09. February 2005 · Comments Off on Memo: CNN—The Most Busted Name in News · Categories: General, Media Matters Not

From: Sgt Mom
To: Mr. E. Jordan, and his legacy media enablers
Re: The game is afoot!

1. I wholeheartedly believe that responsible news reporting requires that its’ practitioners remain loitering with meaningful intent in the vicinity of verifiable facts. However, I have been informed that such a such an innocent belief may pose an impossibly high standard and handicap, and unfit me to participate in “journalism” such as it is practiced by luminaries such as Sy Hersh, Dan Rather, Peter Arnett, Jason Blair, and Mr. Eason Jordan’s very prominent network.

2. Standards have indeed fallen appallingly low when the so-called top-tier, credible news outlets compete in the fraud and fantasy stakes with the kind of tabloids who run pictures of faces on Mars, movie-stars’ weight and addiction problems and bogus miracles. I would not be surprised to see “60 Minutes” doing an expose of Michael Jackson as a space alien… oops, that was already done, wasn’t it?

3. In this particular instance, the problem is not in the story as published; it is the spectacle of Mr. Jordan making an astonishing accusation, accusing the American military in Iraq of deliberately targeting and killing a number of reporters, during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum at Davos last month. If true and can be proven, this comes very close to being a war crime, and it would be Mr. Jordan’s responsibility as a citizen to share the particulars— who, where, when— with the proper authorities. At the very least, this would merit the same exhaustive news coverage as the ever-floggable dead horse of Abu Graib. Yet Mr. Jordan seems to have been as least as circumspect here, as he was concerning atrocities perpetrated by Saddam Hussein’s regime during the time that CNN gloried in having a bureau in Baghdad.

4. The alternative is that the accusation is false and made to score casual points with a portion of the audience at an open forum amongst the powerful and well-connected… this is even more appalling for the news profession. To perpetrate an outright lie, an untruth, to bear false witness goes beyond violating the standards of journalism. It is contrary to standards of ethical human behavior; it is wicked and wrong. We would not tolerate this in our children, our personal physician, our spouse, our structural engineers, or our subordinates, and will for damn sure not tolerate of our news media. Lamentably, a certain degree of elasticity with the truth is something we have come to expect, or at least factor in to our dealings with politicians, used car dealers, producers of television commercials, or the cretins who send us e-mails promising enlargement of body parts or transfers of improbably large sums of money from the descendents of deceased Nigerian functionaries. At this rate of depreciated credibility, many of the formerly respectable news organizations, such as CNN and CBS, AP and Reuters, will be shortly be at about that level. Or possibly a little below, given the current conditions.

5. This matter will not be made to go away, either. The tape made of the session must be released to the public, and Mr. Jordan’s allegation must be investigated, thoroughly, and completely. If, as I confidently expect, it is found to be baseless, then Mr. Jordan should— among other things— reminded rather forcibly of the penalties for slander.

6. Should this issue not be aired as it should be in the larger media— as the Deity is my witness, I shall laugh uproariously and throw popcorn at the television, the very next time I see some pompous blow-dried media drone standing in front of a corporate HQ or government office intoning piously about the public’s right to know.

Sincerely, and hoping you will take this communication to heart
Sgt. Mom

Comments closed.