Should CNN have read Stevens’ journal?

posted at 6:31 pm on September 23, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

This story has already been making the rounds this weekend, but it’s worth a look more from the perspective of media responsibility and ethics than studying the actual events in Benghazi. CNN has already come clean and admitted that their reporters found the charred remains of the personal journal of Ambassador Chris Stevens in the burned out frame of the consulate.

Three days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded.

CNN notified Stevens’ family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family’s request provided it to them via a third party.

The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book.

When you tell the story that way, it sounds like no harm, no foul, right? Journal found… family contacted…. journal returned. But, as the Lonely Conservative notes, there were a few more stops on this particular train route than CNN fesses up to.

[T]he Stevens family asked CNN not to report on information found in the dead man’s diary – but of course CNN did it anyway. Anderson Cooper was part of the sick cabal responsible.

Family members and State Department officials said CNN agreed during the Sept. 14 conference call to hold off on using the diary until the family had a chance to review its contents.

But family members and U.S. officials were surprised when CNN anchor Anderson Cooper appeared to use the information from the journal by attributing it to a source familiar with Mr. Stevens’s thinking.

In that broadcast, Mr. Cooper said the ambassador was worried about security threats in Benghazi and said he believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.

A spokesperson for CNN said the network didn’t report directly from the journal, but corroborated the information through other sources.

According to the linked WSJ article, the State Department revealed that it took “repeated prodding” to get CNN to return the journal to the family, and calls for them to hold off on using the information within were clearly ignored. Unless, of course, you accept Anderson Cooper’s explanation that “confirming” the information in the journal with “sources familiar with the Ambassador’s thinking” qualifies as not using it.

Where can we expect the media to draw the line on something like this? Is the personal journal of a dead man not off bounds? (Though clearly the State Department deserved a look at it.) A private journal is not some official government document obtained through a Freedom of Information request. And they can’t claim that it’s the same as an interview. (I’ve done more than a few myself.) When a reporter wants to ask about your private musings, you can refuse. Or, at a minimum, insist that the conversation is off the record. Ambassador Stevens had no such opportunity. CNN tore into his book, whipped out their cell phones and began getting ready to go to press over the objections of the dead man’s family.

At what point can the public, if not the government, cry foul over something like this? I got into a bit of an argument with my friend Doug Mataconis over that question when the story broke. In the discussion, he voiced the opinion that the contents of the journal were newsworthy, and as such, it might be irresponsible of CNN to not use it. We agreed to disagree, but he penned a lengthy piece on it later.

CNN is getting hammered for using the diary as a news source rather than giving it to the family as they requested or, as some have suggested, turning it over the government as “evidence” in the terror attack. It’s very tempting to be sympathetic to Stevens’ family and to argue that the journal should have been returned to them immediately. However, there’s also the fact that that Stevens’ journal apparently did contain material indicating the Ambassador’s concerns regarding the security situation for American diplomats in Libya as well as warning of attacks and security threats in the Benghazi area and elsewhere. These concerns were apparently corroborated by other information obtained by CNN reporters on the ground. Doesn’t this make at least this part of the journal newsworthy? If an Ambassador in a nation like Libya is expressing private concerns about his own security in the weeks and months before his death, isn’t that relevant information that the American public should know as we continue to uncover exactly what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi? I understand the people who are sympathetic to the wishes of Stevens’ family and the idea that they should have been followed, but it strikes me that there are other obligations that journalists owe to their audience, and it strikes me that CNN would have been doing a disservice by choosing not to report this information.

As to the argument that this is “evidence”, I’m not really sure what it would be evidence of unless Stevens was writing a contemporaneous account of the attack while hiding in the Consulate, which doesn’t appear to be the case. Furthermore, even if it is “evidence,” it’s also newsworthy and, unless it involved something secret that would have jeopardized an investigation, or jeopardized lives, I don’t see the “evidence” argument as one that should have precluded CNN from making the information public.

I just don’t see it that way. If there were information in there critical to national security and of value to the public, the proper route would have been to simply allow State to handle the pages and determine how much to give out at a press briefing, hopefully respecting the wishes of the family. In this case, I think there is still a line of decency which professional journalists should observe. And in this case, it was crossed.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

ajacksonian on September 23, 2012 at 8:35 PM

I’m going with the notion it was removed before the FBI got there and O-peratives could hide it.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:38 PM

After a crime you would not send the personal correspondance or writings unread to the family. Cooper did not trust the feds.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:40 PM

…losers weepers…finders keeper!
…if the inept State Department had found it…”What diary?”

