Danny Schechter describes his experience appearing on Fox news yesterday to talk about "Easongate." His film WMD has a section asking whether U.S. forces targeted journalists in Iraq. An excerpt of his latest blog post:
I was hoping CNN might call and we reached out to Lou Dobbs and Aaron Brown to no avail.
I guess CNN was not interested in taking on this fight.
But Fox News was. Fox is always at war with CNN which it brands as a liberal network, a label CNN does not want or like. And so Fox scheduled a segment and asked if I was interested. When I told them I had a film documenting the attack on the Palestine Hotel, they were doubly interested. Frozen out by CNN and most TV networks who we bombarded with Info on WMD (save Court TV) I entered the Fox arena the way Christians were fed to the lions.
Needless to say Fox wanted to trash Eason, not the killing of journalists. They showed a very clip of my film with the sound muted but I did get to make a few points and plug the movie the best I could expect in circumstances of hostility..
Sean Hannity took some predictable whacks along with Brent Bozell but I held my ground and was still standing at the bell. I would score the round as a draw.
It was hard to shift the conversation back to the real issue – the killing of journalists and not what Eason Jordan said or didn't say – no one there seemed to know or really care in what was really a bash CNN exercise.
I got an e-mail from Fox yesterday afternoon asking me to call them. I did not respond. I have issues with CNN and the way it operates, which is why I left, but I'm not a big Fox news fan, either. Nor do I want to be used any further in an effort to bring down my former boss, for whom I continue to have a lot of personal respect (and to whom I owe a great deal career-wise), despite his unfortunate choice of words at Davos, which he has said repeatedly he did not mean.
What makes me sick is how a lot of people are going to benefit from this whole thing personally, and in some cases financially. On the right, Hugh Hewitt gets tons of book publicity in what is turning out to be a textbook case of the "blog swarm" phenomenon his book describes. On the left, Danny has an opportunity to plug his film. Lots of bloggers are making names for themselves. Yes, there are very legitimate issues on all sides that need to be discussed. I'm not trying to deny or belittle that fact. But most of these issues are not black-and-white. Unfortunately shades of grey aren't as interesting or useful for most people's purposes.
I remain disappointed in the many journalists who have spent lots of time on the ground in Iraq, and who have failed to do anything to shed light on the substance and facts of this issue - one way or the other. I am disappointed in their editors for not assigning them stories on this issue.
I'm especially disappointed with CNN for the way they're running away from the story, hoping it will go away. It won't. CNN has done itself more harm than good over the last several years by being horribly afraid to stand up for any particular set of principles. It tries very hard to please everybody and offend nobody - but ends up offending everybody and pleasing nobody. No wonder internal morale is low and ratings are bad.