Sunday, September 23, 2012

CNN Reports from Amb Stevens' Personal Journal Without Disclosure

What has happened to our country's defense of freedom of speech and respect for personal property?  Friday we learned that taxpayers are funding an apology commercial to Pakistan - to the tune of $70,000 - starring both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The television ads in Pakistan feature clips of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during press appearances in Washington in which they condemned the video. Their words were subtitled in Urdu.

"We absolutely reject its content and message," said Clinton in the advertisement.

A caption on the ad reads: "Paid Content."

The advertisements end with the seal of the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. It was not known how many channels were airing the ads or whether they were being run in other Muslim countries or just Pakistan.

An embassy spokeswoman declined comment.

In an email later Thursday, the embassy sent out a link to video of ordinary Americans condemning the anti-Islam film, which appeared on YouTube
Correct me if I missed the President of the United States and our Secretary of State voice a full throated support of our First Amendment.  It is easy to understand why Obama's opponents would mention this continuing apology tour to those in the Middle East.

It is bad enough that the State Department, Sec Clinton, President Obama and Susan Rice spent nine full days denying that the atrocities committed in Cairo and then Libya which preceded the rest of the countries hosting anti-American demonstrations and attacks, denying that fact that it was a pre-planned  al-Qaeda terrorist attack.  The American media has largely given them a pass and not pursued questioning of this silly meme.  Regular Americans easily connected the dots that a deadly murderous attack on the consulate and safe house in Libya on September 11 was no coincidence.

The premeditated murder of Ambassador Stevens is a big deal. A very big deal. He is the first ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.  Also during the failed administration of a Democratic president, I might add. Never mind the fact that an attack on our embassy is an act of war.

Late Friday, we learned that CNN recovered Ambassador Stevens journal and reported on some of the written entries, without bothering to disclose that bit of information. 

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. 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.

As we said, we had multiple sources on Anderson Cooper's report Wednesday night.

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. We reached out to the family of Ambassador Stevens within hours of retrieving the journal and returned it through a third party, within less than 24 hours from the time we found it. Out of respect to the family, we have not quoted from or shown the journal.

Let that sink in for a minute. First, the President of the United States and our Secretary of State fail to defend our First Amendment rights as a free people, living in the United States of America, with a full throated voice and instead, throw the filmmaker under the bus and haul him in for "questioning" as they send a request to YouTube to take the video down.  Then we learn that a cable news network, CNN, finds the dead ambassador's personal journal and not only grabs it but takes the liberty to open it and read it. These are not his official diplomatic papers, this is his personal journal. Then they want credit for send the personal journal along to his family - within 24 hours - by way of a third party. How noble of them. Not.

I agree with this guy:

State Dept. spokesman Philippe Reines said in a statement to The Huffington Post that "given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting."
The family of Ambassador Stevens is angry.

But the State Dept. has a much different view of what transpired, claiming the network "completely ignored the wishes of the family" in reporting on the contents of Stevens' journal before returning it to them. Reines wrote that CNN "ultimately broke their pledge made to them only hours after they witnessed the return to the Unites States of Chris's remains."
While I agree that the details of events leading up to the murder of four Americans in Libya, including that of our ambassador, are screaming out for transparency and the families involved deserve swift and accurate answers, who gave CNN the right to steal a public servant's personal writings and report on them? That simply does not pass the ick test. It is, in fact, disgusting behavior and absolutely smacks of a cable network trying to win ratings at the expense of respectful behavior towards our dead.

We now know the narrative from the beginning of this period of unrest in the Middle East from our own administration has been deliberately false and misleading, to state it kindly.  We read reports that warnings were forthcoming days before the attack in Libya and Cairo occurred.  We now the President of the United States habitually skipped intelligence briefings - including the days before and after the murder of the Americans in Libya - and that he continues to campaign for re-election and visit talk shows instead of addressing our nation and the world on the gravity of the attacks.  The media ignores it as if by doing so, it will all go away and their candidate of choice will be re-elected.  Why let the deaths of four Americans throw off Barack Obama's re-election? 

This is what happens after four years of foreign policy appeasement and incoherence in consistent decision making to deal with the changing world. Our world is a dangerous place. To acquiesce and still his head in the sand is below the dignity of the presidency. Leading from behind is a show of weakness and it is killing us.

We deserve better.  And we deserve a complete and full investigation of the actions of the State Department and Hillary Clinton in this story. Anything less is unacceptable.

This is not going away.

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