-- CNN President Jeff Zucker
On April 11, 2003, as U.S. forces swarmed into Baghdad, Eason Jordan, then the network's chief news executive, wrote a piece in the New York Times in which he admitted that his network covered up the war crimes and human rights abuses of Saddam Hussein, his sons, and his henchmen just so CNN could have bragging rights to a bureau.
A Fake News bureau.
From Eason Jordan:
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.Jordan admitted he knew of atrocities by Saddam Husein -- but ordered silence from his Fake News bureau:
I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam Hussein. An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth: henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us.Why not?
Tell the truth and get deported.
A real newsman would have shut the bureau down years before that. What good is a news bureau if it cannot report the news?
But a Fake News bureau helps raise ratings points, and the ad revenues and cable fees that go with them, were too valuable.
CNN put money above the truth.
It was a PR firm for one of the most ruthless dictators on Earth -- a man who sent real journalists to prison or worse.
Jordan ended his piece:
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.They should have been told a decade earlier. That would have shaped world opinion against Hussein.
Instead Jordan colluded with Husein to keep the truth from being aired on CNN.
Now we have Zucker defying President Trump -- a duly elected president of a free country who does not torture, maim, or mutilate political rivals.
Lying about Saddam Hussein was a thing of value to the dictator.
If any other company did that -- bribed Saddam Hussein to keep making money off Baghdad -- the Department of Justice would investigate.
Too bad the statute of limitations expired.
Meanwhile, Zucker's threat to twist the news against Trump received praise from the Washington Post.
Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.
It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."
For an autographed copy, email me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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