I posted an earlier diary today titled
overzealous CNN outrage mongers admit finding, reporting from slain Amb journal, w/o attribution in which I linked to and reported on Michael Calderone's HuffPo piece detailing CNN's unauthorized, and curiously ghoulish use of the recently slain Ambassador Chris Steven's journal as a primary source for a "scoop."
There were some heated debates in the comments about how ethical (or not) CNN's actions were, but for the most part, the diary scrolled away unnoticed. I thought maybe I was being overly sensitive about human decency again.
Still, I reluctantly left the diary hopiing CNN's actions and dalliance in yellow journalism would be revisited by somebody.
It has been.
As the day wore on the story began evolving, and now CNN is being called to account on Yahoo, in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other places I have yet to review.
CNN itself has been frantically editing, amending, amplifying, deflecting and pointing fingers as their scruples came under attack throughout the day.
follow me below the squiggly for links and more
(from my earlier diary, linked above:)
HuffPo's Micheal Calderone is up with a piece about CNN's Anderson Cooper's admission that they had "found" Ambassador Christopher Steven's journal shortly after his murder at the Benghazi consulate.
On Wednesday on his show, "Anderson Cooper 360," Cooper told Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that "a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens' thinking told us that in the months before his death he talked about being worried about the never-ending security threats that he was facing in Benghazi and specifically about the rise in Islamic extremism and growing al Qaeda presence." The source, Cooper continued, "also mentioned [Stevens] being on an al Qaeda hit list."Perhaps to mitigate the ethical lapse, CNN, when pressed, elaborated:
But what Cooper didn't reveal at the time was that CNN's sourcing was tied, at least partially, to Stevens' thinking as written in his personal journal.
"We came upon the journal through our reporting and notified the family," a CNN spokeswoman told The Huffington Post late Friday night. "At their request, we returned it to them. We reported on what we found newsworthy in the Ambassador's writings."Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that:
CNN obtained a personal journal that belonged to the slain American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and broadcast reports based on its contents against the wishes of the Stevens family, according to relatives and State Department officials who were asked to intervene by the family.And even more startlingly, from the WSJ:
Family members and U.S. officials said they were surprised when CNN anchor Anderson Cooper appeared to use the information from the journal, attributing it to a source familiar with Mr. Stevens's thinking.>
We know that MSNBC has been beating the pants off CNN lately and their only hope to compete in the ratings is for a big international story to break, but ginning one up,
creating the illusion of negligence on the part of the Obama Administration so you can drag out the usual cadre of National Security hawks to claim incompetence at the expense of journalistic ethics is pathetic.
This is not the first time, only the most recent, that CNN has advanced right wing tropes for what seems to be a naked bid at drawing viewers and promoting themselves as intrepid reporters, ethics be damned.
It seems especially despicable knowing the family of the deceased expressly asked them not to.
State Dept. weighs in:
Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting.UPDATE: According to USA Today in a statement :
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?
When a junior person at CNN called, they didn't say, 'Hello, I know this is a terrible time, but I'm sure you want your son's diary, where do you want it sent?' They instead took the opportunity to ask the family if CNN could report on its contents. Contents known only to Chris Stevens, and those at CNN who had already invaded his privacy.
When the seniormost levels of CNN were finally reached, they needed to be convinced to do the right thing. But not before they took a second shot at convincing the family to let them report on the contents. A family member made it crystal clear directly to CNN that they wanted Chris's diary and would not make any other decisions until then. But that wasn't fast enough for CNN, so they helpfully offered to send the family the transcript they'd already made and passed around, to put a rush on it for their own purposes.
It was then made clear to them, for what must have been the fourth time in the same call, that they wanted to look at it privately, together as a family before making any decisions. Period. CNN finally heard their request enough times that they had to accept it, agreed to abide by the clear wishes of the Stevens family, and pledged not to use the diary or even allude to its existence until hearing back from the family.
But the Stevens family was never given that chance. I guess four days was as long as CNN could control themselves, so they just went ahead and used it. Entirely because they felt like it. Anderson Cooper didn't even bother to offer any other explanation as to why the network broke its promise to the family. And only did so after being contacted by a reporter asking about the diary and their convoluted sourcing.
How do they justify that? They have yet to even try to defend the indefensible. Not a proud episode in CNN's history. I'm sure there are many good people in the CNN newsroom equally appalled by this decision and wondering who above them authorized this course of action.
"CNN defended its use of the journal's contents"
and asked "why is the State Department now attacking the messenger."To borrow a term of art from Pres. Bill /Clinton, there's some brass for you.
"CNN did not initially report on the existence of a journal out of respect for the family, but we felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting, which we did," the channel said.
The public has a right to know what CNN learned from "multiple sources" about fears and warnings of a terror threat before the Benghazi attack, the channel said, "which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn't do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other U.S. personnel."