When you're right you're right
Monday, August 21, 2006
  A "maverick" is not a "maverick" when he is a Democrat
Joe Lieberman is no Republican, but you wouldn't know that by some of the things that have been written about him in the run-up to the Democratic primary, which he lost to "anti-war" candidate Ned Lamont.

Connecticut's Journal-Inquirer all but accused him of being a Karl Rove puppet. In an op-ed entitled "Why Did Rove Call Joe?", the paper claims that "Joe Lieberman will run for his fourth term in the U.S. Senate as a Bush Republican."

As if that weren't absurd enough, the paper continues:


"Whatever the outcome, Joe Lieberman has removed the mask once and for all. He is out of the closet. He's a Bush man and the de facto GOP nominee for the Senate this year. There may not be a direct 9/11-Saddam link, but there is a Lieberman-Rove one."

Joe Lieberman is not a Republican in Democrats' clothing, as the article suggests. Let me be the first to say that he's much too liberal for my liking, and I probably wouldn't vote for him for dogcatcher. But he has never managed to make my blood boil quite the same way Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have done. He seems like an honorable man, a man of faith, and a man with whom I could probably have an intelligent and reasonable debate.

So where does this stealth Republican stand on the issues? He voted against drilling at ANWR. He voted against a constitutional ammendment that would have banned gay "marriage". He co-sponsored the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which aimed to give the homosexual partners of federal employees similar benefits as the married spouses of heterosexual federal employees. Lieberman received and "F" from the National Rifle Assocation, but a rating of ninety percent from the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence. He voted against allowing guns to be sold without trigger locks. He supports federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Lieberman a rating of one hundred percent for the years 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004. For the year 2005, his rating was a scant 95%, because he voted to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts. He voted against banning partial birth abortion. Lieberman also voted against the Bush social security plan and recently called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

So that's the type of closet Republican ol' Joe is. As strange as it seems, today's Democratic Party does not have room for this accomplished Democrat and junior United States Senator from Connecticut. On August 8th, Connecticut Democrats chose challenger Ned Lamont over the incumbent Lieberman by margin of 51.8% to 48.2%. For a sitting Senator to lose his party's nomination in a primary race is almost unheard of in American history.

With the snubbing of Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party is telling the world that the "big tent party" is a thing of the past. The Democratic Party has long been a broad coalition of competing interests. Back in the 1940's, the term "typical Democrat" was almost an oxymoron. There was the Dixiecrat wing of the party whose first priority was to preserve Jim Crowe laws; there was the "progressive" wing of the party, represented by former Vice President Henry Wallace, an admirer of Stalin's Soviet Union. But the party also had a lot of support from urban ethnics--Irish in Boston, Italians in Philadelphia, Poles in Chicago, as well as religious minorities such as Roman Catholics and Jews. The Democrats also enjoyed some degree of support from Midwestern farmers, blue-collar workers, and Southerners who were impressed with Roosevelt New Deal improvements such as the Tennessee Valley Authority.

But the party of Roosevelt is gone. Somewhere along the line, the big tent got a lot smaller. Dissenting voices were less and less welcome. Pro-life Democrats were squeezed out, Democrats who were a little squeemish about affirmative action were labeled racists, and Democrats who maintained their faith in God as a central object in their lives were told they were "Jesus freaks" whose opinions had no place in politics.

Pennsylvania's Bob Casey was one of the first Democrats to feel the crunch. A rising star in the Democratic Party, he parted ways with his party on one of its central issues--abortion. Casey is pro-life, and wanted to give a pro-life speech at the 1992 Democratic Convention at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The Democratic Party, under great pressure from NARAL pro-Choice America, nixed the idea. Only weeks before, Casey had been the defendant in the landmark supreme court case, Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey, and was consequently walking around with a figurative bullseye on his back at the convention. Casey, the popular governor of a large swing state (Pennsylvania) was not allowed to speak at the Democratic National Convention.

Ever since there have been political parties, there has been a delicate balance between party discipline and political independence. Though they are at odds, I believe that there is a time for a party to hang together, and a time for independent leaders to make independent decisions.

It seems that Republican politicians who break with their party are referred to as "mavericks", a complimentary term that denotes a certain courage and independence of thought. The Republican Party's leading maverick is Arizona Senator John McCain, a man whose name has almost become synanamous with "maverick".

