Sunday, September 23, 2012

Has CNN abandoned its moral compass?

It seems now, more than ever, CNN is all about getting the scoop without regard for possible consequences.  The network certainly is not unique in how it goes after the big news.  Still, I had believed CNN was somehow a little more professional and even-handed than other networks.

I was so wrong.

Within hours of the cold-blooded murders of four American embassy personnel in Libya, CNN managed to find a personal journal belonging to Ambassador Chris Stevens.  I'm sure CNN staff were not the only ones rooting through the rubble for whatever they could turn into news.  Right away they knew they had fodder for several day's worth of sensational stories.  [I can picture the guy who found it stuffing it under his shirt to prevent anyone else from seeing it.]

Would it have been appropriate to turn the journal over to authorities or immediately arrange to have it returned to Stevens' family?  Of course.  Instead, they copied it and shared it with their CNN colleagues.  Several hours later, it occurred to someone that perhaps the ambassador's family might want to know what had been found.

Scruples and ethics are too often ignored these days.  Because of the ability to spread news within seconds of an event, considering the consequences of such precipitate action is left until it is too late to discern a mistake or a reason it would have been better to withhold certain information.

It's bad enough when reporters stick cameras and microphones in survivors' faces to ask how they felt following a tragedy or terrifying event.  Using the personal musings and observations of another without permission is just plain depraved and unforgivable.  The ambassador no doubt intended to keep his journal private.  Being that he couldn't speak for himself, CNN's trespass is even worse.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Totally agree with you on this, NOTHING is sacred anymore. It's all about getting the scoop. Sickening.
Unfortunately, CNN has also been playing these games, disappointing.