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January 20, 2006
KEEP AN EYE ON CNN: After the Eason Jordan affair, we know that they'll slant coverage to keep access to dictatorial regimes. And Iran has already been playing games with them:
Iran lifted its ban on CNN on Tuesday, a day after the government barred the U.S. network from the country because of its mistranslation of nuclear comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state television reported.
Ahmadinejad ordered the reversal "due to the expression of an apology" from CNN over the mistranslation, the state-run TV broadcast said.
So, as I say, watch 'em with a jaundiced eye on this subject. As Matt Welch wrote back when the Eason Jordan story broke:
This is appalling, though no surprise. The embarrassing Peter Arnett interview on Iraq TV was just a brief public glimpse on what has been a nasty little private "secret" for years -- that "news bureaus" in Baghdad and other totalitarian capitals (Havana, to name one) are actually propaganda huts, churning out what CNN producers call "sanctions coverage" (pieces on the awful humanitarian toll of international economic sanctions), while refusing to report the awful truth. It is possible, though intensely difficult, to do honest journalism in such circumstances. But with this column, I think we have the final proof that CNN will not be the news organization to rise to that challenge. Shame.
I can't see any reason to think they'll do better this time around, though I'd like it if they did.
UPDATE: Will Collier has more history.