Last Friday, CNN reported on a journal belonging to the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens found by the news network at the US Embassy in Libya. The State Department issued an incredibly damning statement over the weekend, calling CNN’s actions “disgusting” and “indefensible.” The situation also caused an email spat between a BuzzFeed journalist and one of Hillary Clinton’s aides. Finally, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has responded to the controversy.
In Cooper’s “Keeping Them Honest” segment last night, he responded to the State Department’s criticism, defending the reporting of the journal’s contents on his show.
He said that the network’s decision wasn’t exploitative but rather an investigation into “how well or how poorly the U.S. government handled its responsibility to protect” Stevens, a topic which has become controversial since the fallout in the Middle East. Cooper maintained that Stevens’ privacy wasn’t violated in CNN’s reporting and that his journal was not emailed around the newsroom. Rather, the report used the journal’s contents to portray the embassy attack as a “deliberate terrorist attack,” not a reaction to the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims as President Obama’s administration claimed.
Cooper said that the network notified Stevens’ family about the journal mere hours after it was obtained and that they used three other sources to confirm what the ambassador had written. On why the journal was significant to CNN in the first place, Cooper said:
“This was not broadcasting gossip from the pages of someone’s diary. This was not reporting salacious details of someone’s private life. This was reporting information that could impact the national security of the United States and the safety of U.S. installations in other countries… We think you need to know what happened to U.S. personnel in Benghazi.”
You get ’em, Silver Fox.
Here’s video, courtesy of Mediaite: