Posted on | September 23, 2012 | 23 Comments
We now know that, despite warnings from multiple sources — including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens — about the rising threat from Islamic extremists in Libya, the Obama administration failed to take necessary precautions. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans, the Obama administration dishonestly tried to deceive the public by characterizing the attack as part of a “spontaneous” protest inspired by an obscure video. As the truth of the matter has slowly emerged, the Obama administration has sought to avoid admitting its errors and deceptions, and instead attempted to distract from this catastrophic failure of its own policies by attacking media outlets that are reporting honestly on the Libyan disaster.
CNN news reported that Ambassador Stevens was concerned that he was on an “al-Qaeda hit list,” but the network failed to disclose that one source of that report was the ambassador’s journal, which the network’s reporters had recovered from the ruins of the consulate.
The State Department has scapegoated the network for that decision, and you can see the predictable dogpile at Memeorandum, although news that is favorable to the Obama administration — e.g., “secret video” — never provokes this kind of reaction. PJ Media’s Rick Moran comments on the ethical question:
One can sympathize with the family on this issue, but the murder of an American ambassador and publishing his thoughts leading up to his death is a story with worldwide significance. CNN felt it had an obligation to selectively air those thoughts, only after confirming them with other sources, and keeping secret any personal and intimate details contained in the journal.
It’s a rare day when I agree with Rick Moran, but he’s right here: While CNN’s conduct is certainly subject to criticism, that pales in comparison to the “worldwide significance” — the legitimate news value — of the story they were reporting. Attempting to distract from this important story by trying to indict CNN before the court of public opinion? Predictable and wrong:
CNN broke a pledge to the late ambassador’s family that it wouldn’t report on the diary, said State Department spokesman Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a blistering statement, Reines called CNN’s actions “indefensible.”
The channel said in the story online that it took “newsworthy tips” from Stevens’ diary and confirmed them with other sources. Citing an unidentified source “familiar with Stevens’ thinking,” CNN said that the ambassador was concerned about security threats in Benghazi and a “rise in Islamic extremism.”
In a statement Saturday, CNN defended its use of the journal’s contents and asked “why is the State Department now attacking the messenger.”
“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.”