Last night, I got to see the video of Glenn Reynolds taking CNN to task to their faces, and it got me thinking.
1) CNN has refused to run the Mohammed cartoons, out of “respect” for Islamic sensitivities. This “respect” is not only depriving their viewers of the chance to exercise their own judgment on whether or not the cartoons are so patently offensive, but actually aiding and abetting the fomenters of the riots — the most offensive of the cartoons being waved around were not only never published by the newspaper, but were most likely fabricated by the Imams who triggered the riots.
2) CNN has willingly admitted that during the 1990’s, they willingly suppressed stories and information about Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq out of fears of losing their “access.” They chose to censor themselves and deprive their viewers of facts and stories for the purpose of coddling favor with a brutal, genocidal tyrant.
At what point do we decide that a media outlet like CNN, which can easily be swayed to kill stories by threats (explicit or implicit) of violent retaliation, has outlived its usefulness? At what point can it be argued that they have forfeited their First Amendment rights by failing to exercise them?
On the latter, it’s easy. They never do. Rights left unexercised do not go away. CNN will, to its dying day, have those rights.
But at some point, we should look at them and decide whether or not they are a journalistic institution that deserves official recognition, official creditation, and access to events that other, braver, more honest, more worthy journalistic institutions are granted. Because it seems to me that CNN has taken the good will it may have earned in its first couple of decades and flushed it right down the crapper.
All in the name of “sensitivity” and “respect” and “access.”