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February 17, 2003 8:22 AM   Subscribe

CNN transcript is smackin' good. On Friday the 14th of February CNN.com presented a transcript of Hans Blix's presentation to the U.N. Security Council concerning the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq. Comparison with other transcripts, notably that presented by the BBC , reveals that a substantial section of the presentation was omitted in the CNN version. The missing text includes descriptions of important instances of Iraqi government cooperation and presents a relatively favourable picture of inspectors' access to scientists. (via k5)
posted by the fire you left me (55 comments total)

 
Media manipulation of public opinion. What else is new?

Omitting or modifying the truth to entice the populace to support a war has been going on since...heck, since the very first war, I guess.

What makes you think it wold be different now?
posted by spazzm at 8:48 AM on February 17, 2003


Wow, CNN and BBC transcripts! That must have been pretty hard to find, considering there's no saturation whatsoever about the Iraq conflict! But hey, since there are practically no fpps about the crisis, post away! Give us more thinly veiled anti-war stuff! Ramble on!
posted by 111 at 8:49 AM on February 17, 2003


But hey, since there are practically no fpps about the crisis, post away!

good post "fire".


the only one i checked this morning.... well, this and the louis sullivan post from last night.. that ones nice as well.
posted by specialk420 at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2003


Hey, 111, good job missing the point of the thread entirely to remind us in yet another thread about Iraq that you don't want to post in a thread about Iraq.

This issue is concerning because CNN, unlike when noting a quote in a story or something to that natue, doesn't seem to actually indicate tat this is a section of the transcript. The nature of a transcript is to imply that it's the verbatim of what someone actually said... whether it was about Iraq or someone's comments on the Affleck/J-Lo marriage, the fact that CNN simply chose to omit significant and relevant passages of transcribed testimony without any explanation merits a need for one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2003


Spazzm, I copied both transcripts to word documents and ran a quick "compare documents" to see what was different. While there were substantial differences, all seemed fairly inconsequential (spelling differences, capitalization differences, etc.). What do you consider the important missing text?

And, as an aside, if differences do exist, it's possible that the extra text was inserted into the BBC version rather than excluded from the CNN version. We'd need a 3rd source to know.
posted by Mbarron2896 at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2003


Whoops, sorry, should have addressed my previous message to The Fire You Left Me.
posted by Mbarron2896 at 9:09 AM on February 17, 2003


And Rummy has the gall to compare Germany to a 3rd World country. Look in you own backyard for signs of that, pal. Start in Atlanta. ... Actually, start in Florida.

Mbarron2896 Inconsequential as in cutting out references to Iraq's cooperation, perhaps? Yeah, that'd be inconsequential for some.

More transcripts that prove the CNN has "edited" theirs and not some top-class news outfit like the BBC has "added anything".

http://wjz.com/topstories/topstories_story_045141449.html

http://cbsnewyork.com/content/topstories_story_045141449.html
posted by magullo at 9:17 AM on February 17, 2003


The U.N. official transcript - anybody want to guess which one it matches?

http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/blix14Febasdel.htm
posted by magullo at 9:19 AM on February 17, 2003


Congratulations, 111, on derailing the thread on the second comment!

I hate Iraq posts, couldn't care less about whether the US attacks or not, but I thought this was a good one — it's not the Iraq angle that's interesting, it's the blatent manipulation of the news.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:21 AM on February 17, 2003


heheheh nice title btw. I think a more apt comparison is to Hearst's Journal : "You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war."
posted by condour75 at 9:31 AM on February 17, 2003


Congratulations, 111, on derailing the thread on the second comment!

IshmaelGraves, I'd rather derail one thread than derail the entire site, as the biased Iraq posts have been doing. Never mind the fact that not one single major quote was offered as evidence that CNN is "manipulating" the news any more than other sources.
These anti-war zealots currently squatted in MetaFilter should at least paypal Matt some $, since most of their threads are nothing but ill-disguised propaganda. Campaign! March! Read this text/speech/transcript exactly as I say!
For the record: I completely despise all the parasitical attempts to turn MeFi into the soapbox of a fanatical, vocal minority whose own blogs get about zero visits a day.
posted by 111 at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2003


Uh... just like mbarron, I ran a diff on the two transcripts the fire you left me linked to, and can't find any discrepancy other than minor typographic differences.

Can anyone quote specific text that was left out of the CNN version? Perhaps they updated their page with a more complete version within the last hour, but at the moment this looks like a non-issue.

