Ed Driscoll

CNN's Exile In Reutersville

Here’s Reuters’ world view, as James Taranto noted on September 24th, 2001:

Stephen Jukes, global news editor for Reuters, the British wire service, has ordered his scribes not to use the word terror to refer to the Sept. 11 atrocity. . . . “We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist,” Jukes writes in an internal memo. “To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack.”

And from just this week…This is CNN:

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: WordCentral.com defines terrorism as the use of a violent or destructive act to achieve a goal. Why is it so difficult for the international community to agree on a definition for terrorism?

OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SENIOR EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: Well, I think for one, terrorism for one person is a freedom fight for another. And you know, the Arab world always talks about this, as they say the so-called terrorism, because they believe that – in Iraq, for example, many people are struggling against occupation, so in many ways they support that struggle against occupation but then they draw a line between those who are struggling. They want a free Iraq, they want the occupiers out and those who are pushing the envelope and crossing the line by terrorizing people. And when we say terrorizing people, in a sense, it’s going after the innocent civilians, the unsuspecting civilians, taking hostages, beheading them. Committing acts that are totally unacceptable, even by the standards of a freedom fight. So, you know, if you think about it, “terrorism” is a subjective term depending on which side you are on.

Err, if such acts are “totally unacceptable”, then why the scare quotes, the “so-called” obfuscating, and all of the dissembling?

Roger Ailes of Fox News once told C-Span’s Brian Lamb that CNN’s CNNi, their international feed, frequently is much more anti-American than the version of CNN that Americans watch–almost in Al Jazeera territory. On the other hand, as Ailes noted, CNNi’s tone is also good for business:

Well, the best way to get distribution around the world is to be the BBC or Al Jazeera or CNNi, basically do — if you watch it day in and day out, you can’t find a whole lot good about America. Now, they have no obligation to do good stories about America, but they do have an obligation to have balance and context. And Al Jazeera simply doesn’t. BBC doesn’t. And CNNi is less offensive, but they don’t do it much, either. And I think that context is critically important to the news.

I quoted Ailes early last year during the scandal that arose after CNNi’s founder Eason Jordan was lying about American troops targeting reporters for assassination. Jordan’s one shining moment as a journalist was coming clean with the American people in April of 2003 with the fact that Saddam Hussein had previously controlled CNN’s news coverage of Iraq, after Hussein was toppled by American-led forces. But sadly, it looks like even after 9/11, even after Saddam’s fall, even after years of terrorism that has killed and otherwise impacted far more Middle Eastern Muslims than Americans, little has changed in CNN’s collective world view.

(Via Hugh Hewitt, who writes, “No Wonder the Iraqi Defense Minister Says ‘I Hate CNN'”.)