US embassy cable - 90BAGHDAD3856 (comparison)

SADDAM AND THE WESTERN MEDIA--CONTINUED (comparison)

Identifier: 90BAGHDAD3856
Wikileaks: View 90BAGHDAD3856 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 1990-07-09 07:27:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL US IZ
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Show unredacted version]
R 090727Z JUL 90
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4398
INFO ARABLEAGUE COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY PARIS
=== Original (unredacted) version ====== Wikileaks (redacted) version ===
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 03856 
 
PARIS FOR ROSENBLATT 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PREL, US, IZ 
SUBJ:  SADDAM AND THE WESTERN MEDIA--CONTINUED 
 
REFS:  (A)  BAGHDAD 3788, (B) BAGHDAD 3783 
 
1. (C-ENTIRE TEXT) 
 
2.  SUMMARY  THE GOI HAS PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY 
COMPLAINED ABOUT "DISTORTION" IN THE ABC VERSION 
OF PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSAYN'S INTERVIEW WITH 
DIANE SAWYER.  IT HAS PUBLISHED BOTH THE THREE- 
HOUR "UNCUT" VERSION AND WHAT IT CLAIMS IS THE 
TEXT OF THE 20-MINUTE ABC PROGRAM. 
ONCE AGAIN, SADDAM HAS FOUND "EVIDENCE" OF A U.S. 
CAMPAIGN AGAINST HIM, YET HE IS SOLDIERING ON IN 
HIS NEW POLICY OF AVAILABILITY TO THE WESTERN 
PRESS (LE  FIGARO IS NEXT) AND IN HIS WILLING- 
NESS TO LET THE IRAQI PUBLIC SEE AND HEAR HIM 
UNCUT,WARTS AND ALL.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  FOLLOWING THE MEDIA HEADLINES GIVEN TO 
PRESIDENT BUSH'S 'ID AL-ADHA MESSAGE TO IRAQI 
PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSAYN (REF A) AND SADDAM'S 
CORDIAL REPLY (HIGHLIGHTED IN JULY 6 NEWSPAPERS), 
IRAQ'S GOVERNMENT-DIRECTED ARABIC PRESS LET OUT 
A HOWL OF FRUSTRATION JULY 7 AT ABC AND DIANE 
SAWYER FOR AIRING ONLY A SMALL "DISTORTED" 
PORTION OF SADDAM'S JUNE 24 THREE-HOUR PLUS 
INTERVIEW WITH SAWYER.  "DELIBERATE DISTORTION 
IN CONVERSATION OF THE LEADER WITH AMERICAN TV 
NETWORK:  THIS IS THE SPURIOUS DEMOCRACY OF THE 
AMERICANS."  THE ARTICLE ACCOMPANYING THE HEAD- 
LINES DEVELOPS THESE THEMES AND INVITES READERS 
TO COMPARE WHAT ABC AIRED (TEXT PRINTED JULY 7) 
WITH TEXT OF THE FULL INTERVIEW  (PUBLISHED 
JUNE 30), TO SEE JUST HOW DISTORTED U.S. REPORT- 
ING ON IRAQ IS. 
 
4.  U/S HAMDUN MADE THE SAME COMPLAINT ABOUT 
"DISTORTION" TO US PRIVATELY, THOUGH IN MORE 
TEMPERATE TERMS, ON JUNE 30.  WHEN WE POINTED 
OUT THAT COMPRESSING 3 HOURS INTO 20 MINUTES 
WOULD UNAVOIDABLY REMOVE SOME OF THE CONTEXT 
OF SPECIFIC REMARKS, HAMDUN SAID HE MEANT THERE 
WAS DELIBERATE AND NEGATIVE DISTORTION (HE HAD 
SEEN THE ABC VERSION). 
 
5.  COMMENT:  CLEARLY, THE ABC INCIDENT HAS 
FUELLED SADDAM'S BELIEF THAT THE WESTERN MEDIA 
ARE ENGAGED IN AN ANTI-IRAQ CAMPAIGN--EDITORIALS 
ARE ALREADY MAKING THAT POINT--AND ADD TO THE 
SENSE THAT IRAQ WILL NOT GET A "FAIR" HEARING 
IN THE WEST.  NEVERTHELESS, SADDAM IS NOT THROWING 
IN THE TOWEL; HE IS EXPECTED TO GRANT AN 
INTERVIEW TO  LE FIGARO THIS WEEK, AND 40 MORE 
EUROPEAN (AND ONE JAPANESE) JOURNALISTS HAVE 
SENT IN THEIR REQUESTS. 
 
6.  IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT NOT ONLY HAVE 
THE IRAQIS REACTED TO THE "DISTORTION" BY 
RUNNING SIX HOURS OF SADDAM'S INTERVIEWS BUT HAVE 
PRINTED WHAT WAS AIRED BY ABC, INCLUDING MATERIAL 
THAT WAS EXCISED FROM THE VERSION OF THE INTER- 
VIEW AS BROADCAST HERE.  THE JULY 7 ARABIC 
PRESS TRANSCRIPTS OF THAT INTERVIEW CONTAIN, FOR 
EXAMPLE, SADDAM'S DENIAL THAT HE EVER KILLED 
ANYONE AND HIS EXCHANGE WITH SAWYER ABOUT PUNISH- 
MENT FOR THOSE WHO INSULT THE PRESIDENT.  BUT, 
AS WE HAVE SAID BEFORE, IT SHOULD BE CLEAR TO 
EVERYONE THAT SADDAM HUSAYN IS FEELING COMFORT- 
ABLE AND CONFIDENT:  HE PERMITTED ALL IRAQIS 
TO READ AND SEE HIS INTERVIEWS, DEMONSTRATING 
THAT HE DOES NOT MIND APPEARING BEFORE THEM AS 
LESS THAN IMPECCABLE. 
 
7.  ACTION REQUESTED.  WE ARE MOST KEEN TO SEE 
A VIDEO OF SAWYER'S INTERVIEW WITH SADDAM, IN 
ORDER TO COMPARE IT WITH THE TWO VERSIONS 
PUBLISHED HERE. 
 
GLASPIE 
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 03856 
 
PARIS FOR ROSENBLATT 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PREL, US, IZ 
SUBJ:  SADDAM AND THE WESTERN MEDIA--CONTINUED 
 
REFS:  (A)  BAGHDAD 3788, (B) BAGHDAD 3783 
 
1. (C-ENTIRE TEXT) 
 
2.  SUMMARY  THE GOI H...

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