McCain is not my kind of Republican, and I would have a hard time voting for him, "maverick" or not. I will criticize his voting record simply because I disagree with it, but I would never suggest that he is doing something nefarious by voting against his party.

No elected representative should be a slave to his party or take his marching orders from the party bigwigs. In an ideal republic, representatives would vote the way their constituents want them to vote, not the way their parties want them to vote. John McCain, the quintesential Republican "maverick", works for the people of Arizona, not the Republican Party.

I guess I would have more respect for John McCain's "independent" positions if I thought they were actually independent. It sometimes apears that McCain is just looking for the media accolades that reporters so quickly dole out to Republicans who bash Republicans. They love to see Republican infighting and reward it wherever they find it. Reporters love to report stories in which "even Republicans" are turning against the president, and "even Republicans" can't agree on a controversial issue. As the Republican Party's leading Republican-basher, Senator McCain has learned to enjoy the spotlight and revel in his status as an "independent thinker", and "his own man". The press knows that McCain is the man to go to if you want to get a soundbite of one Republican bashing another Republican. For this purpose, Senator McCain is indespensible.

While I understand that our leaders have to take their own path from time to time, I still wonder why some Republicans don't just switch parties. People like Chris Shays of Connecticut and Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, are known as "R.I.N.O.s" (Republicans in Name Only), because of their frequent support for Democratic policy positions. Why not just stop the charade and go join the Dark Side?

I guess it comes down to the fact that we have a two-party system in this country. Political parties almost have to have a "big tent" approach if they want to compete on the national level. After all, the party with the biggest tent wins. Unlike other countries which have one-issue parties, regional parties, and splinter parties, Americans really only have to two realistic choices--the Republicans and the Democrats. Republicans are generally center-right, and Democrats are (supposedly) center-left.

But Americans are not so easily divided into liberal and conservative. Some people who are staunch supporters of securing our borders and oppose abortion may also believe that the Iraq War is a disaster and oppose NAFTA. Pat Buchanan, two-time candidate for the Republican nomination for president, holds those exact positions. On the other side of the aisle, Senator and Governor Zell Miller of Georgia was known as a bit of an irritant to his party, for the fact that he was not on board with some of the Democrat's more left-wing proposals.

Because of the fact that people are not so easily categorized as "liberal" or "conservative", "right-wing" or "left-wing", political parties have to have some tolerance for disagreement. Dissenters cannot simply be drummed out of the party for holding opinions that don't jive with the party platform.

But is there a line? If an elected official diasagrees with his party on almost everything, what is he still doing running on their ticket? At what point does a dissenting politician become a rogue agent, rather than someone who has occasional disagreements with his party?

Apparently, the Democrat's "big tent" is not big enough for Joe Lieberman, a man who faithfully votes with his party on almost all issues, but still stands by his vote for the Iraq War. Lieberman is a hawk in a party that can't quite make up its mind where it stands on the war.

Lieberman's biggest sin is his independence; he won't bow down to Democratoc Party leaders, and that made him a target in the eyes of the party's left wing. In other words, Joe Lieberman is a "maverick", although you will rarely hear him called that in the mainstream press. You see, the term "maverick" is a compliment, and should only be applied to politicians who break with the Republican Party, not politicians who break with the Democratic Party. Republicans "mavericks" like John McCain are praised for their staunch independent streaks, while Democratic "mavericks" (although they are rarely called that) recieve no such praise. In the eyes of the liberal media, these independent Democrats are supposed march in lockstep with the Democratic Party, so their refusal to do so is never portrayed as a virtue.

That's why The Journal Inquirer tries to paint Lieberman is the perfect Bush Administration lapdog.

So the White House is there for Joe. Why back a veteran GOP Congressman like Chris Shays for the Senate? He's an independent spirit who thinks for himself, and views intelligence, defense, and terror as complex problems calling for nuanced responses. Joe is the cookie cutter the president would like to use to remake the rest of Congress.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While he does agree with the president that we need to be bringing the fight to the enemy in the War on Terror, he has come to these conclusions independently. In fact, that's exactly Lieberman's sin--his independent streak. While The Journal-Inquirer gushes over R.I.N.O. Chris Shay's "maverick" posture, it bashes Lieberman for not being independent enough. Sorry, but one could just as easily say that the sitting Connecticut Senator is "an independent spirit who thinks for himself, and views intelligence, defense, and terror as complex problems calling for nuanced responses."

