Monday, April 21, 2008

CNN: Lying by Omission

"The raid was prompted by calls made to a family violence shelter, purportedly by a 16-year-old girl who said her 50-year-old husband beat and raped her. That girl has never been identified."

From a CNN story that claims to have been recently updated. There is no mention of the fact that a 33 year old woman from Colorado has been arrested for repeatedly making bogus phone calls to anti-polygamy activists, posing as a pregnant teen FLDS member named Sara. There is a link to a video entitled in small print "watch how a hoax may have prompted the raid," but clicking on that link brings up, as of 2:56 P.M. Pacific time Monday, a video that has nothing at all on the hoax.

Given that clear evidence that the call was bogus and who made it has appeared in various places, including the London Times, I think the final sentence of the CNN story has to be a deliberate lie, or at best a misstatement intended to mislead. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that CNN is deliberately downplaying that part of the story in order to provide a less sympathetic picture of the FLDS.

8 Comments:

At 4:34 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Stephen said...

As far as "lying by omission" goes, that seems pretty tame compared to what regularly passes for reporting in the US. Have you ever seen mention in any reporting about 9/11 that assassinated former FSB spy Alexander Litvienko alleged that Ayman al-Zawahiri (widely known as the #2 in al-Qaeda, but bin Laden's chosen personal biographer said he thought he was more important than bin Laden) was in an FSB training camp just months before he and bin Laden issued the fatwa that became the ideological basis for the 9/11 attacks?

In any case, the implication from that line (to me, at least) seems to be doubt that the phone call was genuine. So while they don't delve too deeply, they don't exactly leave you with the impression that the calls were necessarily genuine, either.

 
At 7:18 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger montestruc said...

Me thinks that CNN higher ups are doing damage control for Obama, the hoaxer was an Obama democratic delegate to the national convention.

I think the McCain and Clinton camp are now thinking about how this could be used to hurt him.

 
At 8:14 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Clayton said...

@stephen

"In any case, the implication from that line (to me, at least) seems to be doubt that the phone call was genuine. So while they don't delve too deeply, they don't exactly leave you with the impression that the calls were necessarily genuine, either."

In other words, they're not going to talk about it until they absolutely have to, preferably sometime after Nov. 4th.

 
At 8:34 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger montestruc said...

At least some reports on CNN now acknowledge the hoax.

It is possible that CNN being a big organization that not everyone writing copy had heard the news when they submitted.

 
At 10:19 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger David Friedman said...

"It is possible that CNN being a big organization that not everyone writing copy had heard the news when they submitted."

The London Times story was April 19th. The CNN story was two days later, and claimed to have been recently updated. And the existence of a link claiming to be to a video about the possibility of a hoax surely implies that someone involved knew that such a story existed, even though the link didn't actually go to a video about the hoax.

If someone writing a story about the FLDS didn't know of a key development two days after the story had been carried by a major paper, that's a level of incompetence that I think less likely than deliberate dishonesty.

 
At 11:33 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous js290 said...

All the traditional media outlets suck. NPR has gotten just as bad. Not about the FLDS, but I've had enough of NPR after hearing this story where they allowed a commentator to use the words "Bush administration" and "laissez-faire" in the same sentence.

 
At 10:22 PM, April 22, 2008, Anonymous Mr. Mercy Vetsel said...

This is infuriating. Imagine the police coming to your town and carting away 400 children on the basis of an anonymous phone call.

If the Amish hadn't been grandfathered into a special status and instead came here in 2008, they wouldn't have enough freedom to live their lives. Not by a long shot.

-Mercy

 
At 9:21 PM, April 23, 2008, Blogger montestruc said...

Dear Mr. Friedman,

I have spend most of my working life in small organizations, then for about 4.5 years worked for a much larger worldwide firm. The difference between the the two was astonishing, and one thing that struck me about the larger world wide organization was how much of the time one part of the organization was totally clueless about what some other part knew.

You may be right, it may be intentional, but I think it *possible* that it was SNAFU.

 

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