In defense of CNN

The most trusted name in news is getting pilloried for publishing details from the late Ambassador Stevens' journal. Critics ought to leave CNN alone

Edward Morrissey

On Monday, The Week asked a rather strange question in response to a disclosure from CNN regarding its reporting on the sacking of our consulate in Benghazi and the assassination of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The network, for which I occasionally write essays for no compensation, had reported for several days on the Stevens murder and the attack on Benghazi while crediting the information to an unnamed source familiar with Stevens' thinking on security before the attack. On Friday, however, Anderson Cooper finally revealed that the information came from a journal written by Stevens that one of CNN's producers found three days after the attack.

Perhaps a question could be asked over whether CNN should have specified its source material more honestly. The ambiguous sourcing left an impression that they were talking with at least one other person rather than dealing with documentary evidence. CNN explained that they held off on specifically identifying their sourcing until they could deliver the journal — just seven pages, apparently written recently — to Stevens' family, but the reporting could have credited documents rather than a "source" to make it more clear to viewers and readers.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.