Saturday, October 08, 2005

CNN's in the midst of a snit fit.

Rush Limbaugh says on air that his "mistress" sent him an e-mail praising Bully Boy's recent speech (aka Operation Try To Scare The Hell Out of America).

Media Matters reports that.

CNN has to rush in with "That's not Daryn Kagan! He's talking about someone else!"

If CNN has a problem, they should take it up with Limbaugh.

Whether or not the news-challenged Kagan sent her rotund boyfriend an e-mail, if there's a misunderstanding on the issue it has to do with Limbaugh, not Media Matters.

If a clarification needs to be made re: Kagan, a little nothing not unlike a certain sitcom hacktress who went straight to nowhere, Kagan and her hopefully in drug addiction recovery boyfriend need to make the clarification.

CNN was once the home of the best televised news in the United States. When you walked through the Atlanta studios, and I did many times, you saw people devoted to finding the news item that would speak to the viewer (and further their own name, let's be honest). That was everyone, not just the person who'd be onscreen. The attitude was one of "we're going to tell you something that no one else is telling you and if we have to cover something everyone else is telling you, we'll do in a way that provides you with a little bit more." There was a dedication and spirit that would give you hope in the future for domestic mainstream media.

These days, CNN can't air a story without worrying first how it will play and whom might attack them for it. It has to do with the 'synergy' and the consolidation as well as the relocation.

As people with vision left (are were forced out), the network's become a hopeless and unreliable cable channel that's never quite sure what it is from one week to the next. A piece gets waived through, then half-way into the vetting process, it's killed for various reasons. (Usually having to do with "image" -- CNN alters its image constantly.)

Now they've got time to bicker with Media Matters over a reasonable interpretation (by Media Matters) of Rush Limbaugh's public, on air remarks. The item reportedly caused a flurry of activity on the part of CNN. I'm told that more time was spent on this item (vetting it and composing the response) then it spent on the average "breaking news" story airing on CNN. (Three friends remain at CNN, none are on air talent.)

Instead of wasting the time to compose their rebuttal, they should be focusing on the news. Rush speaks in code, wink-wink and most of the time CNN isn't bothered. They weren't bothered by this originally, I'm told, but then they started hearing rumbles about Kagan and whether it's appropriate for her to be passing along information (Kagan told CNN she didn't).
It's not appropriate, if it happened.

But the issue isn't Media Matters.

It's easier, however, for them to respond to Media Matters than to Limbaugh (whom they're scared of).

I don't usually do any Saturday evening posts. The reason I'm doing this one is that while working with The Third Estate Sunday Review, my phones won't stop ringing over this. People who worked for CNN eager to point out how embarrassing this is and a further sign of the decline of the network. The three friends still at CNN calling to air their grievances.

I think it's very embarrassing for CNN. It's embarrassing that the statement was made on air (by Limbaugh). It's embarrassing that people outside CNN are loudly questioning what Kagan and Limbaugh might be sharing. (I'm not referring to Media Matters.) It's embarrassing that a shrug of "Rush does what he wants" leads not to seriously addressing this issue on their end but instead devoting all that time to composing their rebuttal to Media Matters.

Most of all the entire incident is demoralizing to CNN. Don't expect them to deal with it. They were quite proud of their "rebuttal."

If you think about it, this is akin to a bully (Rush) stealing lunch money from someone (CNN) and a bystander (Media Matters) pointing that out. Instead of addressing the bully, someone (CNN) wants to scream about what the bystander concluded.

That doesn't deal with the theft of the lunch money and the three friends still at CNN doubt that the lunch money theft will ever be dealt with.

