CNN criticised for report on US envoy's diary

A US government spokesperson sharply criticised CNN, saying the network had reported on the diary of ambassador Christopher Stevens after his death at the US consulate in Libya despite the objections of his family.

State Department spokesperson Philippe Reines said on Saturday that CNN took Stevens' personal journal from the site where he and three other US citizens were killed in an armed attack in Benghazi on September 11 and used it in reporting on the story despite the express wishes of his family members.

"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?" Reines said in a statement.

CNN responded that it did not initially report on the existence of the journal out of respect for the family, but ultimately "felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting."

"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," CNN said in a written statement emailed to the Reuters news agency.

"Perhaps the real question here is why the State Department is now attacking the messenger," CNN said in the statement.

In a story posted on its website, CNN reported that it found the journal on the floor of the consulate compound, which it said was "largely unsecured."

CNN described the diary as seven pages of handwriting in a hand-bound book and said it contained tips about the situation in Libya that the network corroborated with other sources.

In his statement, Reines said that CNN staff members asked Stevens' family members at least several times in phone calls if the network could report on the contents and were repeatedly told that the family wanted to see it first.

"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," he said.

 

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • 5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus
    5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus

    As Christians worldwide gather for Easter to celebrate their belief in the death and rebirth of Jesus, researchers continue to delve into the mysteries that surround the man. The following are five questions about Jesus that, for now, at least, remain unanswered. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke argued that the Star of Bethlehem (a celestial event long associated with Jesus' birth) may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Other researchers have claimed that a similar conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter occurred in October of 7 B.C. Still others have claimed that Jesus was born in the spring, based on stories about shepherds watching over their flocks in fields on the night of Jesus' birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter.