CNN Europe Again

I know its true, but it never ceases to amaze me when I visit Europe just how unselfconsciously mean-spirited and anti-American the broadcast news is there. CNN Europe makes the CNN USA and MSNBC news channels look like Fox News.

In 2003, I spent a week in Toulouse France at the same time that Saddam Hussein’s sons, Qusay and Uday Hussein, were killed in a shootout with American troops. CNN Europe covered the success cynically, arguing that Iraqis were not likely to believe that the sons were indeed killed and no longer a threat unless some proof was provided. The very next day photographs of the corpses of the sons were made available. At this point, CNN Europe complained that the photographs were inappropriately proactive. Now, it is probably logically possible to hold the two positions expressed one day apart. However, it would have been heartening if they had at least acknowledged that the photographs had met the need for proof they had demanded just one day before.

I have just returned from a week and a half in Spain in Italy, with a renewed opportunity to experience CNN Europe. This time, CNN Europe was faced with the politically inconvenient fact that American troop casualties had fallen dramatically since May. This fact makes the fatalism about Iraq appear premature. To offset this good news, CNN Europe warned that the progress had come at the cost of accommodations with local Sunnis that might come back to haunt the US. The next day Sunni leaders walked out of the Iraqi National Assembly. CNN Europe then worried that without Sunni cooperation there was little hope of success in Iraq. It is hard to escape the conclusion that CNN Europe’s only consistent editorial policy is that what all news coming from Iraq must be portrayed in the most worst light possible. No wonder Europeans have such a negative view of Americans.

Free speech and a free press, even if so overtly biased represent important pillar in a free society. With respect to people who perpetrate incorrect opinions, Thomas Jefferson once noted that: “… let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” We can only hope that alternative media will be able to provide Europe with sufficient unfiltered information that reason has enough raw material with which to work.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.