Conflicts of Interest in Action

Joel Bleifuss

CNN was taking orders from the Pentagon during the war in Iraq. That is the gist of what the head of CNN news operations, Eason Jordan, revealed in an interview on the CNN program Reliable Sources, hosted by Howard Kurtz. During the interview, Kurtz asked Jordan about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s public chastising of retired military officers for giving TV audiences their own interpretations of the war. So Jordan explained CNN policy:Jordan: I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance, at CNN, “Here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war.” And we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.Kurtz: Okay, we’ve got to leave it there.Huh? Kurtz apparently forgot that when not hosting Reliable Sources, he is employed as a media critic by the Washington Post.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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