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May 29th, 2008
02:21 PM ET

TV news under the microscope

Jessica Yellin
Congressional Correspondent

I find myself in an interesting position. Today the blogs lit up with comments I made last night on AC360° and suddenly I’m being reported on.

It's not the most comfortable position for a reporter.

So let me clarify what I said and what I experienced.

First, this involved my time on MSNBC where I worked during the lead up to war. I worked as a segment producer, overnight anchor, field reporter, and briefly covered the White House, the Pentagon, and general Washington stories.

Also, let me say: No, senior corporate leadership never asked me to take out a line in a script or re-write an anchor intro. I did not mean to leave the impression that corporate executives were interfering in my daily work; my interaction was with senior producers. What was clear to me is that many people running the broadcasts wanted coverage that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the country at the time. It was clear to me they wanted their coverage to reflect the mood of the country.

And now I'm going back to work covering the Puerto Rico primary from San Juan.

________________
Editor's Note: Here is an excerpt from last night's discussion:

ANDERSON COOPER: Jessica, McClellan took press to task for not upholding their reputation. He writes: "The National Press Corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The 'liberal media' - in quotes - didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."

Dan Bartlett, former Bush adviser, called the allegation "total crap."

What is your take? Did the press corps drop the ball?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn't go that far.

I think the press corps dropped the ball at the beginning. When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president's high approval ratings.

And my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president's approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives - and I was not at this network at the time - but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president.

I think, over time...

COOPER: You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?

YELLIN: Not in that exact - they wouldn't say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces. They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive, yes. That was my experience.

Read full transcript...


Filed under: Jessica Yellin
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Ray Michael

    Reporters know a lot more than appears in the media. The true news is blocked by 'news' that is more entertainment than anything else. If the people really knew how much corporations controlled everything including the media, I would hope for a peaceful change. The last time companies controlled things this much was when we had a revolution as colonies against the British companies that were in collusion with King George.

    May 29, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  2. ollie maccarthy

    It was hilarious to see the cheerleaders of "Shock and Awe" go into total defensive mode. Wolf Blitzer, Charles Gibson, and yes even Anderson Cooper, were trying to portray themselves as Helen Thompsons asking the tough questions in the buildup to war. Are these sycophants any less responsible for the slaughter than the war profiteers and pandering politicians who service them? I'm reminded of Lady Macbeth trying to wash the blood off of her hands.

    May 29, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  3. Thomas Fisher

    Lets say my continued employment and sarary as a PR person with a major corporation are dependent upon my corporation being seen in the most favorable light possible. Now I assume I choose to advertise my company's products with ABC, NBC, FOX, or CNN. You're damn right I want my products to be place amidst the most positive, patriotic, all-American messages those news stations can create. I don't want my products being advertised between segments of death, stupidity, corruption, or boring details. I want my products associated with winning! Fun! Excitement.

    Now you understand why you can never, ever fully trust corporate media to bring you the full, honest, troubling facts of the world. No corporate advertisers will buy time with such uncooperative corporate news outlets.

    Now, assume I'm an investor who owns shares in CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS. I want maximum return on my investment. That means happy, exciting, fun news, and sexy, victorious shows. If the executives don't maximize returns on my investment, the SEC dumps their corporation from Wall Street, and the Execs go to jail. Nuf sed.

    May 29, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  4. Jacklyn Flynn

    I am appalled by the mainstream media's apparent bias during this campaign year. Ask any member of John Q public and they can tell you which network supports which candidate. CNN, in particular, has been a huge disappointment for me, because it was the only network I could stand to watch. But the vitriolic sentiment expressed towards Hillary Clinton on CNN has nearly pushed me to the point where CNN may, too, be banned from my household. CNN correspondents that I once respected and trusted over the other two cable networks have seemingly joined the ranks of the unbelievable.

    May 29, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  5. DS

    It is about time we have such a debate!! Thousands of young Americans lost to this unjust war, thousands and thousands maimed, and who is counting when it comes to Iragies. At last, we have our media (right to left) complacent in druming the war, coming to its senses (maybe) and hopefully taking courage from Scott McClellan, be honest and open their shelved reports, to disclose what they know. Hopefully Collin Powell will get out of his self exile and enter this debate and bring more light to the buried agenda for this war.
    I beleive with Sen Obama most likely to be our next president, America will be on the right track to address the future, in a responsible and unmotivated way, heal the divide, and become again the respected and caring nation the world all over look up to.

