2003 09:13 PM

CNN isn't just guilty of lies of ommission...

They presented a well documented activist anti-war slant in spite of knowing the truths they buried.

That is complicity... that is treachery... that explains their "arrangements" with Al-Jazeera...

They are not news reporters, they are news makers...

Posted by DANEgerus at April 11, 2003 09:43 PM

Those who liken Washington or Tel Aviv to Bagdhad, Damascus, or Havana, are blowing smoke. There's politcal pressure, then there's gouged out eyes, broken out teeth, dismemberment, rape, and murder. I'll take my chances with Sharon WAY before I would do the same with Arafat and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Get honest. That kind of comment about the equivalence of Washington and Damascus is worthy of an asshole like Michael Moore, not an intelligent resident of Earth.

Posted by ekw at April 11, 2003 09:45 PM

Those who liken Washington or Tel Aviv to Bagdhad, Damascus, or Havana, are blowing smoke. There's politcal pressure, then there's gouged out eyes, broken out teeth, dismemberment, rape, and murder. I'll take my chances with Sharon WAY before I would do the same with Arafat and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Get honest. That kind of either hyperbolic or pathetically ignorant comment about any equivalence between Washington and Damascus may be worthy of a 400-pound virus like Michael Moore, but not a semi-intelligent resident of Earth.

Posted by ekw at April 11, 2003 09:49 PM

Why is everyone so surprised at this? It's been known for ages, certainly as far as the Palestinian territories are concerned. Remember how they treated that Italian cameraman who filmed the lynching of 2 Israelis? Ever ask yourself why they're always there when kids start throwing stones? Shimon Peres said they once intercepted a call from a Fatah commander saying, "hold the demo, CNN were held up in the traffic". Yet still people do believe these reporters. In fact, we should not have ANY reporters there - they all know that if they say the wrong thing they will be banned, so they should stay out and announce it public they will not report from these areas until they can do so freely. The Palestinians have learned how to manipulate western media - deprived of this oxygen they might have to rethink their stance.

Posted by ilanatan at April 12, 2003 04:53 AM

Ah the joys of willful naivete, all the big bad warbloggers had no idea that Iraq was such a nasty place until George and Tony told them so. And now they're all betrayed and disheartened by CNN's admission that they felt unable to tell the whole story before then. I'm crying for y'all really I am. As PG has said, I hope that you can manage to look through what the mass media may not say about the oppression in other places besides Cuba, Iran, North Korea, or France there chums.

Posted by at April 12, 2003 05:44 AM

My take on this is that CNN's craven submission to Saddam only encouraged the tyrant to defy the West, since spinelessness seemed to be the common response of the West to his intimidations.

As for the anonymous comment close above (Erann, is that you again?), you have to be fourteen different kinds of idiot to think people who were in favor of taking out Saddam didn't know beforehand that he was what he was. It has sounded, rather, as though the opponents of the war didn't know (or, as with CNN, didn't care).

If I might remind those who prefer to think otherwise, as long as CNN and other Western news agencies failed to report truthfully about Iraq, we who have known better all along had an uphill fight in convincing others that we were right.

For that alone, CNN deserves to be Fisked as a daily routine.

Posted by Kevin McGehee at April 12, 2003 06:16 AM

Oh, Mr. "No Name", we knew what Saddam was - and were called warmongers & worse because those on the left weren't willing to believe us or to care what we said.

Now if CNN had spoke the truth .... maybe it would've made it more difficult for them to continue in their ignorance. And maybe it would've made what needed to be done easier.

Posted by BradDad at April 12, 2003 06:47 AM

Just think how this type of coerced reporting shaped the view of most of the world about the Palestinian issue.
Perhaps it's time news outlets made clear that when reportingfrom the territories they are risking their lives when deviating from a staunchly pro-Palestinian stance.

Posted by Joe at April 12, 2003 12:10 PM

I'd like to know which news organization did a similar cover-up but aren't admitting it yet.

Posted by Joseph Hertzlinger at April 12, 2003 05:44 PM

Peace to Palestine, death to the American-Israeli fascist axis.

Posted by at April 12, 2003 08:04 PM

Good point by Joseph Hertzlinger, amplified here by N.Z. Bear:

Shall the right-wing "fisking" of Fox News begin?

Posted by PG at April 12, 2003 08:17 PM

Hey, Mr. no-name:

Kevin McGee was wrong. You are far more than fourteen different kinds of idiot.

"Death to the American-Israeli fascist axis"?!?! Is there a point you're trying to make? Because (and I understand this may be news to you) out here in what I like to call "reality" it is not apparent that the United States and/ or Isreal are fascists or constitute an axis of anything or that either deserve death.

If you want to express your views to someone who isn't in your own little Anti-US whack job cult, I would suggest that, in the future, you start incorporating "logic" and "evidence" in your rants. Better yet, get yourself a dictionary, so you can learn what the words "logic" and "evidence" mean.

Posted by Sean at April 13, 2003 12:00 PM

My bad. I was trying to avoid going into exponential notation, although here it might have gone over fairly well...

Posted by Kevin McGehee at April 14, 2003 01:28 PM

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