Ed Driscoll

“Good Luck In Getting It Right This Time”

Hugh Hewitt pens a memo to Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN, regarding his network’s coverage of Iran’s efforts to aquire the bomb, and reminds him, “There isn’t a bigger story or a more important one. Good luck in getting it right this time. Your choice very likely to be the only thing you will ever be remembered for”:

Congratulations on the approach of your fifth anniversary at the helm of CNN/US. What a great moment during which to exercise leadership over one of the most important media platforms in the world. It may be “the most busted name in news” in the eyes of many, but the reach of CNN’s programming is still vast. It remains the default network for center-left elites who cannot abide the buffoonery that MSNBC has sunk to, and even those of us who watch Fox News with great regularity are still checking in on Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and a few others.

There’s lots to criticize, of course, with the refrains from the center-right as familiar to you as the chorus from “American Pie.” (Please, no more fringe extremists held up as “representing” conservatism generally or Tea Party activists specifically.) While fixing these flaws would increase your audience and your credibility on many issues, these are small points compared with the looming world crisis. What really matters right now is that CNN get the Iran story right and that you not become the Geoffrey Dawson of the new millennium.

You no doubt know of [Geoffrey] Dawson and his shameful record of abetting the appeasement of Neville Chamberlain throughout the ’30s from his post as editor of the Times of London, in its day the most powerful news platform in the world. Dawson emerges as a loathsome character in the pages of William Manchester’s “Alone,” the narrative of Winston Churchill’s wilderness years from 1932 to 1940.

At every turn, Dawson supported and encouraged the British leadership that refused to confront Hitler. “Appeasement became evangelical,” Manchester concluded. “[I]ndeed, for some the line between foreign policy and religion became blurred.” Dawson was one of the doctrine’s pre-eminent preachers, blocking contrary voices from the pages of the Times, cheerleading Chamberlain every step along his ill-fated way.

The question now is whether the mainstream media, and specifically CNN, are going to revive Dawson’s role on the world stage or work to avoid such another disastrous abdication of the media’s job to report the world as it is, not as the Left — and more specifically, the forces of appeasement — would like it to be.

Klein (who inadvertently gave Pajamas Media its name in attempting to defend former employee Dan Rather) replaced Eason Jordan at the helm of CNN. Jordan was happy to shill for Saddam Hussein. Why should we expect anything different from his successor?