Jessica Yellin: Reporters Were “Under Enormous Pressure” From Corporate Executives to Support War

This will come as a shocking revelation for everyone under age two.

CNN’s Jessica Yellin appeared on Anderson Cooper last night to discuss Scott McClellan’s new book. When asked to respond to McClellan’s statement the media was “too deferential” to the Bush administration in the run-up up to the invasion of Iraq. Yellin explained that during this time, she and other members of the media came under “enormous pressure from corporate executives” to present the war positively and “put on positive stories about the president.”

Yellin worked for MSNBC at the time. Yesterday the Washington Post ran a story with a headline stating that MSNBC has been “Leaning Left.”

Here’s the Yellin transcript and video:

COOPER: Jessica, McClellan took press to task for not upholding their reputation. He writes: “The national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The ‘liberal media’ — in quotes — didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

Dan Bartlett, former Bush adviser, called the allegation “total crap.”What is your take? Did the press corps drop the ball?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn’t go that far. I think the press corps dropped the ball at the beginning. When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings. And my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives — and I was not at this network at the time — but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president. I think, over time…

COOPER: You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?

YELLIN: Not in that exact — they wouldn’t say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces. They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive, yes. That was my experience.