Jewish World Review April 15, 2003 / 13 Nisan, 5763

Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough
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Consumer Reports

CNN's too little, too late apology | In a revealing op-ed column last week in "The New York Times," CNN's top executive, Eason Jordan, admitted that for the past 12 years the news network concealed information about Saddam Hussein's brutality and did it in order to keep their Baghdad bureau open. Jordan thinks he made the right call, but here's the real deal on CNN's bargain.

CNN ADMITS it had evidence of Saddam Hussein's human rights atrocities and refused to reveal it to the viewers of the world. In many instances, the CNN big wigs actually knew Saddam Hussein was imprisoning and torturing some of their own employees but they refused to report the truth to the world because that may have got them kicked out of Baghdad.

After all, that was a city that helped make the network what it is today - but at one point CNN even refused to pass along information to Saddam's own son in laws who had defected that they were being lured back into Iraq to be killed. Now because CNN failed to warn these two men, they were murdered by Saddam after giving weapons inspectors' key information on Iraq's nuclear program.

Now CNN says what it reported would have endangered the lives of its Iraqi employees but I say if they couldn't safely report the truth they should have closed up shop, reported what they already knew and told the world that Iraq was not a country where journalists could safely operate.

What's the point of having a bureau at all if you can't report the truth? By withholding critical news about the brutality of Saddam's regime, CNN was complicit in the lies that it told the world by the Iraqi Information Agency and by Saddam's Ambassador to the United Nations. CNN kept critical information from the worldwide audience and they may have contributed to global opinion against the war. If the world really knew what was going on inside Iraq that country may have been liberated much, much sooner. But when it counted, CNN kept its mouth shut.

It's going to take more than a mealy-mouthed op-ed in "The New York Times" to clean up this mess from Mr. Jordan and his bosses at CNN. They created it when they abandoned the people of Iraq simply to keep a news bureau open in Baghdad.

I personally hope for their sakes that CNN's position in Baghdad was worth the price paid by Iraqi blood because the men, the women and the children of Iraq needed CNN to tell the world of Saddam's atrocities before his statues were pulled to the ground.

Shamefully they didn't and Mr. Jordan's op-ed in this case just doesn't cut it because that half hearted apology is way too little, way too late.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) serves as a regular contributor to MSNBC, providing on-air commentary and analysis. He also serves as host on MSNBC Reports. Comment by clicking here.

04/14/03: Who's the first elitist to admit they were wrong about the war?
04/10/03: He's baaack --- and his terror tactics deserve an 'F'
04/09/03: Iraqi lawyer and American teenaged girl proved themselves to be 'The Real Deal'

© 2003, MSNBC