Friday, April 02, 2004

CNN's Ethical Standards or Lack Thereof

Paul Krugman's column today details the junk CNN has been spewing this week. One event was linked to the David Letterman show:

On Monday, Mr. Letterman ran a video clip of a boy yawning and fidgeting during a speech by George Bush. It was harmless stuff; a White House that thinks it's cute to have Mr. Bush make jokes about missing W.M.D. should be able to handle a little ribbing about boring speeches.

CNN ran the Letterman clip on Tuesday, just before a commercial. Then the CNN anchor Daryn Kagan came back to inform viewers that the clip was a fake: "We're being told by the White House that the kid, as funny as he was, was edited into that video." Later in the day, another anchor amended that: the boy was at the rally, but not where he was shown in the video.

On his Tuesday night show, Mr. Letterman was not amused: "That is an out and out 100 percent absolute lie. The kid absolutely was there, and he absolutely was doing everything we pictured via the videotape."

But here's the really interesting part: CNN backed down, but it told Mr. Letterman that Ms. Kagan "misspoke," that the White House was not the source of the false claim. (So who was? And if the claim didn't come from the White House, why did CNN run with it without checking?)

Do you think we'll ever get the answer to that question? I don't think Dave will become a complete Bush-bashing Howard Stern acolyte, but if I'm Bush, I'm looking for friends right now and not more people to rip me. It's probably too late as the writers for Dave have enough material to skewer Bush and CNN for years.

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