Just last week I pointed out that anti-Communists behind the Iron Curtain didn't tell reporters how they hated the Communist regimes. I stated flatly that people under a Communist regime are afraid to talk to the Western press they fear because the media might turn them in to gain brownie points with the Communist regime.

I didn't know whether I should say that because it sounded so extreme.

See World View for April 5, 2003, On Popular Opinion the Media are Clueless and the Experts are Even More Clueless.

This week CNN publicly admitted it did something very similar. A top CNN executive, Eason Jordan, was told by Saddam's brother that, when two of Saddam's family came back after defecting to the West, they would be killed.

Jordan didn't warn them that they would be killed. Jordan said he did it to keep the CNN office staff in Baghdad safe.

Jordan also admitted that CNN hid stories of the Iraqi regime torturing people so Saddam would keep cooperating with CNN.

On MSNBC, a respectable conservative was rubbing this in, denouncing CNN with shock and outrage. One of his guests calmly pointed out that almost all the media in Baghdad covered for Saddam. He said only a fool wouldn't know that.

Of course any fool would know that. But every conservative has to say that the media are filled with honest, patriotic people. The fact that the media routinely sell people out is something everybody knows but no one is allowed to say.

CNN is the only cable network that has been allowed to have a Havana office. Do you think any sane Cuban would tell CNN what they really think of Castro?

But every conservative will tell you that, while Ted Turner may be mistaken in his political views on some issues, he is a gentleman and a scholar and a patriotic American.

But as soon as CNN is caught red-handed and begins admitting one of its sellouts, we are told that the media all sell out, not just CNN. And nobody remembers that a week ago every conservative commentator would have denied it.

That's how it always works. One minute it's McCarthyite to say something and the next minute everybody admits it's something anybody but a fool would know about. This is exactly the phenomenon I talk about in the World View for March 15, 2003, "Whatever Happened to the Communist Conspiracy?"

In the 1950's you were not a respectable conservative if you said that many if not most liberals loved the Communists.

By 1968 hard-core liberals hit the streets praising the Viet Cong. Huge crowds were marching with Viet Cong flags and shouting their support for Ho Chi Min.

To be a respectable conservative you have to condemn whatever liberals say isn't true. What liberals forbid one day is something everybody always knew the next day. Conservatives have to know what the liberal line is every day. Respectables must follow that line slavishly and talk about how wise and honest and consistent liberals are.

You cannot be a media conservative unless liberals call you a "respectable" conservative. Every respectable conservative has to say that leftist may be wrong, but they are gentlemen and patriots and honest and honorable.

They aren't. But then again neither are the conservatives who say that.