I have resisted until now the urge to jump on the anti-CNN bandwagon vis-a-vis the revelation that they deliberately sat on stories detrimental to Saddam’s regime in order to maintain access. While the initial reports struck me as rather damning, I understand that compromises sometimes have to be made when dealing with despotic regimes; covering 85% of the news is, after all, conceivably better than covering none of it.
The facts are, however, now it. Susanna has done an excellent job collecting and summarizing them for us, including scads of links to other commentaries.
Eason Jordan justifies his actions on the basis of having to protect the lives of his reporters and sources. That certainly sounds noble; clearly, protecting the lives of their sources should have been a priority. But why is it that NO OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATION seems to have had to make similar choices? The bottom line is that CNN willingly compromised its journalistic integrity, not to gain the ability to give the public as much truth as possible, but to curry favor with an evil regime to gain access. In exchange for this, they willingly served as a de facto propaganda tool of Saddam’s government. Simply to bolster its own ratings. That is just shameful.