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 8:41 PM

And we should all keep in mind what the end game of the International Left is.

PatriotGal2257 on September 23, 2012 at 8:16 PM

{{{Shudder}}}

Naturally Curly on September 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Cooper did not trust the feds.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:40 PM

You’re not making sense. The ‘Feds’ is Obama.

Cooper allegedly trusted the ‘journal’ with a ‘third party’?

The journal has been hidden so we can’t see it.

faraway on September 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

…losers weepers…finders keeper!
…if the inept State Department had found it…”What diary?”

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 8:41 PM

na na na na boo boo.
The boy king has spoken.

OTTO on September 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Naturally Curly on September 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM

You’re telling me. Scary.

PatriotGal2257 on September 23, 2012 at 8:48 PM

faraway on September 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Some are saying it should have been turned over to State, unread. Cooper knew better than to trust them to tell the truth.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I absolutely do not believe that CNN found this journal. How much did they pay for it and to whom?

JPeterman on September 23, 2012 at 6:39 PM

……………..BINGO!

CNN has already come clean and admitted that their reporters found the charred remains of the personal journal of Ambassador Chris Stevens in the burned out frame of the consulate.

Does anyone really buy this? They found the charred diary three days after the event? After a rampaging mob had sacked the building? After the Al Qaeda attack? They may be terrorists, but they are organized terrorists and would have been looking for any and all documents for possible future utility. After the Libyan government had secured the area? Really? We are expected to believe that?

……………….BANGO!

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 8:51 PM

The regime ought to be doing its job.
If it had, in the first place, Stevens might still be alive and this never would have happened.
I am thoroughly disgusted with this regime.
November 6th can’t come soon enough

ToddonCapeCod on September 23, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Meh. Private journals that cover topics of public interests are fair game. Or are we saying we should never used the journals of eyewitnesses to history, particularly with massacres etc? State depth is only mad that they didn’t get to sanitize the scene first because they were too invested in a “riot over a video gone bad” cover story rather than deal with a hostile attack that rendered Intel to the attackers.

AH_C on September 23, 2012 at 8:59 PM

AZfederalist on September 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM

……………….BANGO!

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 8:51 PM
…sorry…used part of A Z‘s post!

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 9:01 PM

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 8:51 PM

“Sure, I’ll buy it. The price is certainly right. I tell you what: walk me in, put it right where you found it, point to it, and turn your back. Okay? Okay.”

flicker on September 23, 2012 at 9:03 PM

This is an act of war.

ajacksonian on September 23, 2012 at 8:35 PM

In normal times it would have been an act of war, now killing a US ambassador and attacking our embassy is a distraction to running a campaign and fundraising.

How far we have fallen…

Fallon on September 23, 2012 at 9:07 PM

A hypothetical question: suppose YOU had found this journal. Who would you trust enough to give it to? After making copies, of course. I have been thinking about this all evening and still don’t know who would be trustworthy in this situation. Sickening, isn’t it

francesca on September 23, 2012 at 9:21 PM

I disagree whole heartedly that CNN did something wrong, if, as far as I can tell the only info they have divulged pertains directly to Stevens’ official government employment and which one would surely expect him to also have communicated to the State Department.

Let’s look at it another way. We legitimately require all official government communications to be officially a public record. That’s why it’s a violation to have WH meetings held at the Starbucks down the street. It’s why departmental supervisors have to remind employees at time to not send e-mails via their personal accounts because they can legally be subpoenaed.

If Stevens hadn’t wanted official government info that directly relates to the probable cause of his death from being published and the pubic has a right to know, via his personal journal, then he shouldn’t have written it in his personal journal.

I’m glad CNN published his purposeful “Incompetents got me killed!” cry from the grave, and I have little doubt he put it in his personal journal knowing it might be the only record of his having warned the Administration which would survive the Administration’s government record cleansing.

Dusty on September 23, 2012 at 9:25 PM

francesca on September 23, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Someone from Breitbart or Petraeus or even John Bolton. Nobody from the administration.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

We have no reason to believe this “journal” was to remain personal.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

I haven’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this…

Supposedly, the FBI sent people who went through the “crime scene”. Now, the FBI may not be good for much anymore, but they have always been very, very good about gathering evidence at a crime scene; and about searching a premises.
Is someone seriously saying that a journal, kept by the “crime” victim and left lying in the wreckage, was missed by the vaunted agents of the FBI? Missed by a Bureau crime scene search team…but found by CNN ‘reporters’ kicking through the debris to see if there was anything of interest left there to see?

