Day By Day

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Saddam's Trial, Differing Perspectives

I watched some of the testimony in Saddam's trial this morning. It was difficult because of the translation lags, the constant commentary by reporters. Flipping back and forth between Fox and CNN was instructive. Fox's analysis was pretty straightforward, noting problems with the witnesses who were understandably stressed. The first rambled. introducing many details that were not part of his first statements to investigators. The second kept breaking down and sobbing. Neither seemed to me, or to the commentators, to be particularly effective.

At one point the defense compared what one witness had experienced with the American abuses at abu Ghraib, suggesting that Saddam was not as bad as Bush. Fox treated this as a simple attempt to introduce propaganda into the trial. CNN, though, focused intensely on this statement, coming back to it time and again. The anchor-babe [Soledad O'Brien, I believe] declared it to be the most fascinating thing to come out of the story so far. It was clear that for both networks was was most important was not the trial itself, but its potential political repercussions here in the US. Fox was obviously worried that a poor showing by incompetent prosecutors would undermine the rationale for the war. CNN was simply highlighting anything that might embarrass Bush.

For a useful contrast check out Mohammed's comments at Iraq the Model [here].

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