The senator has not become persona non grata in his party because he's a Bush lackey; he's been targeted because he isn't a DNC lackey. While he is accused with "marching in lockstep" with the president, he is in fact cutting his own path. Since his defeat in the Democratic primary, we know that such insolence will not be tolerated in the Democratic Party.

After years of Democrats praising Republican "mavericks" every time they voted against their party, they finally got a "maverick" of their own. Not surprisingly, they don't like it. While praising "independent spirits" like Chris Shays, they expect those on their side of the aisle to toe the line.

In the wake of the Lieberman defeat, the message has gone out to Democrats across the country--break ranks at your own peril. It's not good enough to vote with the Democrats eighty percent of the time, or even ninety percent of the time. You have to sing along with the DNC chorus one hundred percent of the time, or at least when it comes to the Iraq War and the greater War on Terror.

But is that the right message for the Democratic Party to be sending? I would wager that the Democrats will rue the day that they sent Joe Lieberman packing. First of all, the Democratic Party has a little image problem; despite their hysterical screaming that they are a moderate party (not like those Republicans, who are supposedly far right-wingers), many people believe that they are a little far off in left field. I share that opinion. Consequently, they spend most election years striving to put a moderate face on the party, nominating undercover-liberal John Kerry for president, rather than proudly "progressive" Howard Dean. When the Democratic Party is playing its card right, it tries to keep the loony-left members of the party behind the curtain, and only allows more moderate members to represent the party publicly.

But every time the Democrats forsake the middle path for the left one, they get burned. They lost in a landslide when they nominated doveish presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972. President Carter was slightly less liberal, but he barely won his squeeker of a victory because his opponent was tainted by Watergate. Four years later, Carter went to the chopping block. Solid liberal Walter Mondale went down in flames in 1984, and Michael "the Massachusetts Liberal" Dukakis was humiliated in 1988. Clearly, the Democratic Party needs to be projecting a more moderate image. When they show their true colors, they tend to lose elections.

That's why the victory of Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman presents such a problem for the Democratic Party. More moderate Democrats are beginning to ask themselves if they are welcome in the party anymore. After all, this party considers Joe Lieberman--a man with a voting record that could be considered solidly liberal on all fronts except one--too conservative! A party like that cannot keep up the charade much longer. The facade is gone--the Democrat Party is a left-wing, cut-and-run, weak-on-national-defense party.

Senator Lieberman has vowed to continue his fight to keep his seat, even after losing his party's nomination. He has formed his own party--Connecticut for Lieberman. Leading Democrats have thrown their support to Lamont, and many have suggested that Lieberman should drop out of the race for the good of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is obviously scared, and they have reason to be. This third-party candidate holds a commanding twelve-point lead in the polls. If the election were held today, the Senator would clean the challenger's clock, and prove just how far to the left the Democratic Party has gone. That could be extremely embarrassing to Democrats, and they would lose what used to be considered a solidly-blue seat in the Senate.

But the party big-wigs don't understand that, or at least pretend not to. As Senator John Kerry said, "And the fact is, Joe Lieberman is out of step with the people of Connecticut." Wherever did the Senator come up with that pearl of wisdom? Lieberman is now leading the polls by double digits, and Kerry says that he is "out of step with the people of Connecticut"? What he really meant to say was that Lieberman is just barely out of step with the Democrats of Connecticut. In fact, he's really only out of step with Democrats who voted in the primary, who are usually the most dedicated and ideological of all party members. Sorry, but Joe Lieberman is in step with the people of Connecticut; it's the Democratic Party that isn't.

With the election a scant few months away, the Connecticut senate race is one to watch. The overly zealous Democratic Party has clearly zagged to the left, when it should probably have taken a more centrist path. That center lane led toward the incumbent senator, but the Democratic Party refused to take it, opting for Lamont instead. Time will tell if the left-wing path will lead Lamont and his party straight off the edge of a cliff. I suspect so, and gleefully expect the Democratic Party to suffer for the foolishness of its decision.
 
Saturday, August 19, 2006
  Illegal immigrant highlights need for constitutional change
Elvira Arellano is in the United States illegally, and she isn’t planning on going anywhere. On Tuesday, August 15, she was expected to show up for deportation hearings, but instead took refuge in Chicago’s Adalberto United Methodist Church.