    May 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  6. Jo Ann

    Tammy; I could not have said it better myself! Honesty has very little to do with it. This happens every hour of every day on every news program. The only reason Yellin is blogging about it is because CNN got so much feedback on it.

    I suppose journalistic manipulation by upper management has always existed in one form or another, but not to the same extent that it does today. As you said, when corporate America took over the networks “true reporting died,” replaced by whatever supported the company line. No matter how much integrity a young journalist comes into the news business with it is quickly snuffed out by the powers that be. How many promising young journalists have been reduced to nothing more than cardboard cutouts sitting behind an anchor desk?

    In order to get the truth viewers must educate themselves and get their information from a variety of sources so that they can make informed decisions. Unfortunately, the majority of today’s viewers are too lazy to even change the channel on their remote controls.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    May 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  7. CaseyJPS - California

    "After we look at the Bush administration, and then the press, then we need to ask “Why are we Americans so damned stupid?”

    Because we're inherently like sheep. We follow the flock because we think the guy ahead of us has the answer...why else would he be going that way? God forbid we trust ourselves and our personal values enough to think for ourselves and not be afraid to ask questions. That's how Bush got re-elected (if you can point to just one reason). All of this mess our lives and our planet is in is of our own doing. And it's obvious the media can't be relied on–thank goodness for blogs, I guess. Now, if we could clone the integrity and skill of an Anderson Cooper, we might have a chance (honestly)......

    May 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  8. Mitchell jancic

    I agree that our citizenry is complicit in the actions taken by our leaders. But we are a nation of consumers at every level, including information, and the corporate media must not shy away from its responsibility to conduct research, uncover the truth, and report it rather than becoming the news and patting themselves on the back for a job well done and then reverse their position days or weeks later without explicitly ackowledging that they were victims of disinformation. Excutive producers of news program rely on our short memories. Doesn't anyone remember that Phil Donahue was dismissed after his comments about the war early on? It appears that we are being duped and spoon-fed what a small group of individuals what us to see and hear. The comments of one of Anderson's interviewees last night, stating that he had been asking the tough questions all along but was stone-walled, was pathetic. WE THE PEOPLE have been let down by our leaders, our employers (Why do stocks go up when people loose their jobs?), and the people we trust to bring factual information into our homes. As much as we may love Anderson and Erica, and we do, they are not Edward R. Murrow or Mike Wallace. Mitch in Washington

    May 29, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  9. Wayne

    I think the Corporate Executives are "pressuring" you to "clarify" the truth. The American people hell-a-smarter than you guys are giving them credit for. The media in general has lost it's credibilities and that's why most of your news stories now a days are driven by information you get through Blogs and YouTube.

    May 29, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  10. Heather

    I don't see why you have to explain yourself. It's not like you were the only reporter who had producers or execs watching. Its all about ratings and viewers. Katie Couric talked about it. You have a job to do and a service you provide to all of us in a crazy business. Scott just seems to like to stir the pot yet he was the one who didnt always answer your questions. I always thought he was terrible and out of his element.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Cody Lyon

    Jessica Yellin's recollections last night on CNN are yet another piece of retrospective insight into what was clearly a perfect storm of national deception, led by a White House who's members had been long intent on regime change in Iraq. Slowly but surely, the truth is bubbling to the surface, that being, that this White House used patriotic fervor and a sense of national insecurity after 9/11 to achieve that objective.

    Bur what Yellin's insight further confirms is that at that time, the national mainstream media was essentially neutered, devoid of its investigative and critical abilities, and thus became a conduit and bullhorn for the White House.

    For so many, this was a time to re-evaluate and question the state of American journalism, the one entity we rely on to keep government in check.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  12. Sharon from Indy

    Jessica:
    Thank you for your honesty about the "corporate executives" agenda to sway broadcast journalists at the beginning of the war. Even though the war was HOT news and the fever of the country was to hold someone/a country/a group accountable, there were millions of us saying, "What a minute, something doesn't seem right about this."

    Why some Americans still feel the need to justify the Iraq War is perplexing. All along journalists knew the war was unjustified. But in the end, journalists too have to keep their creditability.

