Ed Driscoll

Don't Ever Change, CNN

Fidel Castro inspired CNN International, disgraced former CNN chief executive Eason Jordan told an apparently approving Harvard audience in 1999:

A longtime admirer of Fidel Castro, [Ted] Turner has called the former Cuban president “one hell of a guy.” In 2001 Turner told a class at Harvard Law School, “You’d like him [Castro]. He has been the leader of Cuba for 40 years. He’s the most senior leader in the world, and most of the people that are still in Cuba like him.”

Castro, in turn, holds Turner in high regard, so much so that the dictator was the inspiration behind the creation of CNN International. As CNN News Chief Executive Eason Jordan told his audience during a 1999 lecture at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism:

“… Let me also thank Fidel Castro. In the earliest days of CNN, when CNN was meant to be seen only in the United States, the enterprising Fidel Castro was pirating and watching CNN in Cuba. Fidel was intrigued by CNN. He wanted to meet the person responsible. So Ted Turner, who at that point had never traveled to a Communist country or knowingly met a Communist, [went to Havana]. It was big deal for Ted and during the discussions Castro suggested that CNN be made available to the entire world. In fact it was that seed, that idea that grew into CNN International.”

Turner generally has been loath to condemn totalitarian tyrants such as Castro, a stark contrast to his frequent and passionate denunciations of President George W. Bush. When asked in 2000 whether he thought Saddam Hussein could accurately be described as evil, Turner said: “I’m not sure that I know enough to be able to answer that question.”

Which brings us to CNNi today:

As Iowahawk tweets, “Parody Is Dead”; one of his Twitter followers adds, “That thinking is a wonder of the age. They think Cubans are like animals in a zoo exhibit.”

Exactly. In 2004, Cuban-American blogger Val Prieto coined the phrase “Omnipotent Tourism Syndrome:”

What is O.T.S.?

The Omnipotent Tourist Syndrome? is a disease common among Americans that is caused by arrogance, egotism and non-chalance. Carriers show a penchant for obliviously overlooking the obvious while delighting themselves at the cost of others. Delerious OTS sufferers refuse to acknowledge their malady and will argue that it is their God given right as an American to travel freely about the world with little or no conscience or consequence. OTS people fequently hide behind their Bill of Rights and Constitution. Unfortunately, there is no cure for OTS nor is there any way to ease it’s symptoms. It is a disease which, no matter how much hard data and facts are introduced into the OTS sufferer, will not ease unless said sufferer finds a compass of morality and humanity.

And it was also in 2004 that Fox’s Roger Ailes gave the very best definition of CNNi to CSpan’s Brian Lamb — and today’s Tweet is a reminder that like Castro’s closed socialist regime nothing has changed at the network:

(And don’t even get CNN started on the glories of North Korea.)

Related: “Why Cuba Was, and Must Remain, on State Terror List,” from my PJM colleague David Steinberg.