CNN hit the air 23 years ago, the result of Ted Turner’s vision and chutzpah.

“Traditional journalism” snickered and called the new-fangled competition the Chicken Noodle Network.

It was unthinkable such an upstart – on cable, no less – would even survive, much less – good grief – be successful!

Well, surprise, surprise. Just like Topsy, CNN grew and grew and became news 24×7 with an international face and a place with the big guys.

Yes, but that soup kettle hadn’t gone away. On April 11, in the New York Times, CNN’s chief news executive, Eason Jordan, stirred it and brought up muck from the bottom of the pot.

Chicken Noodle Network, indeed.

As coalition forces reached victory, Jordan took the international platform of the Times to perform a very public mea culpa.

Now, I have to tell you, for a news executive to confess anything – much less that he’d done something wrong – is in and of itself, earth shattering.

Such people simply do not make their mistakes public. They maintain the illusion they simply aren’t capable of such transgressions.

They also do not ever do anything that might indicate they even have a conscience. That’s the biz.

But apparently, after more than 12 years of harboring CNN’s deception of the tradition of American journalism and his worldwide audience – old Eason decided to come clean. And he’s so relieved.

He says that for the 12 years-plus that CNN had reporters and a bureau in Iraq, he and other top executives knew full well the horrors visited on the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein.

He did nothing. It was never reported.

He said they saw what happened to some of their own employees. One cameraman was kidnapped, beaten and tortured with electric shock.

He knew of other journalists who just disappeared, and others who were kidnapped and tortured.

He did nothing. It was never reported.

He also knew what happened to civilians. In 1990, Iraqi secret service agents in Kuwait, captured a 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman because she’d talked to CNN by phone.

They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. Then her skull was smashed, her body torn apart and the parts dropped on her family’s doorstep in a plastic bag.

He did nothing. It was never reported.

CNN told the free world nothing of Saddam’s horrors. They maintained a pretense.

I take that back. He didn’t “do nothing.” What Eason Jordan and CNN did, was play footsie with the Iraqi government so CNN could keep their news bureau open.

He said he made at least 13 trips there – many with other executives – for lobbying and, each time, he learned more of the horrors. But, he says, CNN simply could not report on them because it would put CNN in jeopardy. They might they lose their access.

Think of it. More than 12 years of CNN reporting, thousands of hours of “news” and all the while, the truth was being withheld. Simply ignored.

Eason Jordan and all CNN executives are responsible for this mockery of journalistic ethics because they could have stopped it. But every single reporter, writer, editor, technician and any other employee who was in on the scam is just as guilty.

Each was an accomplice in the cover-up. They should have quit and told the truth. It would appear truth has little value for CNN, and that’s a shame.

I know I’m not alone in feeling that I’ll never again believe anything I see on CNN, no matter which pretty face presents it. Makes you wonder what they know about Cuba that they’re ignoring.

Without morals or shame, Eason Jordan wants us to feel empathy for him, having to keep “these stories bottled up inside me.” Poor baby. What about the millions of people tortured and killed over those 12 years because he kept the truth a secret?

Of course, Herr Hitler. Not a word about the camps as long as we can keep our bureau open.

CNN betrayed the free people of the world who looked to them for the truth – for that, they earned millions and got their egos stroked.

Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver.

It’s the same thing.

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