Let's move from the insanity of CNN to reality. At Iraq Dispatches, Dahr Jamail has posted a letter from the Brussels Tribunal (the letter is to Amnesty) regarding Iraq. Here's an excerpt from "Open Letter to Amnesty International on the Iraqi Constitution:"

The following letter was composed by members of the Brussels Tribunal, one of the groups from the World Tribunal on Iraq. For those interested in international law and the upcoming referendum vote on the Iraqi constitution, this is a must read:
We would like to congratulate Amnesty International on its courageous stand against the massive human rights violations inflicted upon the people of Iraq by the US-led occupation forces, as stated in the Amnesty International annual report of 2005. "Armed groups committed gross human rights abuses, including targeting civilians, hostage-taking and killing hostages. Women continued to be harassed and threatened amid the mounting daily violence. The death penalty was reinstated in August by the new interim government.”
The recommendations made by Amnesty International's chief Mr. Schulz in the aftermath of this report were very clear: "If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal," said Schulz, who added that violations of the torture convention, which has been ratified by the United States and some 138 other countries, can be prosecuted in any jurisdiction."
On August 9, 2005, Amnesty International launched a "Call for a human rights based constitution". This action alert calls on people to write to Jaafari, asking him to make sure that the constitution is one that respects human rights. Of course, we embrace the idea that Iraqi's human rights will be much better protected in the future than they are today. Nevertheless, everyone who cares about human rights should question the validity of a constitution that is written under the current situation. A call we received from a well-know human rights activist from Baghdad, who has strong reservations against Amnesty International's action alert, should illustrate our concern. For security reasons we can't reveal the author’s name. We apologize for this, but in our opinion, people in a war zone should still have the right and opportunity to speak out without risking death. It also shows how grievous the situation in Iraq is, and how far the so-called 'Salvador option', the state-directed terror against the population, is now in action.
"I hear Amnesty International is campaigning for Human Rights in the new Iraqi draft constitution? How wonderful that they are concerned about our human rights in the future...

but what about now? Why doesn't Amnesty International campaign or at least say something about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis who are held for months, years in the American prisons, without the least rights? The known and the unknown prisons inside and outside Iraq? Why don't they do something about the hundreds of Iraqis, whose bodies are found every day on the garbage piles, with evidences of horrible torture on their bodies after they had been disappeared for a few days? What about the miserable life the Iraqi government is giving the Iraqis for months now, in every field? Does Amnesty International consider the rewriting of the constitution now a legal process? Obviously it does, but on what bases? The war and occupation of Iraq are illegal (even Kofi Annan said it). Who wrote the draft? A member of the writing committee admitted that a draft was sent from the US. So, how far is this legal?
I would like to ask Amnesty International one question: why is it so necessary to write a new constitution for Iraq now? All the political parties, the government, the National Assembly, the media ..etc are preoccupied with the (controversial points) in the constitution for months now, and will be for the next few months. Meanwhile, the country is full of problems: the security, the services, the economy, the environment, the corruption, the Human Rights conduct of the Iraqi government... to mention only few ..two days ago I went to a dentist compound, one of the biggest in Baghdad, where at least 50 dentists work. They could not pull out my tooth because they did not have anesthetic...a very common problem in the Iraqi hospitals for months. Too bad for my teeth, but imagine with emergency cases?
In Tallafar families did not get the food ration, neither any other food since the beginning of this year. In many Iraqi towns, the majority, there is no authority, no law, no police, no courts, only the armed militias and their political parties. Racial cleansing has begun in many parts of Iraq. The government in the heavily fortified Green Zone is very busy working on the constitution.
During the last attack on Haditha, for more than two weeks, all the news programs, the dialogue, the forums were focused on the constitution and in the meantime an Iraqi major city was practically slaughtered. No one said a word about it as if it was happening on the moon. Do you think that this is just a coincidence? And, by the way, it happened and is happening continuously in other places.
There are so many problems in Iraq now, so many crimes committed daily, where innocent people are killed, arrested, tortured... Why is it so important to neglect all these crimes and be busy with the constitution? Why is it so urgent?
Saddam did not write the Iraqi constitution, and if there were some changes or resolutions added to it during the last 30 years, they can be cancelled, simple. We can keep our constitution until we have a proper government and national assembly. After we are done with the most urgent problems, we can take our time writing the most humanitarian and progressive constitution in the world!
Maybe more dangerous is the fact that rewriting the constitution now is deepening the divisions between the Iraqis and pushing them to the verge of civil war, because some of them were given guarantees to participate in the political process, which they refused in the beginning, and after they agreed, the guarantees proved to be untrue.

The above's an excerpt. Click here to read more.

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