Why I Don’t Watch CNN

Blackfive asked for commentary about Eason Jordan standing up in Davos and making CNN look like a bigger propaganda mill than it already does. Well, the first comment I have is that it’s a pretty good trick. You have to hand him some kind of prize for making CNN even less credible. I mean, after “Nerve Gas in Vietnam” who didn’t know CNN was biased against the military?

Mr. Jordan has made statements indicating he believes the US military is targeting journalists. Or that journalists die in war zones, and somehow, it’s all the US military’s fault. Or the US military is to blame when he can’t find his socks, has bad breath, or shoots his mouth off and looks like an asshat. I’ve kind of lost track of what information or point he claims he was actually trying to convey, what with all the backing and filling. A tape or a transcript would be helpful, but strangely, CNN can’t seem to procure one because the nice people in Davos won’t release it. Wow. That’s a hell of a newsgathering organization you’ve got there, sparky. You can’t manage to drum up tapes or transcripts from an event your managing editor attended. Can you guys actually gather news, or do you have to rely on being fed propaganda by dictators to have things to broadcast?

I agree completely that Mr. Jordan should be fired, but I’ve thought that for several years. When the story came out that CNN sucked up to Saddam’s regime for access, he should have been fired. The pathetic and wormy excuses he made about needing access were a stunning display of the complete lack of integrity over at CNN. Why should we be surprised at anything that happens in Atlanta now? So Mr. Jordan got up on stage and lied about the military. What does that matter to CNN? A corporation that refused to report things to protect access is going to grow some ethics and standards all of a sudden? If I ran a news organization, I would sure as hell fire my people for making unsubstantiated accusations in a public forum while representing the company. I guess the standards CNN has for journalism these days are a little more lax than mine are.

Honestly, though, I can’t say whatever happens to Mr. Jordan will matter in the larger scheme of things. Should he be fired? Yes, for a variety of reasons. Will that make a difference in CNN’s coverage? No. He’s symptomatic of the larger issue. The problems with media bias are systemic. Firing him won’t change a journalism culture that feels social change, activism, and advocacy are at least as, if not more, important than accurate reporting. When the primary, secondary, and tertiary motivations of journalists return to reporting the best factual data available, maybe something will change. Until then, firing Eason Jordan will only make the other weasels slicker and harder to catch.


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