Apr 8 1999

CNN Can’t Find Dissent From The Left

(NOTE: Read the update to this alert.)

On April 7, CNN‘s Bill Schneider offered this analysis of the anti-war sentiment in the country: “What’s missing from the Kosovo story is anti-war protest, at least on the left.” Schneider continued by saying that there was “no action out there on the streets or on campuses — no marches, no demonstrations, no teach-ins.”

The statement is true, if one watches the media for signs of dissent from the left. In fact, contrary to Schneider’s claim, there is plenty of dissent from the Clinton policy–on campuses, in the streets and from leading progressive writers and thinkers.

Leading left-of-center publications like The Nation and The Progressive have editorialized against the NATO bombings. Groups like the War Resisters League and the International Action Center, led by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, have organized demonstrations and spoken out forcefully. Dozens of prominent commentators, like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, have condemned the bombings. And a gathering of notables and activists like Tim Robbins, Erica Jong and Rosie Perez in New York City on April 5 attracted an overflow crowd.

Since the day before the bombing of Yugoslavia began, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) has issued eight news releases featuring 25 independent analysts with critical perspectives on the bombing. Experts and commentators from IPA’s roster have appeared on numerous media outlets–including MSNBC and Fox News Channel–but have not thus far been featured on CNN.

When Schneider claims that dissent from the left boils down to criticizing Clinton “not for what he’s trying to do, but for the way he’s doing it,” he is incorrect. Many of the most prominent critics are in fact questioning NATO’s moral authority to intervene in this war.

Schneider concludes the report with this: “The peace movement is leading the war. And for liberals who oppose the war, they don’t have any Pat Buchanan to speak for them.”

Again, if Schneider’s understanding of dissent is limited to the mainstream media, that is correct. Unfortunately, there is much more going on that fails to make the news.

ACTION: Call on CNN to expand their coverage of the war in Yugoslavia to include progressive critics that have been marginalized by the media thus far. Ask them to consider some of the experts, journalists and commentators whose work is featured on the web sites listed below.


CNN Senior Political Analyst

William Schneider

Phone: (202) 515-2852

Fax: (202) 515-2853

CNN President Richard Kaplan

Phone: (404) 827-1500

Fax: (404) 681-6363