I made a few calls to various news organizations a few weeks ago, as takebackthemedia.com
was kind enough to publish all their addresses and phone numbers at their site.
One email I sent out was particularly aggressive. I emailed Sue Bunda, a vice president at CNN telling her that my mother's family had died because of a US cluster bomb, and I sent her some absolutley horrifying pictures of dead Iraqi children, claiming one was my sister. The next day I called her, and before long we were in a shouting match on the phone.
Was it fair on my part? Well, no of course not. I was lying through my teeth, I sent them offensive pictures. Was it worth it? HELL YEAH! I got priceless gems form this conversation, which I wish I had taped.
The diamond was "Why are you blaming me? I have nothing to do with the news." "Nothing to do with the news? YOU'RE A VICE PRESIDENT AT CNN! EVERYTHING YOU DO IS NEWS!
So anyway, about a day after that I got a call at work from some guy, who called repeatedly asking me "what's your point?" and threatening my job. I told him to get fucked. And then I wrote Sue this letter, which she has yet to respond to.
I received a few phone calls from someone at CNN
claiming to have talked to my boss and asking what the
point of my call yesterday was. I offered him my home
phone number to discuss the issue, but he told me he
didn't work after 5:00. That's his problem I guess; I
work 9 to 5 and then volunteer my time to a large
number of causes. In another paragraph, I will take
this opportunity to tell you the point of my phone
call. Also, you are more than welcome to call me at
home if you want to discuss the matter
further. I'm usually home by 5:30 PM.
Before anything else though, let's make one thing
clear: I only called you once, and that can hardly be
considered harassment. And there's no law against
emailing anyone; I get unsolicited email every day,
and it usually involves something i'm not interested
in, pyramid schemes and the like. An email calling
you and the company you represent to task for poor
reporting and egging on an illegitimate war is hardly
harassment. Some guy with a scary voice isn't going
to scare me off.
I called you because, like many people, I have grown
tired of and angry with for-profit news media that
serves more to parrot the government line and its own
interests than to honestly inform the public. When I
saw the pictures that came out of Iraq of those
children, I was... how would you put it? "Shocked and
awed?" And disgusted and heartbroken, as I think any
human being with a soul would be. And as the "weapons
of mass destruction" claims have fallen apart bit by
bit, I have become completely and utterly fed up.
Some people do horrible unconscionable things when
they get angry,like Tim McVeigh or Osama bin Laden.
Other more rational types, like me, write letters and
make phone calls. This is symptomatic of a healthy
and informed populace. As a vice-president at CNN,
you (and the rest of the executives there) surely have
some say in news policy. It therefore strikes me that
you are to some degree answerable to the public you
I am not sorry if the pictures I sent you or the story
I told you disturbed you. War is a horrible action
that kills people. If you can't deal with that, then
maybe you should get out of the news business. CNN
was not aggressive at all in contesting the
administration's stories about weapons of mass
destruction, and was very aggressive about NOT
covering the massive protests that went on around the
world (take back the media has a nice animation about
that story). You treated americans like children,
refusing to show pictures of what our bombs did
(pictures that were widely available to ANYONE with
access to the internet or the BBC).
Again, if you can't stomach the results of your
employer's actions, or you can't take the heat when
you're called to task about them, maybe it's time to
get out of the news business. In my opinion, human
beings, even those brown-colored ones in Iraq, are
more important than ratings.