I'm as against the war as anyone, but let's focus our attention on things that actually exist, eh?
posted by ook at 9:38 AM on February 17, 2003


Many MeFi'ers seem to have an essentially religious aspect to their beliefs about Iraq and the war. Zealous religious belief is characterized by two related aspects, among others: (A) all facts, even those that seem irrelevant or contradictory, confirm the belief and (B) no fact can exist which disproves the belief.

In this, they are essentially like the creationists.

In this case, the fact there might be differences in the transcripts is explainable ONLY by a massive conspiracy to push the world towards war. Sloppiness, editorial choice, or a million other reasons for difference simply do not, and cannot, exist. Everything that happens is part of the plan, whether of divine origin (anything said by an antiwar voice) or diabolic (anything else).

You're just as likely to 'win' an argument with a bible thumper as you are to have a useful discussion here that any discrepencies are not part of the media conspiracy.

Sadly, the really apt quote here would be "You furnish the beliefs, I'll furnish the fact."
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:39 AM on February 17, 2003


I was running the BBC and CNN articles through a compare documents thing, the only significant change (other than centre/center, etc.) I could find was this paragraph:

BBC:
In a letter just received two days ago, we were informed that this process was progressing well and this morning we had a message that legislation has now been adopted by the Iraqi National Assembly in an extraordinary session.

This is a positive step.


CNN:
This morning we had a message that a presidential decree has now been issued, containing prohibitions with regard to importation and production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We have not yet had time to study the details of the text of the decree.

UN:
This morning we had a message that a Presidential decree has now been issued containing prohibitions with regard to importation and production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We have not yet had time to study the details of the text of the decree.

Am I missing something? Are you giving the right links?
posted by bobo123 at 9:46 AM on February 17, 2003


OK, Magullo, I've now run comparisons between CNN, the BBC, CBS, and the offical U.N transcript. I still don't seen the changes that would warrant accusations that CNN is intentionally misleading the public. If they're there, show us. What exactly did CNN not say that others did?
posted by Mbarron2896 at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2003


Omitting or modifying the truth to entice the populace to support a war has been going on since...heck, since the very first war, I guess.

so what? It's still wrong and should be called every time it happens. Doesn't it worry you that we're all being deceived (yes, on both sides - everybody has an agenda)? Disinformation is repugnant but ubiquitous, and it makes flames come out of eyes to think that many Westerners think they're getting The Truth when poor old dumbass Johnny Foreigner is being fed dogmatic bullshit by his state controlled media.
Where does knowing about disinformation get us? I can't believe CNN, I can't believe Al Jazeera, I can't believe Indymedia, I don't know who the fuck to believe and that makes me unhappy.

I'd like to declare a war on CNN.
posted by nylon at 9:51 AM on February 17, 2003


In this case, the fact there might be differences in the transcripts is explainable ONLY by a massive conspiracy to push the world towards war

Not sure if that's intended to be in your voice, or the voice of the people with the religious beliefs, but I'm not sure that it's true.

For instance, was this speech provided in English, or are we looking at a translation. Various translations could easily account for differences without needing to resort to conspiracy.

I'll join with a lot of other voices in calling for the specific excluded text as at this point it sounds like a lot of nothing. If there was text excluded though, then I would say that 111 is very wrong about whether this deserves consideration. I haven't participated or even clicked into a war thread in a very long time, but I clicked into this one because if true it's important in a way that transcends the war or peace movements.
posted by willnot at 9:52 AM on February 17, 2003


Sadly, the level of political discourse is so degraded that those with opinions contrary to orthodoxy are worthy only of being run off or compared to religious zealots.
posted by Cerebus at 9:57 AM on February 17, 2003


This isn't the first time. This Asia Times article caught CNN ommiting Pakistan's mention from the recent bin Laden tape. They also removed Yemen, and the differences in the translation are striking. Compare:

CNN: "We also want to clarify that whoever helps America ... either if they fight next to them or give them support in any form or shape, even by words, if they help them to kill the Muslims in Iraq, they have to know that they are outside this Islamic nation. Jordan and Morocco and Nigeria and Saudi Arabia should be careful that this war, this crusade, is attacking the people of Islam first. It doesn't matter whether the socialist (Baath) party or Saddam disappear. ..."

