Sunday, August 07, 2011
So as I sit here looking over the latest media news -- because that's how I spend my Sundays these days, I guess -- Donnie Brasco is on TV in the background. Great movie, by the way. Anyway, I've just caught the part of the movie where Pacino's character, Lefty, vouches for Depp's Donnie-- who of course is really an undercover FBI agent named Joe Pistone -- which makes him a connected guy in the Brooklyn mob. Lefty toasts Donnie and says, "Anything happens to you, I'm responsible... I die with you, Donnie." Anyone who's seen the movie knows what eventually happens, given that Donnie's true identity is ultimately revealed.
I bring this up because as I was watching this, in a humorous bit of synchronicity, I was reading a statement from CNN chief Ken Jautz which expresses full-throated support for Piers Morgan. For those who haven't been following the latest developments in the ever-widening News Corp scandal, Heather Mills is claiming that a former journalist for the Mirror Group in the UK has admitted to her that she was the target of phone-hacking back when she was Paul McCartney's girlfriend; Piers Morgan was editor of the Mirror at the time. Morgan of course has consistently and indignantly denied that he knew of any wrongdoing, but Parliament wants to talk to him in person nonetheless.
What's interesting is that Morgan's latest denial of the charges came in a statement issued last Wednesday via a CNN press release. What that means is that CNN is officially going on record with its belief in what Morgan is saying; if he's lying, he's doing it through CNN and is being allowed to with the network's official sanction. If it turns out he's not telling the truth about his involvement in the phone-hacking scandal -- and I'm not saying he is, in fact, involved -- CNN will have participated in the court-of-public-opinion version of suborning perjury. And even Jautz saying that "it's up to Piers Morgan to respond" to the accusations against him won't mitigate that.
I'm not saying that CNN should throw Morgan under the bus, but it should keep in mind that when it officially vouches for somebody -- that guy goes down, it goes down too. To a certain extent, it dies with him.