CNN Finally Does The Right Thing With The Story Of Ambassador Stevens and His Diary (Update!)
Here is the shocking story I hope you didn’t miss. CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported on Wednesday night that U.S. Ambassador Stevens, who was killed in the 9-11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, had been worried about the security threats, the ever growing Islamic extremism, and al-Qaeda’s presence in Libya. Anderson reported that Stevens thought he might be on a hit list. : Finally on Friday, Anderson reported on one of his sources for this. It was Ambassador Stevens’ own journal.
A producer at CNN found the journal three days after the attack. CNN let the family of Ambassador Stevens know they had the journal, and asked if they could report on it. The family told them a firm no. They told CNN they wanted the journal returned, and CNN agreed to do that. CNN then asked if they could at least report that they had found the journal on the site of the attacks, and then had returned it to the family. Again, the family said no.: Not only did they not want CNN : to report on the journal, they did not want it even: referenced, which CNN seem to comply to on the Wednesday reporting, but by Friday, Anderson went ahead and referenced the journal as a source. Get this though. The State department was in on the conference call where CNN promised the family that they would not report on the journal until given permission.
I want anyone to imagine CNN giving this kind of deference to a story that involved the Bush administration. Let’s be real. They wouldn’t have even contacted the family in that case before they reported on it, much less let the State Dept know they were reporting on it. Although it might seem to you that it was the polite and right thing to do for CNN to contact to the family, it had no obligation to do so. You remember hard hitting : journalism, right? Since when did journalism become polite?
The State Department is truly ticked that this story got out.
Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting.
What they’re not owning up to is reading and transcribing Chris’s diary well before bothering to tell the family or anyone else that they took it from the site of the attack. Or that when they finally did tell them, they completely ignored the wishes of the family, and ultimately broke their pledge made to them only hours after they witnessed the return to the Unites States of Chris’s remains.
Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?
Whose first instinct is it??? Umm.. A : news organization. Especially considering that the Obama administration, including our President, had gone on TV falsely telling us that the riots and murders were caused by some stupid video on YouTube, when the truth was Ambassador Stevens saw this coming long before, and it was a planned attacked. Although the administration was finally FORCED to admit it was a terrorist attack that was planned, they are still insisting that this video was the catalyst. : We had been misled by our government, with the President of Libya even admitting it was a planned attack, and CNN happens upon this vital information that proves the Ambassador was afraid of being killed, and CNN goes all polite? Please.
In a statement, CNN said: “We think the public had a right to know what CNN had learned from multiple sources about the fears and warnings of a terror threat before the Benghazi attack which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn’t do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other US personnel. Perhaps the real question here is why is the State Department now attacking the messenger.”
Why is the State Department attacking the messenger? Maybe because the messenger asked the State Department politely if they could pretty please report this? Maybe because CNN let the State Department in on the story? Maybe because CNN disobeyed the State Department? Maybe because you finally let your journalistic instincts overcome your love for this administration?
We are glad CNN finally decided that “the public had a right to know.” I suppose we should be grateful that CNN reported this at all.
Update: “On Sunday morning, BuzzFeed correspondent Michael Hastings emailed Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and personal spokesman at the State Department, asking a series of pointed questions about State’s handling of the Benghazi fiasco.” The e-mails start professionally enough, but soon devolve into crude language and unprofessionalism. Click the link and prepare to be appalled.