Sunday, February 04, 2007

Watch The Story CBS Won't (But Should) Air On The Evening News

A journalist friend passes on this email and video link from CBS reporter Lara Logan (I have located the piece on YouTube and posted it directly below). Apparently CBS would not air the piece, though it was a news report by their Senior Correspondent in Baghdad (Ms. Logan). The video details the horrific fighting taking place on Haifa Street, which at the moment is Bloodshed Central. But the story of these sectarian battles, as it turns out--and as the video clearly demonstrates--is muddier and far more worrisome than many Americans might think. For one thing, the Iraqi police are clearly torturing and murdering civilians. And an Iraqi man states at the end that he believes the Americans are to blame, surely a sentiment that is not his alone.

Ms. Logan writes:

The story below only appeared on our CBS website and was not aired on CBS. It is a story that is largely being ignored, even though this is taking place every single day in central Baghdad, two blocks from where our office is located.

Our crew had to be pulled out because we got a call saying they were about to be killed, and on their way out, a civilian man was shot dead in front of them as they ran.

I would be very grateful if any of you have a chance to watch this story and pass the link on to as many people you know as possible. It should be seen. And people should know about this.

If anyone has time to send a comment to CBS - about the story - not about my request, then that would help highlight that people are interested and this is not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore.

Many, many thanks.

Here is a link to the video on the CBS website.

You can email CBS here (scroll to the very bottom of the page and click Contact Us).

A courageous journalist does her job. Brava, Lara. May you stay safe while you continue to shine a light into the grim recesses of this very dark war.

Hat tip to Lisa.

UPDATE: Right on cue, right-wing bloggers are questioning the video, suggesting that CBS and/or Lara Logan obtained some of the footage from Al Qaeda itself and that to air it on the news would be tantamount to furthering anti-American propaganda. Michelle Malkin's tone is particularly vituperative (even for her); she spikes her commentary with sarcastic scare quotes and leads the post with what must be the only unflattering photograph of the attractive Ms. Logan in existence. CBS responds to Ms. Malkin et. al. on its own blog (bolds mine):

I asked CBS News Vice President Paul Friedman about the video.

"I can assure you this was not from Al-Qaeda," said Friedman, who declined to identify the source. "Whenever we can identify the source of information or video, we want to do that," he added. "There are some rare cases when we have to protect the source. In this case, we needed to do so, because it’s literally a matter of life and death."

"The fact that same video shows up in more than one place is something that happens every day," said CBS News spokeswoman Sandra Genelius. "We occasionally use video from an Al-Qaeda Web site and we identify it. In this case, we didn't get it from Al-Qaeda, so we didn't identify it as such."

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