Magog: Unguarded
Magog: Unguarded
Swarming Around... cats living with dogs... total chaos.

Monday, April 14, 2003

I finally got around to reading the editorial in the New York Times by CNN's chief news executive, Eason Jordan (you know, the one where he admits that they've been sitting on all kinds of stories about the brutality of the Iraqi regime).

There's a distinct similarity between CNN and the missing Iraqi Information Minister, Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf. Both essentially served as mouthpieces for Saddam Hussein's lies by withholding facts which displeased the dictator and his thugs. Assuming al-Sahhaf didn't really believe any of the nonsense he spouted, both probably did so out of fear of reprisals of one kind or another.

The difference would seem to be that al-Sahhaf probably had less choice in the matter, and at least was so outrageous in his delivery that few rational viewers could take him seriously.

Mr. Jordan tries to convince everyone that CNN had no choice; that people's lives were in danger if the truth were reported. Perhaps unintentionally, he actually points out that by withholding facts, at least two people lost their lives (see the section on Uday's brothers-in-law):

We also had to worry that our reporting might endanger Iraqis not on our payroll. I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan....
....A few months later Uday lured the brothers-in-law back to Baghdad; they were soon killed.

Al-Sahhaf's choice was probably between saying what he was told, or eating a bullet. CNN's choice was whether to risk missing out on the next "Crisis in Iraq" media blitz, or to bide their time by reporting propaganda and half-truths. They obviously valued the possibility of higher ratings above their own integrity and, even worse, human lives.

posted by Max Power | 3:41 PM
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