    Instead of the name calling about the liberal press, Americans need to realize that without the free press, a government would spoon feed the television, print and internet audiences.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  13. EJ (USA)

    I think Americans also need to blame themselves. We have shown (finally) in this election that we don't let the media decide what we believe and who we are going to vote for

    But when Bush was elected (TWICE!) and he took us into an unjustified war – it was shocking to see how Americans acted. Not only the press, THE PEOPLE.

    We have no one to blame but ourselves. Look at the idiot we put into the highest office (and a lot had to do with certain people's "fear" of same-sex marriages).

    And look at how 'average' Americans blasted people who were speaking out against the war and Bush's actions. It was sickening. Dixie Chicks, Bill Maher, and almost anyone who dared to think during the past several years was labelled unpatriotic.

    After we look at the Bush administration, and then the press, then we need to ask "Why are we Americans so damned stupid?"

    May 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  14. Slats

    "It was clear to me they wanted their coverage to reflect the mood of the country." And here, Ms. Yellin, is the crux of the problem. The "mood" of the country was shaped by the media, directly based on the wishes and desires of the administration in the information that was spoonfed to the media and ultimately the country. Journalists may or may not have the responsibility to debate those in power, but they must ask the hard (or simple, ala Helen Thomas asking "Why DID we go to war with Iraq?") questions, they must avoid manipulation at all costs. This is where the fourth estate neglected their duties and let this country down.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  15. Barry

    Let's face it, there is no longer "news", just "infotainment", and the goal is profits, not public service. This applies even to broadcasters that use public airways. It is not at all surprising that the product is skewed in a way that maximizes eyeballs. The truth will not do if it puts viewers off.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  16. rmwarnick

    Thank you for telling it like it is. Or was, if you want to say it that way.

    More and more people have caught on to the failure of the media coverage of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the Bush administration overall. Anderson Cooper ought to know, he got a lot of personal credit for daring to criticize the government in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    It's OK for reporters, producers et al. to say they are sorry– the public can't forgive you if you don't take responsibility.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  17. E Pomerance

    Just so you know, your observations during your time at MSNBC is incredibly important breaking news, not the Puerto Rican primary.

    Most people suspect that the cable and TV news media was just as currupted as your past experience indicates. What we really want to know is what changed, at whose direction and why?

    You may think that no one can connect the Military propaganda program, Scott McClellan's observations and those of your own. This would be yet another blunder on your part.

    May I respectfully suggest that you drop the San Juan smackdown and continue with the Senior Producer angle. By now you must surely realize it's the only story we are all interested in.

    What happened in the Bush Administration has been fairly well exposed. Even print news has been examined. What has yet to be uncovered is what happened at Rockefeller Plaza and at the other network production offices.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  18. Adina

    Coming down on Jessica Yellin is like shooting the messenger. We've all been in positions when you have to do what your manager/boss wants. It's about doing the best you can with what you have. Yes, I wish the press, in general, had done a better job at the time but I don't think it's Jessica's fault for bringing it up now. In fact, it takes guts to do so now when most haven't said a word.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  19. Genevieve M, TX

    I, too, enjoyed your comments last night on 360. It's a shame that you felt your supervisors restricted you on what you were able to report. I applaud you for having the courage to say so.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  20. Walta C. Rule

    Without the full complicity of our "free" American Press, President Bush's Iraq War would not be. The press failed to report daily on the Anti-War and Peace marches being held throughout America in the "run up" to the war. Thus, the press silenced the majority of Patriotic Americans who believe that human beings are intelligent and resourseful enough to resolve conflicts without "murdering" the opposiion .
    What about those patriots who were silenced when they spoke out about the faulty inteeligence? Why have you not included stories about why Mr.Cheney and Mr. Bush should be tried for war crimes? THE PRESS ABDICATED ITS RESPONSIBILTY TO THE AMERICAN CITIZENS! President Bush does not understand the meaning of freedom. Why has the press not held him to account for "his "war to create a legacy for himself as a War President?
    Both the government and the "free press" actually appeared to be "enjoying" the excitement of war. Think of the first time in history our "press corps" were "imbedded reporters" with our troops on the ground in Irag. A civilized society does not need to settle its differing philosophy of government by "shock and awe."
    Thank you Jessica and Scott. I find it very interesting that as soon as someone speaks "truth to power" and the people, they "lack ethics" and must "have a hidden agenda" without recognizing and investigating the Republican Party's agendat o destroy our democracy for an imperial presidency responsible to no one!

