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February 3, 2005
Hugh: Media Bias In The Silences

Hugh Hewitt has a new column out for the Weekly Standard on media bias. His thoughts have has special resonance today as we see the major American media outlets put the Cone of Silence over Eason's Fables, which plays a part in Hugh's column. Hugh reminds us that bias not only exists in what's reported, but also in what isn't:

Even though attention will turn today to the president's speech to the exclusion of almost everything else, let me underline two recent media events which deserve more scrutiny than they have thus far received.

The first is the genuinely scandalous assertion by CNN's Eason Jordan, made at the World Economic Forum, that the United States military has targeted and killed a dozen journalists. The account of Jordan's remarks -including his backpedaling and the crowd's reactions--is available at ForumBlog. Thus far no major media outlet has demanded an accounting of Jordan, but the idea that a major figure from American media traffics
in such outlandish and outrageous slanders on the American military deserves attention and criticism, not indifference. It is no wonder that anti-American propaganda gains traction in the world when American news executives set fantasies such as this one in motion.

I'm glad Hugh mentions this, because if I inadvertently underplayed one part of my coverage yesterday on Jordan, it was his propensity to make these statements outside of the United States, and especially in fora that appear ready-made to accept anti-American allegations without substantiation. Why, one might ask, would the executive of an American news organization do this? Mainly because CNN does not compete well within the US any longer, and for good reason, as we now know. They are, however, tremendously influential internationally; they are America's BBC, in more ways than market share. In order to maintain that position, Jordan has to cultivate an image of CNN as a hypercritical gadfly to American policies, especially those of American conservatives.

In other words, Eason Jordan sells out America to boost access for CNN worldwide, and that is a deliberate decision, as his repeated acts show. That should surprise no one who read Jordan's own admission of the exact same thing in covering Saddam's Iraq. Jordan told America that he deliberately suppressed stories of Saddam's atrocities and published stories straight out of Baghdad Bob's propaganda ministry in order to get pictures on TV from Baghdad.

Now, of course, the blogosphere has awoken to Jordan's commercial interests in anti-American rhetoric, and CNN has been unmasked as a shill for leftists. CNN and its parent, Time Warner, has to decide whether they will endorse the Eason Jordan strategy and completely break faith with their American audiences -- and perform a disservice to their global audiences, too -- or dump Jordan and everyone who thinks like him and rebuild credibility back into their organization. It's also up to use to make sure that they have to make that decision, and that we make clear what actions they've taken.

Read all of Hugh's excellent column. Hugh will appear next Thursday at our Patriot Forum here in Minneapolis on February 10th to debate Peter Beinart. It promises to be a grand event, one of the classic debates you'll regret missing. I believe tickets are on sale only until tomorrow, and for $69 you can get a ticket and a copy of Hugh's terrific new book Blog. That's a deal even Eason Jordan can't pass up ... in fact, Eason Jordan needs that deal more than all of us.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 3, 2005 7:08 AM

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