Anderson Cooper | Hillary Clinton | Libya | News

State Dept Says CNN 'Indefensible' For Journal Use: VIDEO

CooperJournal

Last Wednesday, Anderson Cooper and his team at CNN issued a report that they said delved deep into slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens' political mindset. The information was said to have come from someone familiar with Stevens' thinking — and as it turns out was based partially on Stevens' journal. The item had been found by a CNN team, and details contained in it were used to build the CNN report.

"The information for that report, like all of CNN's reporting, was carefully vetted. Some of that information was found in a personal journal of Ambassador Stevens in his handwriting," said Cooper. "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. A reporter followed up on what we found newsworthy, as I said, in the ambassador's writings."

CNN provided more information yesterday, "The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded. CNN notified Stevens’ family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family’s request provided it to them via a third party. The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book.”

Right-wingers are already jumping down Cooper and company's collective throat, and so too is the State Department, which called CNN's use of the dead man's journal "indefensible".

Read more AFTER THE JUMP.

"What [CNN is] 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," said Philippe Reines, an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to Politico.

"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.”

Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting,' he said. He also wondered, "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 then call the family?"

CNN, clearly on the defensive, offered further explanation, and a barb at the State Department: "The real question here is why is the State Department now attacking the messenger... The reason CNN ultimately reported Friday on the existence of the journal was because leaks to media organizations incorrectly suggested CNN had not quickly returned the journal, which we did."

Watch Cooper explain the journal report, via Mediaite:

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Comments

  1. It was once called ''investigative journalism'' to protect families from coverups, usually after a Str8 was 'hit-man' killed and made-out to be a 'homosexual' to blame we Gays.

    Posted by: Clayton Winton | Sep 23, 2012 1:21:55 PM


  2. Now that Anderson has come out of the gay closet the anti-gay Right Wing Christians are attacking him much like the CIA attacks anybody they do not like, after all we all know that a lot of government workers in other countries are working for the CIA. Here the anti-gay Christians are being told by the CIA how to use propaganda to destroy gays who come out and by doing so support the LGBT Civil Rights movement.

    Posted by: bob | Sep 23, 2012 1:29:38 PM


  3. The real scandal here isn't AC or CNN's behavior, it's the U.S. government, what they knew beforehand, why wasn't appropriate security measures/precautions in place [the Canadians closed their consulates and embassy]. The $ spent by our government on security [public and private contractors] and intelligence gathering makes it indefensible this should have occurred. Heads should roll, at the top.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 23, 2012 1:41:39 PM


  4. Look, everyone wants to throw blame around about the attack and who knew what and when did they know it and all that but the bottom line is, CNN's first obligation as far as the journal was concerned was to return it to the dead mans family. Period. CNN and Anderson Cooper had the resposiblity to respect the pivacy of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens and they didn't. Shame on them!

    Posted by: Nathan | Sep 23, 2012 1:57:41 PM


  5. @Ratbastard, please tell me you were just as outraged the bush Administration after 9-11, asking what they knew and when they knew it.

    Posted by: Frank | Sep 23, 2012 1:58:23 PM


  6. I'm a little conflicted here because, on the one hand, that what Stevens had to say was newsworthy -- simply because he's an utterly fascinating figure and a true testament to a public servant -- but on the other hand, the way CNN went about airing it was craven.

    They should have at least given the book back to the family for a full day before reporting, and maybe spoken with the family to take their thoughts into consideration on any particular aspect of the journal, limited though the pages written in it were.

    Posted by: R | Sep 23, 2012 2:08:03 PM


  7. YES FRANK! Why wouldn't I?! It's got NOTHING to do with 'The Left' or 'The Right' [they're one in the same at the highest levels, actually; our lame 2 party system is a joke].

    I AM NOT REPUBLICAN

    I AM NOT DEMOCRAT

    I AM NOT CONSERVATIVE [as defined in the U.S. mainstream]

    I AM NOT 'PROGRESSIVE' i.e. LIBERAL [as defined by the U.S. mainstream]

    I AM NOT A PARTY MAN

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 23, 2012 2:08:20 PM


  8. I AM JUST A TROLL WHO HATES BLACKS

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 23, 2012 2:13:59 PM


  9. Is it just me, or is anyone else "over" Anderson Cooper ??

    Posted by: Alex | Sep 23, 2012 2:17:30 PM


  10. On one hand what they did was disgusting. On the other hand, that Journal might have never reached the family or the state department and would have been trashed or looted by locals.

    CNN should have just turned it over to the State Dept. Anderson is/was CIA he should have known better. Then again there's CIA planted all over the newspapers and media.
    CNN just needs to stop the NEWS CORP strategy they are on and fire their damned consultants. News Corp is a sinking ship. Their game has been exposed and everything they touch is toxic. CNN should not have to resort to such tactics and the board of executives should know this.

    Posted by: chris255 | Sep 23, 2012 2:33:01 PM


  11. You would think that as someone who JUST CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET that A.C. would have some empathy for the private thoughts and personal privacy of Amb. Stevens.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Sep 23, 2012 3:09:28 PM


  12. One of the tabs on Cooper's AC 360 webpage is titled "Keeping them Honest" and not divulging that the information was from the deceased diplomats journal was extremely dishonest. I think that AC and CNN knew that upfront what they were doing was wrong and that was the reason they held back on the admission. AC and CNN missed the mark regarding honesty and violated this mans privacy, very poor form on both their parts.