    May 29, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  21. Frances - Nashua, NH

    I am astonished at the honesty of Jessica Yellin. I really wish there were more correspondents like her in the world of corporate oppression. She has single-handedly renewed my respect for the press.

    Thank you Jessica for that.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  22. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Golly gee Jessica don't feel too bad. The deferential treatment of the White House presscorp for the office holder has existed since the dawn of television. None would go out of their way to lose such an 'exalted' position. [After all, it looks good on the resume n'est pas??] Any tough questions and the likelihood of being bounced from the 'perch' would be possible given the LAME sense of the news coverage from American television networks. As well, explain why the preferential treatment to past presidents [As in continuing to call to them with the title 'Mr. President']?? These people are merely out of work politicians!! They should be looked on as simple citizens nothing more!! It speaks, I believe strongly, to an inner wish by the American establishment to have a monarchy, hence the over the top pomp and circumstance for what should be remembered is simply an elected politician [with the usual foibles present!!].

    May 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  23. Susan

    Jessica:

    What I had heard from last nights exchange was that your stories had been edited by senior management. There is a big difference between being edited and running stories ( un-edited ) consistent with the patriotic fever in the country at the time. Thanks for clearing that up.

    You and your colleagues at CNN are some of the best. I enjoy your programming.

    We the people still have to use our own minds to interpret and form our own opinions of what we are viewing.

    Susan
    Phoenixville,PA

    May 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  24. KAB

    Most Americans wanted to believe the stories. We wanted to kick butt and take names. We wanted revenge for what happened to us. We had blind anger. And, yes, Saddam was a bad guy. Was he "THE" bad guy? No, just one of many, but he was what was believed to be an easy target. America was full of pride and full of anger. Journalism is a business. They want to make money, so they report what the public wants to hear. All those being judgmental about the press should look in the mirror and remember what they were watching during the lead up to war and try to remember the feeling of disgust they had when anyone spoke out against the administration. This is a two way street. Don't ask for the truth if you're not ready to hear it.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  25. Stacy

    @Michaela–This is different. Sure, everyone feels pressure from their bosses, but in this case reporters were pressured to do their job poorly. What occurred during the run-up to the war was the opposite of everything journalism is supposed to be. Democracy cannot survive without a free press.

    And no, it's not surprising that there was pressure, but you have to remember that before the war and during the first couple years this country was fairly supportive of the invasion and a lot of that had to do with the press coverage. Yet very, very few reporters spoke up at that time to say they were being pressured.

    Even now there are plenty of reporters who are in denial about their role in this war. They seem to be suffering from selective memory or magical thinking.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  26. Enzo

    I hope one day to see American journalists band together in such a way that they can defend their profession's special prerogative to report the truth. Do you have unions over there? If not, some of you had better get busy creating one.

    In the meantime, there's the blogosphere, as I'm sure you know.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  27. Anna

    I am delighted by the candor that allowed you to say what everyone knows about corporate media ("manufacturing consent"), but this clarification is rather sad.

    What is done is done. Now, can we begin looking forward and telling the truth about the mad ideas of McCain? Can we expose the lies about Iran? Can we explain why Iran cannot have WMDs, when we can (not whether they want to have it or not which is a red herring)? Can we start asking some real questions?

    How about exposing Ari Fleischer for repeating the same 'talking points' that every other administration spokesperson has been repeating?

    May 29, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  28. Sandra Acquah

    Too little too late. If you had sounded the alrams earlier more than 4, 000 US soldiers would be alive, over 33,000 casulties and some 90,000 + of Iraqis dead. Just like Scott McClellan, it's too little to late to come out now. Aide and abet.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  29. EH

    I can't decide whether this is a clarification or a CYA. Regardless, it doesn't matter whether you're comfortable being reported on, since reporters are the subject of the story. The Fourth Estate is famously incapable of self-reflection, and the level to which the stories McClellan and the Pentagon are telling involve journalists, it's the responsibility of journalists themselves to shine a light and not ignore the story. To do otherwise would be malpractice. You would do the country and your readers a great service to the public if you expanded on the story with the kinds of details you are trained to ferret out.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  30. Angela, Ontario, Canada

    I'm disappointed that this seems to have been edited out of the podcast. Is CNN trying to cover it up?

    I must say, I'm both surprised and disappointed to hear that certain stories were turned down due to media bias. I'd always assumed that any lack of fairness and balance was due to laziness, not malicious intent.

