Our news media have long lectured us that their role is not to be "stenographers to power." Theirs is the pursuit of truth, we are told. But when it comes to networks like CNN, those ethical rules are crumpled and tossed into the nearest trash bin.
Editorial writers at The Washington Post and elsewhere have raged against the Pentagon placing positive stories in Iraqi newspapers, thus violating the journalistic sacristy of objectivity. But they have no rage at all for CNN placing glorifying publicity from terrorists on a global television network.
On the Oct. 18 edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN aired a story by reporter Michael Ware, an Australian correspondent renowned for his contacts with terrorist groups. The story showed video filmed by terrorists calling themselves the Islamic Army of Iraq. From the very start, the viewer sees this for what it is: enemy propaganda. The grainy video shows Islamic terrorist snipers time and again shooting and presumably killing American boys.
(CNN, bless its heart, cut the footage just before each bullet found its mark, but not before the sound of the rifle fire that launched it.)
Here's what CNN also aired, without editorial comment of any sort, as "news": The translator has the terrorists saying they should wait to shoot the American soldier, since there are innocent "people" around. Later in the report, the shooter claims to be trying to target an American soldier, not Iraqis. Since when have these insurgent murderers cared about killing Iraqi soldiers or civilians? They've massacred thousands with remorseless regularity.
The video is sickening. Imagine being the mother or father, sister, brother, wife or child of that American soldier murdered so brutally.
So why did CNN air something that cannot be defended as newsworthy? That video was given to CNN by terrorists in order to demoralize the American people about the hopelessness of Iraq just before midterm elections. And CNN did exactly what the terrorists wanted, and CNN knows it. In his introduction that night, Anderson Cooper said, "Insurgents" -- never terrorists, mind you, always "insurgents" -- were "delivering a deadly message, aiming for a global audience." CNN is the terrorist's messenger service, FedEx for the fanatics who want us dead.