Wednesday, September 3, 2014


As the Western world recoiled in horror at the death of Steven Sotloff -- the second American journalist beheaded by an unknown member of ISIS -- questions were raised about CNN's persistent use of the relatively bland words "militants" and "extremists" to describe the army that has savagely killed thousands of Iraqis, mostly unarmed men, women and children, in the last few months.

CNN President Jeff Zucker explained his reasoning. "We take great pains to report the news right down the middle, no matter what the circumstances. Words like 'terrorists' or 'psychopaths' offend some people. We don't want to offend anybody. CNN's mission is to inform, yes, but primarily to entertain. You want news with a capitol N, go watch Al-Jazeera America. See how long you last, listening to all those wacky accents. Like the kids say, those people be crazy," he chuckled.

Taking a break from an in-house speech where he instructed employees what 'CNN' stands for, Zucker added, "When you think about it, anybody who slaughters entire villages, often by crucifixion, and makes children watch the murders of their parents, is extreme by any definition of the word. They post beheadings on YouTube. That's some militant stuff going on there. YouTube is supposed to be for videos of dancing cats and kids falling asleep in car seats --  the stuff Chris Cuomo and the girls run on their morning show. You know, their program is called New Day, not News Day. Those ISIS people are ruining it for everybody."

Asked if there was any incident that would change CNN's policy and allow the word "terrorist" to be spoken, Zucker replied, "Yes. If they hack into Anderson Cooper's nude photos."


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