Elvira fancies herself some type of civil rights activist, although she is nothing of the sort. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It seems that everyone these days hides behind titles such as “civil rights worker”, “public interest group”, or “social activist”. In order to further her status as a martyr, Ms. Arellano has begun to compare herself to Rosa Parks of all people. "I'm strong, I've learned from Rosa Parks; I'm not going to go to the back of the bus. The law is wrong,” said Arellano.

I still don’t understand her problem with the law. She broke into our country, used a false social security number to get a job (did Rosa Parks commit social security fraud?), was deported once in 1997, and returned within mere days. She then used the oldest trick in the book to ensure that she would be able to live in the United States indefinitely without any fear of the law: she gave birth to an “anchor baby”.

The term “anchor baby” is a politically incorrect term, but not for the reasons you might think. It is not politically incorrect because it is “dehumanizing”, as you might be told. It is politically incorrect because it is entirely descriptive, and the pro-illegal alien side of the debate can’t win an argument unless they can make everyone else adopt their euphemistic vocabulary.

An anchor baby is a child born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents. By virtue of the fact that the child was born within our borders, the child is an American citizen, and has a right to stay. Because a child needs parents, his or her parents may then also stay, although they are technically still illegal aliens.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a quick way to keep our pathetic immigration officials off of your back. All you have to do is get pregnant and the big bad US government will leave you alone.

According to Chicago’s CBS affiliate, Ms. Arellano said through tears, “I am a single mom. My son, he is a citizen. I am not a terrorist. I am not a criminal. I am a mom. He is my son.”

Well, most of that statement is indeed correct. She is a single mother, because she chose to get pregnant as an insurance policy against deportation. Although I am sure that she cares about her child, young Saul was brought into this world for his mother’s own selfish reasons. Yes, her son is a citizen. And I doubt that she is a terrorist, although improving border security is one desperately needed anti-terror measure that the current administration has failed to accomplish.

The mendacity of her statement lies in the words “I am not a criminal.” Indeed, she is a criminal. She broke the law when she entered our country illegally. She broke the law a second time when she was deported and returned again. She broke the law a third time when she committed social security fraud, and she broke the law a fourth time when she refused to show up for her deportation hearing. So I don’t want to hear Ms. Arellano’s whining any more. She is not a martyr, she is an illegal alien.

Ms. Arellano claims that her anchor baby, a seven-year old boy named Saul, is the reason why she has taken refuge in her church. She doesn’t believe that immigration officials should break apart families. In interview after interview, she stresses the fact that deportation would split her away from her son.

This is in fact, not true. She could return to her native Mexico with her son, and the two could live there happily ever after. According to Mexican law, children born abroad to Mexican nationals are automatically recognized as Mexican citizens. So, while it may be accurate for Arellano to claim that Saul is an American citizen, it is also as accurate to say that he is a Mexican citizen.

In other words, there is no conflict between deportation and family cohesion. The issue of keeping the mother with her child is, in fact, a smokescreen. This woman does not want to stay with her son; she wants to stay in the United States. It was for that specific purpose that she had her son in the first place, and she can’t believe that Saul is no longer serving that purpose. The only person tearing Ms. Arellano’s family apart is Ms. Arellano.

"I want to stay here for my son. I want to give him a better future, a better life," she said in Spanish, speaking through a translator. At the risk of sounding cold-hearted, I would suggest that this woman should have done a lot of things differently if she really wanted to give her son a better life. For starters, she could have had a husband before she got pregnant. She could have conceived her child for other reasons than her own selfish desire to break our laws with impunity. She could teach her child English, something I doubt that she has done, since it appears that she does not speak English herself, even after leaving in the United States for the last nine years. She could have gone through the immigration system legally and avoided these problems in the first place.

Sorry, but seven-year old Saul’s problems are not the fault of the US government, or the “racist”, “xenophobic” American people. His problems are the fault of his selfish, self-righteous, irresponsible mother.

Elvira Arellano’s arrogance seems to know no bounds. Besides comparing herself to Rosa Parks, she also claims that her presence in the United States is actually—believe it or not—an act of God! “This is a place where God has put me, this is God's will and I'm going to stay here,” she told reporters. Actually, Ms. Arellano put herself here; not once but twice. God had nothing to do with it. It’s almost like a burglar breaking into a house (in the same fashion that Arellano broke into our country) and claimed that God had “out him there.”

