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April 28 2003 7:59 AM

(Continued from Page 1)

KURTZ: Compromised? It's what I think! I have a Post piece on April 28 that uses an interview with the celebrated, brave anti-Saddam reporter John Burns to help vindicate CNN. "CNN was in a very different position" than he was, Burns says, "because they had become a kind of by-appointment Western broadcaster to the world."

KURTZ: There! I'm defending them again! That proves my point.

KURTZ: But it's not a conflict if it's what I really think.

KURTZ: How does anybody know with any confidence what I think? CNN pays me thousands of dollars. More important, they're making me famous, beaming my face around the globe. Am I willing to piss them off any more than Eason Jordan was willing to piss Saddam Hussein off? I mean, I always thought I played it straight and tough. Now I'm not so sure!

KURTZ: The "appearance of conflict," that's what you're saying. Whether or not there's a conflict of interest there's the appearance of a conflict of interest. Doesn't the "appearance" rule always end every discussion of every journalist's conflicts? Why should mine be any different?

KURTZ: Would any other paper let any other reporter get away with being paid huge sums by a big corporation he writes about?

KURTZ: They have to let me rewrite the rules! I'm a star! And that will have to be the last word....  When we come back: Is the media making too much of the Laci Peterson story? We'll have all the sensationalistic, tawdry details we can condemn the irresponsible tabloids for printing. ...

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