20 Reader Questions for CNN's President

AlterNet columnist Rory O'Connor sent 20 questions of his own to CNN President Jonathan Klein after Klein cancelled a sit-down interview. O'Connor then asked you, AlterNet's readers, to submit questions of your own, should Klein care to respond to his viewers and the public he's meant to serve. Here are 20 Reader Questions for CNN President Jonathan Klein:

1. Why does CNN so rarely interview liberals, especially those outside government, as part of its coverage of daily news?

2. Why are the vast majority of CNN's so-called terrorism experts retired military personnel or former government employees instead of academics or independent security consultants? Why does CNN think the former group is a good source of objective information?

3. Why do CNN news readers, such as Soledad O'Brien, become argumentative with those being interviewed and offer their (her) own opinions -- which just "happen" to be the administration's arguments or news bites? Or is this "demand" or "command" performance to keep their jobs? Do they know or care that, with disgust, we turn them off?

4. In the months before the war, where was the balance? Why did CNN not give, if not equal time, at least some time to informed critics such as Scott Ritter, Justin Raimondo, Ray McGovern, Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn?

5. I really appreciated your CNN Presents special on how we got things so wrong before the war, and I thought you covered most things carefully. Now, however, we're hearing those same drumbeats from the same people who brought us the Iraq invasion. I'm speaking of the push for war with Iran... I really believe this was part of the plan which this administration brought with them when they took over the White House and they are certainly not going to let the reality of lack of military and money stop them from their chosen plan. But, are we going to respond like Charlie Brown and trust Lucy to hold the football again? I wish CNN would discuss this possibility and not simply allow the administration to blindly lead us into another war.

6. Kyra Phillips, Miles O'Brien, and Paula Zahn hawked the war against Iraq to the American public, going so far as to ridicule Scott Ritter in interviews in which he denied Iraq had WMDs, frequently beginning interviews with teasers such as "Is Scott Ritter a traitor?" How does CNN justify leaving the Silly Three in place as White House propagandizers at this point, knowing what we now know about Iraq and WMDs?

7. Why did CNN use patriotic artwork and military music to introduce segments about the invasion? Why weren't the segments introduced with black-draped somber artwork with dirges to depict the death of peace and democracy? Oh, you wouldn't do that, would you? That would be too slanted toward the peace movement. But patriotic artwork and military music, that isn't slanted? BU--SH--! Face it; those in charge of CNN wanted the invasion, because it would increase their profits, covering the military action and the subsequent loss of life, not to mention the controversy the long-term conflict would cause. All those in charge of CNN at the time that decision was made should be fired.

8. What do you folks at CNN gain by ignoring and/or colluding with this administration in its lying, conniving, and murderous law breaking? Don't you give a damn for the future of your kids and grandkids? Why is it necessary for Wolf Blitzer to suck up to power? Watching the Republic sliding into the toilet with the complicity of the mainstream media is not pleasant viewing.

9. Shouldn't your viewers see and know what war is about? Then they would not allow their money to be spent on such nonsense as political money wars!!

10. Why did it take the mainstream media almost 5 years to discover that this administration was lying from the very beginning??? I just get sick just thinking about all the unnecessary lives lost in this debacle. No one should send our children to war based on lies to die for nothing. Also, all the innocent lives of the Iraqi citizens that have been lost. "They" have blood on their hands.

11. Why won't you show us the war--and show us pictures of the bodies of our men [and women] as they are returned?

12. Wolf Blitzer may have indicated that his network was using jingoism and he should know. Even the occasional news that questioned what the president was saying was quickly followed up with Wolf asking a question like "Yes, but don't you think the Democrats need to be careful how they use this? After all, they don't want to seen as weak on defense especially after 9/11, and the president's soaring poll numbers should give them pause." Or how about Wolf talking up Bush and the war in an interview and then being asked about the failure to find any WMDs. Wolf shrugged his shoulders and said "sometimes they are wrong." And Soledad, Miles and Jack were on message for the WH with all their Liberal/French/Cheese-eating jokes. They were so funny (they thought) and I have not heard an apology about how wrong they were in their slavish support of Bush and their costly refusal to report anything of substance.

