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   ABC: Your Double Standards Are Showing

Open Letter to Peter Jennings and ABC News:

Your Double Standards Are Showing

by Saif Hassan

Dear Peter and ABC News:

Your "interview" [monologue narrative] of the leader of Jordan was less than what I would call good and solid journalism worthy of our free press and free country. You handled the "King" with kid gloves presumably because he is a US "ally". On the other hand we heard you ask the tough questions of Tariq Aziz the day before. That sort of double standard reflects badly on an otherwise solid news organization and a usually trusted anchorman.

You must know that all despots in the Arab world use similar methods to repress their people. The key to effective repression is FEAR. Just as Saddam has his secret police and informants throughout Iraqi society, so does the Jordanian "King" Abdullah. Just as Saddam relies on the single personality cult in Iraq, so does Abdullah in Jordan. Real dissent is not tolerated, whether in Iraq or in Jordan. Those who are foolhardy (or brave) enough to challenge the despot and his cronies often find themselves or their families brutally victimized.

So when you show the ugly side of one despot and the nice side of the other, you do your viewers, your country and your profession a disservice.

If you do not agree with me, please tell my why, and back it up with substantive and corroborated evidence. I am sure you cannot, because the truth—if you would truly care to find out from Iraqis and Jordanians if they are willing to talk honestly—is that Saddam and Abdullah are actually birds of a feather, the cute British accent, western education and cozy relations with the US and Israel of the latter notwithstanding.

Saif Hassan writes from Los Angeles, Ca.

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This story was published on February 10, 2003.
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