Most of you that know me know that I am fairly even tempered and rarely get excited about much. Well, I've been excited for over a week since I saw the news that CNN was airing a video showing insurgent snipers shooting our troops. In the name of "journalistic integrity", they have chosen to air video that they secured from our sworn enemy. I haven't seen it, and won't see it, but from the description it depicts the insurgents laying in wait for our soldiers, planning their shot, praying to Allah for help, and then shooting, possibly killing, the soldiers that are protecting CNN's right to free speech. I am really at a loss to understand who thought this was a good idea. That video is of someone's son or daughter that is serving their country voluntarily (they may not have volunteered for this mission but they volunteered to join the Armed Forces). Can you imagine if that was your son/daughter/husband/father/brother/etc, and you either saw it flipping through the channels or someone emailed you the video off the internet? Is knowing the pain that this will cause to Americans worth the story and the ratings? I guess the answer is yes if you work at CNN.
You can read CNN's response here if you can stomach it. You have to scroll down a little bit, as Madonna's adoption is now the top story (who else besides me could care less about Madonna stealing a baby from some father that doesn't speak English). Some of the highlights are:
Of course, we also understood that some might conclude there is a public relations benefit for the insurgents if we aired the material, especially on CNN International.
You think? Wow, I'm glad that we have this kind of brain power behind this network. Of course, the media could care less about aiding and abetting the enemy, so I don't know why I'm surprised.
We also understood that this kind of footage is upsetting and disturbing for many viewers. But after getting beyond the emotional debate, we concluded the tape meets our criteria for newsworthiness.
Substitute "ratings" for "newsworthiness" and I think you have something here. I've got an idea, how about we air some counter-footage of some of our snipers doing their thing? I bet that our guys are at least 10 times as accurate and deadly as the insurgent hacks. That would be still be upsetting and disturbing, but the question is would it help push CNN's agenda?
That decision, as well as the decision to build a piece around the sniper tape -- in fact, all the decisions about this story -- were subject to hours of intense editorial debate at the highest levels here at CNN.
Oh, well at least you thought about it first. I guess that makes it okay. I'm sure the mothers of the 10 soldiers that took a round for you, Mr. Highest Level of CNN, won't mind the footage of her son being shot by the enemies of America shown to the whole world.
Blackfive, who is one of the most well read military bloggers out there, has a nice summary with a little stronger language than I used. You can check it out here if you don't mind a little profantiy.
I for one will not ever watch a minute of CNN again. Ever.