Originally posted at NewsBusters by Matthew Sheffield on October 20, 2006
If the war in Iraq were solely a military engagement, it would have ended long ago. Al Qaeda and its ad hoc allies are militarily insignificant. In a standing battle, they'd be wiped out in a matter of minutes.
The enemy there realizes this and has moved to a strategy that emphasizes small skirmishes and targeting civilians, not in the hopes of winning the day, but in the hopes of intimidating Iraqis--and Americans. They've said as much repeatedly that their goal is to scare us and our allies into yielding.
With that fact in the public record, you'd think no American media outlets would play into this strategy. You'd be wrong, though. CNN continues to play al Qaeda's useful idiot by defending its airing of footage of American troops being sniped at by terrorists saying it's only interested in providing "the unvarnished truth:
"The tape, which came to the network unexpectedly through contact with an insurgent leader, was aired first Wednesday night on "Anderson Cooper 360" and repeated on Thursday.
In one instance, the tape shows a uniformed member of the U.S. military milling in a public area with Iraqis. A shot rings out. CNN fades the screen to black before the result — described as a victim falling forward — is visible. [...]
CNN understood that some critics might find that the tape had public relations benefits for the insurgency, Doss wrote.
"We also understood that this kind of footage is upsetting and disturbing for many viewers," he said. "But after getting beyond the emotional debate, we concluded the tape meets our criteria for newsworthiness."
The decision was subject to "hours of intense editorial debate" at CNN's highest levels, he said. Doss said he had already received several angry responses from viewers of Wednesday's five-minute report, some wondering whether CNN was helping the enemy and others concerned that the tape was inappropriate for young viewers who may have happened upon it.
"Whether or not you agree with us in this case, our goal, as always, is to present the unvarnished truth as best we can," Doss said.
Read more on Matthew Sheffield's blog
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