If we want to ensure that such a situation doesn’t happen again in the future, we need to make a small change to the US Constitution. It isn’t hard—simply alter the fourteenth ammendment. The problem lies in the first words of the ammendment, which read: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

This clause was supposed to ensure that slaves would be automatically conferred American citizenship after their release from bondage, without any funny business on the part of the states. It was never intended to be used as a legal loophole to allow illegal aliens to stay in the United States.

By changing the amendment, the motivation to conceive anchor-babies would evaporate overnight, and we would see a rapid decline in families torn between two nations. The situation that Arellano claims to abhor—a situation that she consciously brought upon herself—would simply cease to exist. There would no longer be “mixed status families”, and entire families could be deported, in accordance with the law, as a unit.

Actually, that could still happen today, as far as I am concerned. Little Saul may have a right to stay here, but his mother does not. He should return to Mexico—a country of which he is also a citizen—and reside there with his mother.

That’s what a good mother would do. I guess that’s asking too much of Elvira Arellano.

This small change to the fourteenth amendment is nothing radical. Plenty of nations have higher citizenship requirements than simply being born within the borders of a certain country. Germany, for example, requires that at least one parent of a child be a German citizen before that child is recognized as a citizen. If both parents are foreign nationals, then the newborn child is also a foreign national, whether he is born in Frankfurt or Istanbul. If we adopted the German system, we would solve a lot of our problems.

In the meantime, Elvira Arellano continues to pull her immature stunt out in Chicago. I hope someone in our government has the brass to do what’s right, but I sincerely doubt it.
 
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
  Moral blindness at The New York Times, CNN, et al
The picture in The New York Times showed a lean Arab man, kneeling at a window, aiming his sniper rifle out at the landscape below. The caption reads "A sniper loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr fires towards U.S. positions in the cemetary in Najaf, Iraq. Michelle McNally: 'Right there embedded with the Mahdi army. Incredible courage.'"

In other words, a New York Times photographer was sitting idly by while a terrorist took a shot at American soldiers.

In fact, the photographer, Joao Silva, did much more than just do nothing while an enemy of our country presumably put a bullet between someone's eyes; there was also the existence of premeditation. Mr. Silva was not simply in the right place at the right time--how does one end up in the same room with a Mahdi sniper?--but was tipped off beforehand that such an event was going to occur. What exactly happened, I don't know, but I suspect that the terrorist approached the photographer on the street, told him of his plan, and asked if Mr. Silva wanted to come along to get a really great picture. The photographer, lacking the moral sense of a two year old, readily agreed.

I would argue that Mr. Silva is guilty of treason under article Article 3 of the US Constitution: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort". This is a clear case of providing "aid and comfort" to the enemy by way of his negligence. I would also argue that his actions make him an accesory to murder.

As a veteran of the Iraq War, myself, I must express my outrage at The Times and its idiot photographer, Joao Silva. If it had been my head in the crosshairs of that rifle, or the head of one of my battle-buddies, I would hope that Silva would be prosecuted. He has not been prosecuted. On the contrary, he is now selling a compilation of his photographs of Iraqis shooting at (presumably) Americans. His book, In the Company of God, can be seen here:

http://picturenet.co.za/jsilva/web2.swf

Is Mr. Silva always in the right place at the right time? Of course not. He is friendly with local terrorist organizations, and local terrorist organizations are friendly with him, frequently asking him to come along on their murderous missions. Clearly the terrorists in Iraq know which side The New York Times is on.

The very fact that this sniper thought to invite a photographer along with him on his escapades in Najaf is indicative of the tactics being used by the enemy in Iraq. Their tactic is quite simple--fill American news programs and newspapers with as much American blood as possible, and the American people will lose heart and go home. Thanks to the eager cooperation of such news outfits of The New York Times, this modus operandi has worked brilliantly thus far. Reporters consistently pretend to be oblivious to this fact, maintaining that they are simply observing events, not affecting them. Bull. The enemy is using our media for its own purposes with the full knowledge of editors and reporters.