BBC: "We also stress to honest Muslims that they should move, incite, and mobilize the [Islamic] nation, amid such grave events and hot atmosphere so as to liberate themselves from those unjust and renegade ruling regimes, which are enslaved by the United States. They should also do so to establish the rule of God on earth. The most qualified regions for liberation are Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the land of the two holy mosques [Saudi Arabia], and Yemen. Needless to say, this crusade war is primarily targeted against the people of Islam. Regardless of the removal or the survival of the socialist party or Saddam, Muslims in general and the Iraqis in particular must brace themselves for jihad against this unjust campaign and acquire ammunition and weapons."

Washington Post: "We also stress that Muslims have to move and incite and organize the nation into armies to face these great events and harsh conditions, and to liberate themselves from the slavery of these unjust and infidel regimes enslaved by the U.S. From among the most ready for liberation are Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It's also not hidden that this crusader war targets first and foremost Islam, irrespective of whether the Ba'ath Party and Saddam were deposed or not."

The BBC and WaPo are much closer to each other than either is to CNN.
posted by homunculus at 10:00 AM on February 17, 2003


The article has been CHANGED (duh!), but thanks to google, we have a cache

http://216.239.33.100/search?q=cache:5YgsGRNEqCgJ:europe.cnn.com/2003/US/02/14/sprj.irq.un.transcript.elba/+blix+transcript+cnn&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Run compare again - much more interesting this time around.

These anti-war zealots currently squatted in MetaFilter

Anti-war dissent exists everywhere, not just here.
posted by magullo at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2003


MeFi post is smackin' good. On Monday the 17th of February the fire you left me presented a transcript of llamasex's presentation to the Internet Community concerning transcripts of the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq reported by different media groups. Comparison with the original post, i.e. that presented by kuro5hin.org, reveals that they are exactly the same. There is no missing text. (via MeFi)
posted by nylon at 10:06 AM on February 17, 2003


Oh my god -- two identical sentences in kuro5hin and metafilter!!!!

Well, that's the final lynchpin in the administration's rock-solid case. We'd better start bombing.
posted by condour75 at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2003


hrm... Anyone seen the fox news version? Or are they not running it due to 'anti-americanism'?
posted by delmoi at 10:41 AM on February 17, 2003


Magullo, the cache link you cited is a different report entirely (you got Mohamed ElBaradei's report, not Blix's.) Here is a link to the correct google cache.

For the lazy, or in case the cache gets overwritten, here is the text omitted from the original version. The two transcripts are otherwise identical:
I trust that the Iraqi side will put together a similar list of names of persons who participated in the unilateral destruction of other proscribed items, notably in the biological field.

The Iraqi side also informed us that the commission, which had been appointed in the wake of our finding 12 empty chemical weapons warheads, had its mandate expanded to look for any still existing proscribed items. This was welcomed.

A second commission, we learned, has now been appointed with the task of searching all over Iraq for more documents relevant to the elimination of proscribed items and programs. It is headed by the former minister of oil, General Amir Rasheed, and is to have very extensive powers of search in industry, administration and even private houses.

The two commissions could be useful tools to come up with proscribed items to be destroyed and with new documentary evidence. They evidently need to work fast and effectively to convince us and the world that it is a serious effort.

The matter of private interviews was discussed at length during our meeting in Baghdad. The Iraqi side confirmed the commitment which they had made to us on the 20th of January to encourage persons asked to accept such interviews whether in or out of Iraq. So far, we have only had interviews in Baghdad.

A number of persons have declined to be interviewed unless they were allowed to have an official present or were allowed to tape the interview. Three persons that had previously refused interviews on UNMOVIC terms subsequently accepted such interviews just prior to our talks in Baghdad on the 8th and 9th of February. These interviewed proved informative.

No further interviews have since been accepted on our terms. I hope this will change. We feel that interviews conducted with any third party present and without tape recording would provide the greatest credibility.

At the recent meeting in Baghdad, as on several earlier occasions, my colleague, Dr. ElBaradei, and I had urged the Iraqi side to enact legislation implementing the U.N. prohibitions regarding weapons of mass destruction. This morning we had a message that a presidential decree has now been issued, containing prohibitions with regard to importation and production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We have not yet had time to study the details of the text of the decree.

Mr. President, I should like to make some comments on the role of intelligence in connection with inspections in Iraq.

A credible inspection regime requires that Iraq provide full cooperation on process, (inaudible) granting immediate access everywhere to inspectors, and on substance, providing full declarations supported by relevant information and material and evidence.