CNN has not been held accountable and continues to mislead us now. For instance Daryl Kagen just said they were going to take a look at new poll numbers for Bush and how being a Bush supporter or not is reflected in the numbers. And further crap from the former girlfriend of Rush Limbaugh just now with Kagen saying that the Democrats are seen by many as "the gang that can't shoot straight." I realize Kagen is not her boyfriend but she is like-minded. Rush said "a part of me likes this" when news of our hostage being killed in Iraq hit the air. What if anything does CNN plan to do to bring things into honest reporting? What about lying to get us into war, ruining our economy, wiretapping Americans to mention a few things. Bush did not shoot straight? Oh angry Liberals. The Daily Show has it all over CNN in reporting what is really going on.

13. Why has the media all but forgot the deadly effects of Depleted Uranium shells that have exploded all over Iraq in two wars? Why does the media accept the illness classified by the government as "Gulf War Syndrome" Instead of what it really is: "Radiation Poisoning." When will the media stop entertaining us and start printing news that matters? I now longer read American newspapers, and watch only two news broadcasts -- Lou Dobbs and Democracy Now. I get all my other news from foreign broadcasts and on the Internet from independent news sources. Why? Because I don't have any trust in what you people print or say!

14. About the war coverage, we need to know how many Iraqi civilians have been killed by mistake, accident, whatever. Also, what is the after-effect of the materials used for bombing on the health of the population? CNN has done somewhat better than other sources, but not enough information for the general public.

15. I read and listened to the alternative media --The Nation magazine, Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Truthout.org, AlterNet, The People's Weekly World, Political Affairs, The Progressive, etc. and knew without the slightest doubt that Bush et al were totally lying and that the mainstream media were lying down and giving him legitimacy and even getting up again and supporting him. Not to mention that Fox and CNN were ridiculing Scott Ritter, the truth teller, and anyone else who questioned the lies. I would sit before my TV and scream in anger and frustration, "Don't you see what's going on? They are going to get us into a mess beyond belief. They are going to make fodder out of our troops and kill thousands of Iraqis and destroy their country and make us hated in the world." All this and much more. I can still taste and feel the rage. Why did the media treat the Bush gang as if they were the regular kind of administration when it was so very obvious that they were faux?

16. Why won't CNN broadcast Lou Dobbs several times during the evening? Most of us can't get to a TV set by 5:00 PM. Or are you trying to keep him off prime time? The same question for Jack Cafferty.

17. In his March 10, 2006 show, CNN's Lou Dobbs disclosed that the Dubai organization trying to purchase management of our ports had made large investments in CNN's parent company. Will anyone follow up on this?

18. Mr. Klein gave an extensive interview to the L.A. Times, when he first took over at CNN. In that interview he defines a journalist as "someone who asks questions." In the same paragraph he goes on to explicitly include Larry King and Nancy Grace as journalists stating that they ask questions, "don't they?" I would like to know why Mr. Klein has watered-down the definition of journalism and where he stands on infotainment/sensationalism versus journalism in the strictest sense. I believe the way he views journalism and journalists speaks about the type of programming he plans for the network.

19. Why did the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative basically end when Bob Woodward -- a man with extraordinary ties to both George Bush and Dick Cheney -- stated that he was the "first" reporter the leak was given to? Could it be that this version of how the leak occurred was more convenient for CNN than the alleged involvement of CNN's (at the time) own Robert Novak?

20. After the next terrorist attack--which will most likely kill a million Americans or more and destroy some city in the U.S. proper--and the subsequent declaration of martial law, how will CNN go about reporting the secession from The Union of all peoples to the west of 117 degrees longitude?

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