    MODERATOR: The AC360 Daily Podcast never contains the entire television program. It usually contains the first few segments of the program and some other daily features like the 360 Bulletin, Beat 360 and The Shot.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  31. Jonathan

    Good for you, Ms. Yellin. I hope more reporters concentrate on McClellan's "revelations" about the complicity of the press - from executives to grunts - in the disastrous "run up to war" from 2002-3. We need more thoughtful reporters like Yellin who are interested in this aspect of the story, and less involved in the usual "find some Bush administration insiders to pillory Scott McClellan" for telling us exactly what we already know. It's the same lazy journalism that helped bring us...the last seven years.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  32. Michaela, San Diego, CA

    If you don't go to work and feel pressure from your management to do your job a certain way, then you're a very lucky person.

    I don't think that people should be critizised for going on live TV and telling the truth, that there was PRESSURE. That certain stories were turned down. That executives wanted positive stories.

    Is that really surprising?

    As viewers and readers we also have the responsibility to be aware that biases exist, and to come to our own conclusions, and be critical thinkers about what is being said by whom, during what time, for what purpose, etc. There's facts, and there's fluff, and we have to try tomake sense of it.

    We can't blame reporters for feeling pressure or for their boss' decisions.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  33. Lisa

    Let's be honest, if you wanted to retain your White House press pass, then you played ball with the White House. There weren't – and still are not – any substantiive questioning as to what the White House was doing and why. The "press" went along with it. Many times the question was raised – "what happened to the Woodwards and Bernsteins of journalism"? This would never have happened in that era.

    I can't even blame this administration for this turn around from serious, investigative reporting - the turn-around hit me when the press corp rushed home from a historic visit of the Pope to Cuba to cover sex in the Oval Office.

    We, the people, look to our journalists to keep government honest. They have the access we do not. (Some of us grew up in an era where the "press" was the unofficial 4th branch of government.). Now they don't seem to have so much of that independent nature – whether it be through being bought out so that much of the press is controlled by a few or that it is all about the money (advertising).

    It would be nice to have the old journalistic styles back. "Keeping Them Honest" ought to be the motto of all "press" not just a segment on AC360.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  34. Debbie, NJ

    I find that most news networks are so busy competing with one another to get the most popular news out. It's not the truth that is priority its what's popular. You can watch 5 news channels in a day and they are all reporting on the same thing. It seems they watch each other and chase each other to get to the same news. Meanwhile the real story is breaking out somewhere else.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  35. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    Somewhere along the line, news reporting lost it's purpose. Investigative reporting is supposed to report the facts as the reporter sees them, offering no interpretation or explanations.

    The purpose of the news isn't to report what fits a corporate model, and it's not supposed to be interpretation. News should return to what it's supposed to be. A reporting watchdog for our society.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  36. Arachnae, Sterling VA

    And yet, it is not the job of the media to 'reflect the mood of the country' but to provide factual information on which to BASE that mood.

    The 'patriotic fever' in the aftermath of 9/11 was fanned and exploited by the Bush White House to invade and occupy a country that wasn't a threat to us, and to do serious damage to our constitution and civil rights here at home.

    It was the duty of the press to examine the basis for that 'fever' and if necessary debunk it. In this, the press failed, and for that, they bear some responsibility, not only for the rush to war, but for the re-election of Bush and the continuation of his miserable policies for another four years.

    Proud of yourselves?

    May 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  37. Robbie

    Jessica Yellin may have opened a box that will be hard to close. We can only hope that the unwitting press will dive below the surface on the truth behind this story. After all Scott Mc isnt telling us anything anything new,but Jessica is.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  38. Laura

    Like everything it's a business.....I think people who understand that
    know how to be critical thinkers about the news and investigate from different sources. Like the news about Barak today, did people really think that he has been in Chicago politics for this long and not had to play the game?? It's understanding the bigger picture and the bigger business.

