|At no point during or after the Persian
Gulf War was there the slightest indication that the
management of CNN, or of any other news organization,
print or broadcast, had absorbed the warning and fully
understood its implications. Arnett and his colleagues
were posted in Baghdad and kept there solely and entirely
for commercial advantage, an advantage from which CNN
reaped huge immediate financial rewards. The long-term
costs of a growing public perception that the press will
not hesitate to make whatever pacts with an enemy of the
United States it deems useful and profitable are yet to
THE MILITARY and The MEDIA: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War by William V. Kennedy
As many of you know, although some do not, I wrote a book about the Gulf War shortly after it ended in 1991. It was published by McGraw Hill, and was titled, "The Fury of Desert Storm, the Air Campaign." While that book's primary focus was on the air war, much of it also addressed the news coverage of the war. I pointed out how there were two big losers during that war; Iraq and the news media.
Both the news media and Iraq had many things in common, one of which was that they brought their problems on themselves. I explained how the news media, particularly CNN, inaccurately reported the war, misstating the facts, and in many cases deliberately telling outright lies. I dedicated an entire chapter to a dishonest CNN report about the B-1 bomber and evaluated its inaccuracies line by line. I illustrated that the report was full of lies, and these were about clearly established facts and not about someone's opinion. I spoke in person to the people in the Pentagon that CNN had been interviewed and filmed for that report, and they told me how CNN edited what they said to make it seem like they were saying exactly the opposite of what they actually said. I spoke with CNN's people here in Atlanta and at the Pentagon, including Wolf Blitzer, and he admitted he knew nothing about the military. A CNN employee in Atlanta admitted to me that they did not care if they got t heir reporting accurate. They only wanted to get it on the air first and in the most dramatic manner possible. Their primary purpose was to make money by selling ad space, not reporting the news. The story goes on and on.
Unfortunately, twelve years later, the situation has not improved at CNN. I have watched them as well as other news sources recently, and their lies and inaccuracies are even more common than they were in 1991. Their bias is also beyond belief. They are showing almost exclusively an anti-war stance by people who are so delusioned that they believe that peace is merely the absence of war. While everyone, including news organizations, have their own bias, it is neither professional nor honest to concentrate almost exclusively on one side of an issue, particularly one so important as this. To do so presents an inaccurate and dishonest view of what is actually happening, and this does not allow viewers to form informed and valid opinions.
For example, CNN concentrates almost exclusively on those few nations that are against us in this effort and makes almost no mention of the many more that are supporting us. They ignore and do not report on our success in Afghanistan where we have returned women to classrooms and professional occupations and where people are returning to that country with expectations for a bring future free of terror, all thanks to America. Before we drove out the Taliban, people were fleeing Afghanistan.
CNN also makes the viewer believe that those who protest the war are in far greater numbers than those who are supporting it. This is clearly not the case, and even CNN's own surveys show that 66% of Americans support military action to disarm Iraq. (ABC and FOX surveys place that percent in the upper 70s.) For example, this past Saturday, over 3,000 people turned out in Atlanta, the home of CNN, to support the war on a dreary and rainy day. At the same time, there was an anti-war rally in Atlanta that was attended by twenty-two, that's right TWENTY-TWO protesters. Anyone care to guess how CNN covered it? I recently heard the percentage of students that protested the war at universities across America, and in almost every case, it was less than one percent. That means that ninety-nine percent did not protest against the war, and in many cases the number gathering to support President Bush and our troops far exceed the number who protested against it. But who does CN N report? Clearly, all sides need to be presented in a balanced manner, and CNN skews their coverage extremely in one direction. In my view, their coverage with its inaccuracies, lies, distortions, and blame America first bias is nothing short of criminal.
CNN has seldom reported much about the continuing atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein throughout his time in power. Here is a man who has attacked his neighbor to the east and his neighbor to the southeast. Here is a man who has fired missiles at his neighbors to the southwest and the west. Hussein has gassed his own people and habitually tortures those that disagree with him. He has had the wives and children of dissidents brought in and tortured, raped, and killed those family members before their very eyes. Here is a man who would destroy oil wells and dams to create ecological disasters and kill the Iraqi people. On the other side of the coin are the Americans who will bring freedom from this oppression to the Iraqis, who will bring food and medicine to them, who will protect Iraq's infrastructure, and who will treat Iraqi prisoners who surrender in a humane way. But CNN makes America out to be the bad guy! How does that work?
If you are like me and believe that the freedom of the press carries with it an obligation to be accurate, fair, balanced, and honest, I ask you to do two things. First, please pass this e-mail on to everyone you know so that they may realize what CNN is doing. Second, I ask you to stop the lies, turn off CNN, and send them an e-mail that you are doing so. I ask you to look elsewhere for your news coverage. I find the FOX News Network, The News Hour on PBS, and MSNBC to be far more fair. Sure, there is some bias anywhere, but it is not so extreme nor calculated. On these networks I hear both sides about equally. I hear about France like I do on CNN, but I also hear about Japan and Australia as well as the many other countries that are backing us in so many ways. As of today, three countries in Europe are against us, and twenty-two have come out in support of us. Most of the twenty-two have never been mentioned on CNN, but representatives of France and Germany are on CNN almost hourly. So please take a look at several news choices and find one that is accurate, fair, and balanced. It is only that way that you will get an honest view of what is going on. I am not telling you which one to choose, I'm only asking you to turn off CNN.
It is not in my present plans to write another book for the general public on this war. But that may change. I am so sickened by the reporting of CNN that I may just do so. If I do, I will not focus on the air war this time. Instead I will simply state the facts that clearly prove that CNN is lying and distorting the news about our country, our leaders, and our military.
Finally, I would like to remind you to do a third thing. As most of you know, I have a son who is a Navy pilot and who has been flying missions in the Middle East since last November. So, as the father of one of our deployed military personnel, and as a former Army officer myself, I ask all of you to remember our troops, support them, and pray for them even more than you usually do in these critical days ahead. I know many of you also have family members or friends who are over there ready to do their jobs in support of our country. It is those troops who keep us free, and who are ready to lay down their lives to protect our country. It is not the movie stars nor the news reporters that have ever protected us.
For those of you who pass this on to your friends, I thank you for your help in spreading the word about CNN.
God bless America,
"CNN is 99.7% Fact Free"