The term “spike” is used in the newspaper industry to describe a story that gets suppressed by an editor. In the pre-word processing days, an editor had a literal spike sitting on his desk. It was attached to a base. He would take the typed story and impale it on the spike to kill it.
The most famous spiked story in recent years was when the editor of Newsweek in 1998 spiked regarding President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Matt Drudge became a multimillionaire by running an expose of this spiking the next day. That led to the impeachment of Clinton by the House of Representatives for perjury and the ultimate sale of Newsweek for the grand sum of one dollar.
In 2011, CNN sent a crew to produce a documentary on what was called the Arab Spring. The crew went to Bahrain, a major oil exporter and ally of the United States government. The crew produced a program, iRevolution. Lo and behold, CNN refused to run it.
CNN is facing major losses of audience. The company is under tight budget constraints. So, when it suppresses a major documentary, which cost $100,000 to produce, something smells fishy.
A woman who was involved in its production asked management for an explanation. She got none. Then she was fired.
Here is a summary by Glenn Greenwald. This appeared in a liberal newspaper in Great Britain.
After Lyon’s crew returned from Bahrain, CNN had no correspondents regularly reporting on the escalating violence. In emails to her producers and executives, Lyon repeatedly asked to return to Bahrain. Her requests were denied, and she was never sent back. She thus resorted to improvising coverage by interviewing activists via Skype in an attempt, she said, “to keep Bahrain in the news”.In March 2012, Lyon was laid off from CNN as part of an unrelated move by the network to outsource its investigative documentaries. Now at work on a book, Lyon began in August to make reference to “iRevolution” on her Twitter account, followed by more than 20,000 people.
The government of Bahrain is an oligarchy. It is a very rich oligarchy. It spent $32 million on PR to overcome bad publicity on its tempest during Arab Spring.
The woman who had her work suppressed went public with this in Twitter.
The following day, a representative of CNN’s business affairs office called Lyon’s acting agent, George Arquilla of Octagon Entertainment, and threatened that her severance payments and insurance benefits would be immediately terminated if she ever again spoke publicly about this matter, or spoke negatively about CNN.
Greenwald asked CNN for its side of the story. It had nothing to say.
“In common with other companies we do not discuss internal personnel matters.” This is called stonewalling.
CNN is dying. Its audience is shrinking. When a liberal news media that bases its marketing on its full coverage gets caught with its spike in hand, its reputation sags among reporters.
This is great. CNN is a dinosaur: a lumbering species from the days before the Internet. It was Ted Turner’s baby 32 years ago, but now it is geriatric.
So is Turner.