However, with the closed society in Iraq of today and the history of inspections there, other sources of information, such as defectors and government intelligence agencies, are required to aid the inspection process.

I remember myself how in 1991, several inspections in Iraq, which were based on information received from a government, helped to disclose important parts of the nuclear weapon program. It was realized that an international organization authorized to perform inspections anywhere on the ground could make good use of the information obtained from governments with eyes in the sky, ears in the ether, access to defectors, and both eyes and ears on the market for weapons-related material.

It was understood that the information residing in the intelligence services government could come to very active use in the international effort to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This remains true, and we have by now a good deal of experience in the matter.

International organizations need to analyze such information critically and especially benefit when it comes from more than one source. The intelligence agencies, for their part, must protect their sources and methods. Those who provide such information must know that it will be kept in strict confidence and be known to very few people.

UNMOVIC has achieved good working relations with intelligence agencies, and the amount of information provided has been gradually increasing. However, we must recognize that there are limitations and that misinterpretations can occur.

Intelligence information has been useful for UNMOVIC. In one case, it led us to a private home where documents mainly relating to laser enrichment of uranium were found. In other cases, intelligence has led to sites where no proscribed items were found. Even in such cases, however, inspection of these sites were useful in proving the absence of such items and, in some cases, the presence of other items, conventional munitions. It showed that conventional arms are being moved around the country and that movements are not necessarily related to weapons of mass destruction.

The presentation of intelligence information by the U.S. secretary of state suggested that Iraq had prepared for inspections by cleaning up sites and removing evidence of proscribed weapons programs.

I would like to comment only on one case which we are familiar with, namely the trucks identified by analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect.

We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart.
The only indication that the page was updated is that the dateline is different (Friday 2013 GMT vs Monday 0747 GMT).
posted by ook at 10:43 AM on February 17, 2003


So in other words, CNN corrected themselves ?

Nothing to see here, move along....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:35 AM on February 17, 2003


Yes, CNN corrected themselves. Corrected themselves out of editorially omitting sections of UN testimony, AFTER being caught in the act. Corrected themselves without noting the correction. Nothing to see indeed.
posted by condour75 at 11:43 AM on February 17, 2003


I noticed in the UN link that bobo123 provided that, the title still has the word "Draft" in it. Could it be that CNN posted the draft transcript and have now corrected it to the version that was actually said?
posted by PenDevil at 11:55 AM on February 17, 2003


Gee - the skeptics on this thread haven't heard of the Google cache system? Of maybe they just don't believe that CNN would do such a thing.

PenDevil: CNN's page claims that is the actual transcript:

"(CNN) -- Following is a transcript of chief weapons inspector Hans Blix's February 14 presentation to the U.N. Security Council on the progress of the inspection effort in Iraq......."


Thanks, Magullo - I got to this thread late, and was so annoyed by the denials ('de Nile....isn't that a river in Egypt?), that I repeated your work before I read down the thread. But here it is one one place:

CNN's current transcript

The Google cache of CNN's original transcript

The Official UN Blix transcript

Media Watch - the outfit which (I believe) broke this CNN Censorship story
posted by troutfishing at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2003


I wonder how long before the Google cache of CNN's original censored Blix transcript page is updated to reflect the new, corrected (uncensored) page?

Time for a John Swinton quote! By the way, there's a bogus Swinton attribution everywhere on the net. He was a NYT editor, yes, but in the 19th century. He was long dead by 1953. Anyway........ " [John Swinton, Prominent New York journalist, at a banquet guven in his honor, 1880] The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

All hail our new CNN running dog overlords!
posted by troutfishing at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2003


It does look pretty bad for CNN... difficult to imagine they just accidentally lost a chunk out of the middle of the transcript, or that it was somehow missing from a draft copy. Not impossible, I suppose, but pretty suspicious.

As an aside, it's interesting to watch how the Internet has changed how we relate to the media. On the one hand, it allows CNN to silently correct its "mistake," and act as though it never happened, in a way that wouldn't be possible in any other medium... On the other hand, the wide availability of alternative sources means these things get caught pretty quickly, at least among the (vanishingly small, all things considered) minority of people tuned in to this sort of information. And that minority is having a real effect -- in this case only enough to force a silent "correction," but in others it even reaches the mainstream. (Remember that plaigarized UK report on Iraq?)

And I'm fascinated by the way google's cache has turned into an unofficial but widely trusted historical record (albeit one with only short-term memory).

