February 18, 2011

SO, HOLD ON A SECOND....:

Objectively speaking, this is reporting (Leonard Pitts Jr., 2/17/11, Detroit Free Press)

[I]t is ultimately not how he said -- but what he said -- that has drawn criticism of CNN's Anderson Cooper this week from several of his fellow journalists.

In his reports on Egypt's crisis, Cooper repeatedly scored Mubarak's government for untruths. He did it in pointing out that journalists had been beaten and detained, in contradiction of the government's contention that they were being allowed to report freely. And in discussing a claim that the government had directed that protesters not be pursued or harassed. And in dismissing a government statement that only 11 people had been injured in the protests when an independent human rights group put the figure at close to 300.

For that, Cooper was ridiculed by James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times.

CNN media critic Howard Kurtz questioned whether Cooper should be "taking sides." And Liz Trotta said that "any correspondent worth his salt knows that you shouldn't be making editorial comments." She, amusingly enough, is employed by Fox News.

All three critics concede Cooper was accurate; the regime did lie. Yet they question whether it was journalistically ethical to say it.


...none of us take seriously the notion that pressmen are impartial as to domestic politics but we're supposed to expect them to not choose sides between dictators and the oppressed? Not even to report accurately if it involves pointing out that the dictator is a liar? Instead, the press should know the truth but not report it?

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2011 7:06 AM
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