    May 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  39. JC- Los Angeles

    Why don't you man up and resign? You claim your interactions were with senior producers rather than corporate executives; who on earth do you think senior producers speak with? the very executives you out; I give you credit for making claims that some wanted a patriotic slant, however, I bash you for collecting a paycheck from an organization that manipulates its employees; quit and work for a real organization; we need people of character in newsworthy positions not pawns; the best news coverage was post-Katrina where the media beat the US Government to New Orleans and exposed our leaders as hacks. Hopefully, you can sit down with Anderson and he can teach you impartiality.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  40. Fay, CA

    Jessica, your blunt and honest comments last night spoke volumes and it was remarkably refreshing to hear.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  41. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    So what you're saying is, yes, news executives put pressure on you for positive stories. I don't think for one moment that the public doesn't believe that is the case, and I'd bet it is going on in the reverse today.
    Facts, let's get back to journalists dotting their I's and crossing their T's, checking facts, not pundit's facts, but real concrete ones. Maybe less is more with it comes to opinion driven news. Maybe we as a society, will find that great art of spinning, should be nixed once and for all in politics and news.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  42. BajaMundi

    Much like producers have been manipulating the Democratic nomination in favor of Obama, the news were manipulated in supprt of the war. How about just reporting the news as the reporters obtain facts rather than twisting the facts to achieve the goals of a news organizations executives. Those editors foster a culture called propaganda. What a shame. Journalist should read the Ethics of Journalism. I know the ethics code exists. I majored in journalism.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  43. CaseyJPS - California

    I empathise with Jessica Yellin and I am guessing she is walking a tightrope at this point–it's easy to see why. Regardless of today's post-explanation, last night she confirmed what I've suspected all along. Big corporations, with their hands on the shoulders of reporters and their hands in the pockets of political insiders, get their say and get it spinned the way they want, no matter what. The "system" will remain a good old boys club all in the name of the almighty dollar. Rupert Murdoch is the poster boy for this behavior.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  44. Kim

    Jessica, actually, I thought it was very interesting to hear you sharing these experiences.

    I think in times of (coming) war, Americans usually rally around their president and I guess, the news executives thought it part of their patriotic duty to stay in tune with the mood of the nation.

    The danger in this might be that it could be tempting for administrations to use foreign policy to cover up their domestic deficiencies.

    We're always smarter in hindsight, all of us...

    May 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  45. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    There was a very fascinating expose by David Barstow in the 4/20/08 NY Times on how the Bush Administration, primarily the Pentagon, has manipulated the media (and therefore the public) during the lead-up to Iraq and beyond. It's available on-line and appears to be well-documented.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  46. Jennifer McDevitt

    Your comments last night were misleading. That is why you got the reaction you did from Anderson Cooper.
    Posting exactly what you mean on a blog clarifies the situation, but it in no way is a substitute for an explanation to an on-air comment.
    This needs to be on-air, on the program you stated your views.
    Jennifer McDevitt
    Los Angeles, CA

    May 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  47. Michelle

    If I am not mistaken was not Asleigh Banfield fired for
    comments she made while at MSNbC about the Iraq
    war.Also was no Bill Maher canceled because of
    comments he mad on ABC. Of course he is now with
    HBO and says what he wants.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  48. Stacy

    Jessica,

    I applaud your candor last night and am disappointed that you had to make this blog post today. Anyone who was paying attention to the news coverage during the run-up to the war knows that the press failed in holding the administration's feet to the fire.

    The fact that you had pressure from your bosses to be more patriotic is not at all surprising and you're certainly not the first person to say so. CNN's own Christiane Amanpour has disclosed as much.

    And now we're in a bloody war with no end.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  49. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    And the difference now is? Let's be honest. How much of what you do every night on this show is based on CNN upper management's policies? How much of your outside PR for the network is based on Time Warner's desires (Anderson's co-host with Elmo last night at an awards show for one)? Every anchor has a book deal whether the book is real literature or bathroom reading drivel. True reporting died when corporate America took over the networks. Be real. Viewers simply choose the spin they like best. They're pretty naive if they think they are getting real truth from you guys. And if you believe half of what you feed America, you really are naive, too.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  50. nerakami, Miami

    The truth is, you all should feel a grave responsibility to the American people to tell the truth, irregardless of how uncomfortable it can be.... if the media won't source and report the truth, will we not then become of nation in the dark making decisions from a place of ignorance?

    My sense of patriotism is doing what is right for and by the people and that certainly includes, members of the media who do have a responsibility to inform and educate. Not take sides.

    I would therefore find it highly hypocritical for correspondents to criticize McClellan's not speaking out before, while many of you are guilty of the same thing on varying levels.

    Shame, shame, shame goes all around for deceiving and deliberately misleading the American people. Who do we turn to for un-biased depiction of what is happening in the world and our country?

    This is a sad day for the average American.

    May 29, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
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