It hasn't exactly been a great year for the reputation of cable news giant CNN, and the streak continued this past week. The network is now receiving public scorn from the U.S. State Department after it made the extremely questionable call to discuss some of the contents of murdered Ambassador Christopher Stevens' personal journal on the air.
CNN says that they found Stevens' journal inside the remains of the U.S. consulate building in Benghazi, Libya, about four days after a deadly September 11th attack resulted in the deaths of the Ambassador and three other Americans. CNN claims to have contacted Stevens' family immediately to make arrangements to hand over the journal. For their part, Stevens' family says that CNN made a promise not to report on anything contained within the journal, out of respect for their wishes.
Unfortunately, this past Wednesday saw CNN break that promise, as the network broadcast reports based on the information contained within the journal, without revealing where it came from. Stevens' family were none too happy with CNN's decision, and asked for the state department to intervene on their behalf.
While the journal has since been returned to its rightful owners, CNN has received a very harsh round of condemnations from the state department over the incident. State Department spokesman Philippe Reines personally confirmed that it took several attempts to get CNN to return the journal: "Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting. When the seniormost levels of CNN were finally reached, they needed to be convinced to do the right thing." Reines also referred to the fiasco as "not a proud moment in CNN's history."
CNN responded with the following statement: ""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."
Anderson Cooper, on whose show the offending report was originally broadcast, addressed the statement on air last night, although he neglected to make mention of the family's objections:
"Some of that information was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens in his handwriting. We came upon the journal through our reporting and notified the family. At their request, we returned that journal to them. We reported what we found newsworthy in the ambassador's writings."
What do you guys think? Was CNN right to report on what it found in the journal, or should they be ashamed of themselves?