This tactic is spelled out in a memo found in the headquarters of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the recently killed head of the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. According the memo (which was likely penned by al-Zarqawi himself) , the terrorist organization plans "To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance. " (emphasis added). Another al-Qaeda goal is "to create division and strife between American and other countries and among the elements disagreeing with it." Clearly, the Iraqi insurgency is fighting--and winning--a PR war. In other words, it isn't good enough to simply kill Americans; you have to get your picture on the front page of The Times while you're doing it.

For the full text of the fascinating al-Zarqawi memo, click here:

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/15/D8I8LJBG0.html

The idea that journalists have no greater duty than simply "get the scoop" is appalling. If The New York Times had had advance knowledge of the Septmeber 11th attacks, I hope they would have taken measures to stop the perpetrators, instead of just just making sure that they were in the best position to cover the attacks. While this comparison may seem extreme, it is not. If a member of the media possesses the moral blindness to stand by and watch one person get killed, why not three thousand?

Or how about another hypothetical situation--if Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had called a New York Times photographer (say, Joao Silva, for example) and told him that they were planning to shoot up Columbine High School, would Silva have had a moral duty to alert the police? Or would Silva have run through the halls of Columbine on the heels of the rampaging students, snapping pictures, and dreaming of Pulitzers? I hope he would have alerted the police, but with such a morally neutral stance, it's possible to justify just about anything.

Actually, the press has a long history of moral blindness. In the 1980's, during a PBS "Ethics in America" debate, reporters were given a hypothetical situation--they are travelling with a ficticious army at war with the United States, and they come upon American troops. Did they have a higher duty to warn the Americans? CBS's Mike Wallace replied in the negative. "No you don't have a higher duty. You're a reporter." ABC's Peter Jennings initially answered that he would warn the Americans, but then changed his mind and agreed with Wallace. "I think he's right too," said Jennings. "I chickened out."

The late Peter Jennings, incidentally, was Canadian, not American. So while I wouldn't expect him to act out of a genuine concern for his countrymen (his countrymen were not at issue in the question), I would expect him to act with some sense of decency, which I guess is too much to ask of a reporter. Another interesting quote from Jennings about his feelings on his neighbor to the south: "My mother…was pretty anti-American. And so I was, in some respects, raised with anti-Americanism in my blood, or in my mother's milk at least," said Jennings on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman.

Not to speak ill of the dead, but Peter Jennings was a slimeball.

Then there's reporter Peter Arnett who, at the time of the 1991 Gulf War, was a correspondent with CNN. In August 1991, just months after the end of the war, Arnett proclaimed on "Crossfire" that he would not have passed on information that would have saved American lives. "I would not have gotten that information in the first place, but I would not have transmitted it. I was in Baghdad because I was a correspondent for CNN, which has no political affiliation with the US government, thank goodness."

While Arnett brags about the independence of his then-employer, other sources say that CNN is quite willing to be the flunky of another government, namely the government of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. By "other sources", I mean Eason Jordan, CNN's former chief news executive. In his April 11, 2003 New York Times op-ed, Jordan admits to making thirteen trips to Baghdad to convince the Iraqi government to to allow the continued existence of CNN's Baghdad bureau. Jordan admits that stories of attrocities were covered up, so as not to anger the Iraqi government. "Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff." (emphasis added).

This is interesting. He's actually showing what appears to be a shred of journalistic ethics--admitting that getting the story is not worth getting people killed, which likely would have happened if CNN had reported the truth. But was this his true motivation, or was he just trying to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open? I'll give Mr. Jordan the benefit of the doubt and say that he was genuinely concerned for the lives of his employees. Ironically, at least one of those employees (Peter Arnett) doesn't show the slightest concern for the lives of American troops, because CNN "has no political affiliation with the US government, thank goodness."

But why not just shut the Baghdad bureau down? What purpose did it serve if the reports it gave were Saddam-approved mendacity? If that's the types of "news" I wanted, I would tune into Baghdad Bob. Incidently, CNN's reporting from Iraq probably didn't differ very much from Baghdad Bob's.

In their zeal to get the story, American reporters have lost sight of a thing we used to call journalistic ethics. While some reporters pride themselves on their strict impartiality (a farce, if ever there was one), they are in fact engaging in a type of moral blindness that borders on criminal. Scratch that, it boldly crosses the line into the sphere of criminality. While eagerly falling prey to the attempts of Iraqi terrorists to bring the carnage of Iraq into American living rooms, they proudly wear their independence from the US government like some kind of badge of honor. Shame on the American media establishment.

 

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