    Posted by: lk | Sep 23, 2012 4:11:05 PM


  13. very sleazy reporting- I'm sure it's a decision the whole team will regret when they consider basic decency and not just getting a scoop. Gay, straight, right, left- none of that matters. This was a major fail for them.

    Posted by: Rob | Sep 23, 2012 4:33:30 PM


  14. I've read a fair amount about this "controversy," and in some ways CNN behaved badly, only giving Steven's diary to his family after extreme pressure.

    But all they promised was to not use it as a singular primary source, not to pretend they'd never seen it. Anderson Cooper's segment was based on other sources who confirmed what Chris Stevens wrote.

    Frankly the only reason I can see for the family's desire to suppress it, since it didn't seem to contain private, personal details, is they were hoping to later sell it. They wouldn't even have known it existed if CNN hadn't found it and reported about it.

    Posted by: Caliban | Sep 23, 2012 4:46:32 PM


  15. Considering that the Guardian is reporting that the NY Times lets the CIA vet their stories and op-ed pieces, this is somewhat heroic. It would not be clear that the family owns the journal anyway, as it might be US Govt. property.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 23, 2012 5:01:58 PM


  16. "Right-wingers are already jumping down Cooper and company's collective throat"

    That's not true at all. If anything, conservatives are surprised CNN had the guts to say something which made Obama look bad. CNN has earned some credibility it desperately needed.

    Posted by: Jason (the commenter) | Sep 23, 2012 5:14:48 PM


  17. Anderson/CNN been Obama bashing for a long time, their favorite go to administration critics are lying scumbags Ari Fleischer, Mary Matalin, Bay Buchanan and Anderson always gives the bitter and resentful John McCain a challenge free platform to disparage the President. Their latest attempt at smearing the Obama Administration is no surprise to me.

    Posted by: Zee | Sep 23, 2012 5:56:12 PM


  18. The mistake CNN made was in giving the family a veto on the use of the diary in the first place. The media rarely, if ever, gives sources such a veto, particularly where there is information of national interest. The obvious reason they don't give vetoes is bcause in all cases where there is sensitive or personal information, the source or his family or representatives can stop or delay a story by raising the privacy issue. That's just not how journalism is done.

    The State Department's attack on CNN was over the top. My prediction is that in the next few days, the media will see the attack on CNN for what it is, an attack on press freedom. I would not be surprised if the media then turns around to defending CNN and attacking the State Department. This is not over. I will be watching for the Washington Post and NYT's take on this.

    Posted by: Jacoby | Sep 23, 2012 6:24:52 PM


  19. Jacoby....that is utter bullsh** it wasn't a "source"...it was a man's personal diary, used with zero permission ...shame on you, and shame on CNN and shame on Anderson Cooper. God what has "journalism" come to ? I thought CNN was the last holdout for actual journalism and not sensationalism and opportunism. I have to go take a shower now I feel so grossed out.

    Posted by: Alex | Sep 23, 2012 7:41:08 PM


  20. Alex: There is a long history of investigative journalism based on information that the media should not have. When confidential government records or surreptiously recorded calls are leaked to the media, this is often in breach of confidentiality provisions government employees sign or against privacy laws. However, the media has routinely used such leaked information in stories when in the public interest, on the theory that the public interest overrides the individual's interests in privacy.

    In this case, we have a personal diary containing the late ambassador's concerns about security threats and safety. If the government continues to say that security was adequate and that there was no reason to believe that there was a safety threat, I think CNN would have been faulted for not using the diary. I have no problem with CNN's conclusion in this case that public interest was greater than the ambassador's privacy interest in his diary, particularly where the information in issue is not really about his personal life but his thoughts as to security. CNN was doing exactly what we expect of a free press.

    So I guess I have a different take on this than the State Department. Like I said, I think it is only a matter of time before other media come in support of CNN.

    PS: keep your finger wagging to yourself.

    Posted by: Jacoby | Sep 23, 2012 8:02:27 PM


  21. I will make assumption that that journal was a private, personal document.
    That said, what CNN did was an outrageous
    invasion of that man's privacy, fatally wounded or not.
    CNN has been drifting to the right for some time now and this is the most blatant example of that so far. Anderson Cooper should be -ashamed and held accountable- for his and his staff's Geraldo Rivera-like tactics.
    His being "out" or "not out" is not, repeat not, the issue.
    The State Dept is right that what CNN did was unconscionable and reeks of the stink that comes off of Fox News.

    Posted by: BrokebackBob | Sep 24, 2012 7:03:59 PM


  22. hey Jacoby....still waiting for the onslaught of support to CNN for withholding "intelligence" from a crime scene for their own "investigative journalism"...please...CNN should be investigated for criminal misconduct for tampering with a crime scene and withholding the source of the information as long as they did. I've gone from "wagging" my finger to you. to "giving" you the finger.

    Posted by: Alex | Sep 28, 2012 8:43:16 PM


  23. Well Alex, CNN's journalism got the government and especially Hillary into a lot of trouble and rightfully. The CIA would have been only to glad to withhold the journal had they found it first and it would have never seen the light of day had CNN not had the guts to use it as a source. Indentendend news should simply dish out the facts without caring of it will make the CIA or the government looks bad. That's what they did, simple as that. Of course the government was going to criticize them of that. It was almost comical to see them be all offended by someone *gasp* daring to publish facts that would make them look bad. How dare he?

    Posted by: Jake | Mar 6, 2013 9:12:54 AM


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