Do you think that this will ultimately make the media more trustworthy? As in, they know they'll get caught if they try this sort of thing, so they'll stop trying?

[on preview] Trout, given that CNN corrected its page some nine hours before this thread appeared on MeFi, maybe you can cut the skeptics a little slack, eh?
posted by ook at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2003


Nothing to see here, move along....

Honestly Steve do you think you'd have this same opinion if the omitted sections were the parts about Iraq's reluctance to cooperate? Think hard...

Personally if that were true I guarantee we'd have the neo-conservative Fox News cabal up in arms over "liberal media bias".
posted by aaronscool at 12:33 PM on February 17, 2003


Can anyone find a Google cache for the UN's transcript as of Friday? CNN, and most other major US news outlets, usually don't do their own transcriptions of speeches. Rather, they either used transcriptions provided by the sponsoring source (in this case, the UN) or from wire services such as AP and Reuters. The BBC, on the other hand, has a long history of doing their own transcriptions. Anyone have any evidence that this is anything other than a typical example of journalistic cheapness/laziness from a profit-driven news organization? Isn't that explanation a lot more simple (and thus more likely) than some sort of trilateral commission conspiracy theory?
posted by dchase at 12:34 PM on February 17, 2003


ook - I read the "CNN Censorship" story about 36 hours ago on Buzzflash.com : Metafilter didn't premiere this - it's made the rounds on the net. I 'm not equipped to answer your other (worthy) questions, but I think that this story is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's another, similar one MSNBC - US media ignores Anti-War protests from Jan 16th - I think the media has - grudgingly - picked up it's coverage. But a lot of the coverage is still slanted. - Here's an NPR reporter's question to an Anti-War protester I heard today on the radio: "Exactly how naive are the protestors? Do they think these protests will actually prevent a war?" (and do you beat your wife?........)

And a little more CNN censorship "CNN Deletes Story on Protest Outside CNN Headquarters"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Public Service Re-post
----------------------------------------------------------------------------CNN's current transcript
The Google cache of CNN's original transcript
The Official UN Blix transcript
Media Watch - the outfit which (I believe) broke this CNN Censorship story
posted by troutfishing at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2003


Shh, dchase, shh - don't you understand? - everything confirms the conspiracy theories - even facts that appear to refute them ... especially facts that apear to refute them ...

Haven't you been reading the thread? - some guy in 1880 said that newsapers tell the rich man's lies. How much more proof do you need than that?
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:52 PM on February 17, 2003


dchase: The UN transcript cache (labeled "draft 3", crawled Feb 15) does include the text omitted by CNN, and appears to be identical to the current version (also labeled "draft 3"). The CNN cache also dates from Feb 15.

Caches of draft 1 or 2 seem not to exist, but given that the crawl dates are the same for both CNN and UN, I'd tend to discount that theory. Jos Bleau's sarcasm notwithstanding. (Thpbpbpbth.)

Troutfishing: yes, I gotcha, and agree this is Not Good. But I do wish the fire you left me had checked his links before he posted, so that those of us who didn't see this three days ago on another site wouldn't have been left comparing identical pages and thinking "what the hell is he talking about?"
posted by ook at 12:56 PM on February 17, 2003


(That rasberry was for Jos, not for dchase, by the way. Just to be clear. dchase raised a perfectly valid point. Jos just wanted to be snarky. Thpbpbpbpbth I say again unto you.)
posted by ook at 12:58 PM on February 17, 2003


On second thought, i take that back, dchase. (Not the raspberry, though.) A cache from Saturday's UN page doesn't necessarily prove anything about a CNN story posted Friday: they might've based their story on an earlier incomplete UN draft and not corrected it until Monday. It still doesn't seem all that likely, given the charged nature of the omitted text, its placement within the rest of the transcript (a chunk missing from the end I could believe; a chunk from the middle not so much), and the other examples of similar behavior cited elsewhere in this thread. But it's still possible; my UN cache link doesn't support or refute either side of the argument.
posted by ook at 1:13 PM on February 17, 2003


Sorry, ook, I wasn't being snarky.

I was referring back to my original post, which pretty much predicts most of the subsequent ones that are about the unnecessary 'conspiracy theory' that dchase points out.

Normally, you only get this kind of static from folks who think that dinosaur bones are planted by Satan to trick people into Darwinism ....

Of course, the the fact that any transcript (even the UN's) is pretty much a moot point to the debate both in the UN and here since (A) the report was carried live on radio and TV all over the world as it happened so it's real effect was there and then, not later and (B) the UNSC's response is what is news, not the transcript itself is (C) totally irrellevant.

Because once again, the facts serve only to reinforce previously held belief, and no fact can ever shake it. So it's impossible that this could be about anything other than the rich man's conspiracy ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:19 PM on February 17, 2003


Honestly Steve do you think you'd have this same opinion if the omitted sections were the parts about Iraq's reluctance to cooperate?

If it was corrected, yes. If this had not being updated, then there would be a story.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:21 PM on February 17, 2003


I think the real story here is that CNN somehow misplaced a large chunk of the transcript, then corrected it without noting a correction. I'm not going to offer up editorial conspiracy theories based solely on that, but it is a problem.

I read the transcript on the day it was posted because I wanted to know precisely what was said, not the summaries which are far too easy to spin. However, it seems that I was given a partial transcript and told it was a full transcript, which clearly presents a problem because I was working off of faulty data.

I have a hard time imagining how a problem like that can happen, and I hope CNN takes steps to investigate what happened, and stops it from happening again. I also hope that future corrections of this magnitude are accompanied with a notice that the page has been corrected.
posted by mosch at 1:29 PM on February 17, 2003


mosch and steve - when something of this nature is left out of online copy and then corrected later (especially when an appearance of bias could be inferred from the original omission) it is not just an option or a courtesy, it is essential, journalistically, to clearly note the fact that it was corrected. If the correction is not noted, it's not "correcting" - it's "sneaking."
posted by soyjoy at 1:56 PM on February 17, 2003


Your government has this under control. Nothing to see here.
posted by entropy at 2:19 PM on February 17, 2003


Mosch & Soyjoy, you're right to call attention to the issue of un-flagged corrections. There's lots of resources out there about journo ethics - the trouble is finding ones that aren't grinding an axe - either right wing or left wing.

One place to see working journalists talk about about ethics in their field is at MediaNews's Ethics subsection, including this little report about the ethics of corrections here (see the sidebar 'More Accuracy Resources' epecially).

For Trout, entropy & a few others, sorry for the interuption, back to the conspiracy ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 2:40 PM on February 17, 2003


cnn 17.02.03 blix speach malreported iraq rectify
posted by adamt at 2:54 PM on February 17, 2003


Jos Bleau - you actually brought up the word 'conspiracy'. I didn't.....if conspiracies are on your mind, as it seems, you might want to read about officially acknowledged conspiracies such as the notorious "Operation Mockingbird":

"Activists curious about the workings of MOCKINGBIRD have since been appalled to find in FOIA documents that agents boasting in CIA office memos of their pride in having placed "important assets" inside every major news publication in the country. It was not until 1982 that the Agency openly admitted that reporters on the CIA payroll have acted as case officers to agents in the field.....In the 1950s, outlays for global propaganda climbed to a full third of the CIA's covert operations budget. Some 3, 000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts. The cost of disinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year by 1978, a budget larger than the combined expenditures of Reuters, UPI and the AP news syndicates."

You are right that the CNN text omission could have been purely unintentional. But, as others have noted, journalistic codes of ethics would strongly suggest that the orginal omission be noted. If you track up the thread you will find a link I posted of another such instance of potential CNN censorship - of first covering and then purging a story from it's website about a protest - at CNN headquarters - against CNN's Anti-War coverage. Ironic, no? Of course the CNN "censorship" could have been accidental. But this incident occured in the context of a larger pattern.
posted by troutfishing at 3:32 PM on February 17, 2003


journalistic codes of ethics would strongly suggest that the orginal omission be noted

Actually, the issue of noting changes to stories on the web is very much an open debate in journalistic circles and the ethics are far from well defined. What constitutes a major change to a piece (minor corrections are made all the time without formal notice)? Is notice necessary if the piece is corrected quickly after initial publication (e.g. a newspaper does not need to post a correction notice for changes made to a piece first printed in earlier editions)? While this is indeed a major change, it looks like this is a correction of content from a third party source that was made within 24 hours of original publication during a holiday weekend. Most people with print or broadcast journalism backgrounds would not consider that worthy of a correction notice. Of course, this is the web we're talking about, where 24 hours is a lifetime. But, lacking credible evidence to the contrary, it's vastly more plausible that this is an error of human journalists than organized censorship by "the man".
posted by dchase at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2003


The Times of India thinks that the Onion is closer to the truth than the mainstream American media these days. I have to agree.
posted by homunculus at 5:26 PM on February 17, 2003


Here's another possible CNN censorship story:

CNN spiked Connie Chung's widely-publicized "expose" on Yale University's Order of Skull & Bones, chapter 322, which counts among its membership President George W. Bush and his father and grandfather before him, and influential aide and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and Connie Chung ain't talking.

