Outrage of the Day
CNN executive Eason Jordan admits that the network regularly covered up stories of Iraqi torture and atrocities—out of simple fear: The News We Kept to Ourselves.
Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.
For example, in the mid-1990’s one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government’s ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency’s Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk. …
Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for “crimes,” one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family’s home.
I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein’s regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.
But after this, why would we trust anything that comes from CNN? By covering up these stories, CNN helped the evil regime of Saddam Hussein remain in power, for no other reason than sheer cowardice. Jordan seems to think that remaining in Baghdad was more important than anything else, even more important than reporting the truth. Disgusting and shameful beyond all words.
UPDATE: Journalist Bill Hobbs says CNN has blood on their hands.
UPDATE: Novelist Roger Simon says this is greed at its purest.
UPDATE: James Taranto asks, “What are CNN and other news organizations failing to tell us about other thuggish regimes, from communist Cuba to the Palestinian Authority?”
UPDATE: Instapundit points out this interview with Eason Jordan in which he blatantly lies about CNN’s coverage of Iraq:
BOB GARFIELD: I’m sure you have seen Franklin Foer’s article in The New Republic which charges that the Western press is appeasing the Iraqi regime in order to maintain its visas — to be there reporting should a war ultimately break out. What’s your take on that?
EASON JORDAN: The writer clearly doesn’t have a clear understanding of the realities on the ground because CNN has demonstrated again and again that it has a spine; that it’s prepared to be forthright; is forthright in its reporting.
UPDATE: Matt Welch says news bureaus in totalitarian countries are just “propaganda huts.”