Jan 31, 2007

Obama and the Audacity of CNN

"That's the difference between talking about news and reporting it. You send a reporter, check the facts, and you decide at home."

Those are the words of CNN's Anderson Cooper described by Fox as the "Paris Hilton of television news". CNN would have you believe that they actually investigated this story and checked the facts in their reporting with their sophmoric attempt to debunk both Fox News and Insight Magazine.

On the ground in Jakarta, CNN's John Vause paints a rosy almost pristine picture of what Obama's past primary school in Indonesia is like, taking time to even note the Western-style clothes that the students are wearing as they play outside the school.

To an American viewer one might imagine that this school is close to being like any other school in school in America or the West, having a diverse and multicultural student body who enjoy religious freedom.

CNN's so-called debunking seems to be primarily focused on the statements of two individuals at the school, who are overly eager to paint a utopian picture specifically designed for foreign consumption of what their school is like now in what can best be described as nothing more than a fantasy for the misguided and naive proponents of multiculturism.

This hideously deceptive picture of what primary school is like in Indonesia leaves us wondering here if this entire "debunking" was actually staged or whether CNN simply has their own agenda and is not as impartial as they claim to be.

For anyone truly familiar with Indonesia, the following statement will give you a chill down your spine:

"This is a public school. We don't focus on religion," Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told Vause. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

If CNN would have done their report on a Friday, they would have found that all of the students in this government school both muslim and non-muslim alike are all required to dress in Islamic clothing. It would seem that Mr. Hardi Priyono does not consider this to be preferential treatment.

Avoiding any high profile names of individuals or classmates of Obama's named in this blog or who have speaking to the Indonesian media for the last several months. CNN suddenly finds a previously unknown classmate of Obama's who claims that the school has hardly changed in the last 35 years.

"Vause also interviewed one of Obama's Basuki classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who claims that not a lot has changed at the school since the two men were pupils."

Apparently neither Hardi Priyono or Bandug Winadijanto seemed to remember the Indonesian Constitution recently being amended in 2003.

"...MPR approved changes to the Constitution that mandated that the Government increase "faith and piety" in education. This decision, seen as a compromise to satisfy Islamist parties, set the scene for an education bill signed into law in 2003 that restricted religious freedom by forcing elementary and secondary school students to undergo religious instruction, sometimes in a religion other than their own..."

Besuki Primary School is not a madrassa (religious school), it is considered a public school, but if this is what a so called public school is like in Indonesia, it makes you almost wonder what an Indonesian madrassa is really like.

CNN's reporting which was devoid of any real investigation in this story was both misleading, deceptive and appallingly irresponsible. Not only did CNN fail to report the story honestly and accurately, they failed to present a clear and concise picture to the American people of what primary school education is like in Indonesia.

The repercussions from CNN's irresponsible and shoddy reporting have the potential to be far reaching. Both government and non-government agencies working in Indonesia who depend on foreign funds and have been working hard to convince Indonesia's political parties to have and ensure respect for religious freedom and to embrace further democratic reforms will now find it more dificult to raise donations and funds from a placated Western audience who now believe that Indonesia's reform is farther ahead than it actually is.

Ironically it is Indonesia's children who stand to suffer for CNN's irresponsible reporting and lack of journalistic integrity.


The New York Times piles on both Fox and Insight in an editorial entitled "Feeding Frenzy For a Big Story Even If It's False"

To be fair, I have emailed both CNN and the New York Times outlining the points made here and the "Debunking of CNN's Debunk". Busy pursuing their own agenda, I don't expect a response.

Further, I enquired why no one had bothered to investigate what the school was like during the time Obama attended. Obviously that was really what relevant. Basically CNN denunked nothing.


  1. And we have this:

    "The German people were told the Jews were a threat. The same thing is happening here. The Muslims are now the bogey people," he said. "It's a small community. It's easy to pick on them. That's what's being done."

    Tempers are high after the raids, which were accompanied by allegations that the suspects were planning to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier, and post a video of the execution on the Internet.

  2. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Hi, Added a new value add to my blog this weekend - a news widget from I always wanted to show latest news for my keywords in my sidebar. It was very easy with this widget. Just a small copy paste and it was done. Great indeed.

  3. Wrong-o! The Muslims are not the "new" bogey people. Check your history. All of Northern Africa, Turkey, et al, were Christian nations until the 600s when "he who shall not be named" 'cause I can't spell his name right as can no one else - found more converts with the sword than with preaching peace and love toward one's fellowman. Interesting the peaceful Muslims are crushing Christian communities on remote islands in Indonesia in the name of Allah.

    No, any name the Muslims have carved out for themselves they have earned - the Twin Towers come to mind. Young girls raped then killed by their own families in "honor killings" - how pathetic when their families should be defending them, not stoning them. What a wretched legacy...can't run very far from that.

  4. Anonymous3:41 PM

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