The program--billed at CNN's Web site to air 8:00pm ET, September 4, did not materialize; in its place was a story of a murder trial in Florida.

Contacted repeatedly at CNN studios, representatives of Ms. Chung and producers of Connie Chung Tonight were either "unavailable" or had "no comment."
posted by troutfishing at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2003


I often find it refreshing to watch german television (Deutsche Welle, aka DW) and compare it to american news.

Especially with regards to the war.

But, in my heart I have to snicker at those silly, silly germans that doesn't know that they are being fed lies by those who pretend to inform them. Why don't they just watch CNN or FOXNews for the truth?

Okay, I apologise for the snarkiness, but it relates to the point I'm trying to make:
We've been presented with two conflicting versions of the truth. Since both can't be true, one must be false, a lie.
What we should concentrate on is:
Why where we served a lie? Accident? Intentionally?
If it was an accident, why hasn't CNN acknowledged that?
If it was intentionally, who's intention was it? What was the responsible hoping to achieve?

I tend to favor the 'accident' explanation myself, for two reasons:
1. Incompetence is always much more likely than malice. (Especially in CNN).
2. They couldn't really expect to get away with an omission like this for long.
posted by spazzm at 7:54 PM on February 17, 2003


That should be: "2. They couldn't really expect to get away with an omission like this for long, unless they where really incompetent."
posted by spazzm at 7:57 PM on February 17, 2003


completely offtopic: I know a lot of the folks in here were following the Davos thread last week. Beagle recieved an email from Laurie confirming that it was, in fact, her writing, but never intended for public consumption. She also suggests that we all get a life. here's the thread, linked to the last anchor for your surfing convenience.
posted by condour75 at 8:17 PM on February 17, 2003


I feel somehow soiled, but I must say that I agree with the infamous 111 second posting to the extent that (1) CNN's transcript of the Blix presentation would not have been received so widely as to displace factual historical records; and, (2) really, shame on anyone who would consider a CNN-offered transcript as definitive for anything other than a CNN original production. (and, gosh, even then...) Still, if these organizations want us to view their online material as credible, they should work harder to apply a comparable journalistic standard (e.g., noting corrections).

With regard to the whole Iraq posting thing, I don't get all the fuss about it. Iraq is in the forefront of the social consciousness at this point, and whichever way you feel about it, it is possible for people on both sides of the issue to come upon their decisions in a rational and heartfelt manner; if it were simple, there would not be a debate. Metafilter is about conversation and debate. I have no problem admitting that I am personally conflicted on the issue of Iraq, but I continue to protest war as I feel that we are, at the very least, attempting to achieve moral ends through immoral means. The debates here keep me questioning rather than falling into knee-jerk ideology. At least many of the people here I disagree with are intelligent and articulate enough to help me clarify my own views.

That said, I am disturbed to see that Metafilter is starting to pull in more of the right-wing-talk-radio crowd, whose input on the issue is limited to or limited by a call against the legitimacy of discussion. I have not looked forward to the day that sites such as this would be susceptible to this form of anti-intellectualism and anti-analysis, and I hope that we as thinkers (liberal and conservative) can fight what I fear is a rising partisan strategy to suppress free thought in this forum.
posted by troybob at 8:36 PM on February 17, 2003


troybob - you've noticed that "starting to pull in more of the right-wing-talk-radio crowd"? Hmmm.....you may be right...

Anyway, re: "CNN's transcript of the Blix presentation would not have been received so widely as to displace factual historical records" - if my conjecture is right, the point would not be to displace historical records but to influence short term political opinion: impossible to prove, this.
posted by troutfishing at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2003




She also suggests that we all get a life

condour,
I'd suggest that she tries to be more careful with her e-mail in the future, instead
It's not that Matt hacked her Vaio and stole the data. She simply sent the e-mail to an unreliable friend. It's her problem.
posted by matteo at 7:52 AM on February 18, 2003


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