I find that whole scenario very difficult to believe. I wouldn’t believe it if I saw it in a movie – and I certainly don’t believe that it happened that way in actuality.
I don’t know for sure what the truth of the matter is…but that story certainly ain’t even close to it.

Solaratov on September 23, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Should CNN have read Stevens’ journal?

Yes. CNN only exposed Mr.Stevens concerns for his own safety. They did not tarnish his reputation nor hurt his family in any way. The Obama administration has perpetuated the most ridiculous of lies concerning this whole fiasco. The truth needs to be told… and I commend CNN for doing so.

lynncgb on September 23, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Solaratov on September 23, 2012 at 9:28 PM

There’s so little difference between finding it, having the guy you’re buying it from put it back where he found it and pretending to find it, or just saying what the heck, I’ll just imagine that he put it back where he found it, and I’ll pretend I found it that i can’t see much of a functional difference.

I’m just glad it’s out.

flicker on September 23, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Only by reading it would one have known it was not an official document or a journal of State Department matters. And I question how it got into CNN’s hands. I am doubting the story that they found it; I have a feeling someone else found it and gave it to them (perhaps for a price).

Given the administration’s behavior (lying) about this story, I have no doubt that if asked the State Department would lie about the journal and we never would have known that Stevens feared for his life. He was left defenseless. Maybe that is why Cooper reported the story – we never would have heard the truth otherwise.

Very interesting ethics questions, indeed.

Philly on September 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Once he knows the contents, and determines that it is government related, and that it contradicts that government’s narrative, what’s he supposed to do?

flicker on September 23, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Make it public, fast

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Yep…exposing the lies and incompetence of this administration has become urgent. They are getting people killed.

lynncgb on September 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM

Just another cynical thought. If Stevens thought he was being set up, what if he had placed that journal in safe keeping with someone to be released in the event of his death? Perhaps with specific instructions given in how to release it without compromising his confidant? He places the journal in a pre-arranged location prior to high risk trips and keeps writing in it as long as he comes back. Upon his death, the release process is executed and CNN miraculously finds this in the rubble three days after the attack and after looters, AQ, and the Libyan government had gone through the site.

AZfederalist on September 23, 2012 at 7:44 PM


Just for the sake of discussion …

There is a way for CNN to have legally obtained the journal AND be accurately reporting “sources familiar with Stevens’s thinking”.

The journal was written by Stevens, given to someone he trusted who was knowledgeable of its contents and was acting under the Ambassador’s directions of what to do with the journal in the event of his death.

The journal was intended to be “after the fact payback” for leaving he and his people exposed in a dangerous environment.

The journal also provides a convenient cover story for the trusted confidant who might otherwise be under the same intense pressure a certain anti-Moslem filmmaker has been receiving.

There are also rumbles percolating around D.C. suggesting the career Foggy Bottom professionals are WAY PAST unhappy with the SCOAMF and Shrillery.

Incidentally, this would make all the “CNN bashing” part of the SCOAMF’s “SQUIRREL!” campaign.

For those of you wringing-your-hands over the ‘ethical dilemma’ – Think about this scenario and see if you still want CNN to be the center of attention.

PolAgnostic on September 23, 2012 at 10:19 PM

I thought about John Bolton. That might work. Perhaps we should all think about whom to trust should we need someone in the days ahead. If only we still had Andrew B.

francesca on September 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM

I’m torn about this. I understand that this document is evidence. But if I were in Coop’s place, I would be sympathetic to the victims of these horrific murders and I would want to tell their stories. They deserve justice. This document offers insight to Stevens’ plight and perhaps that of other embassy staffers in countries where Muslim extremism is rampant.

Since the administration has shown its incompetence and is in denial that there is a War on Terror, this story could help save someone’s life. Given the lies this White House has peddled to cover up the terrorist attack, I doubt sincerely that Stevens and the other victims will get the justice they deserve from Barry and Co.

Philly on September 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM

You are placing a great deal of trust in a State Department America’s government that has lied repeatedly.

sharrukin on September 23, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Dante on September 23, 2012 at 10:29 PM

If Stevens left this document to a trusted confidante for release in the event of his death, he was a smart man who wanted us to know the truth about his bosses and the danger he and other embassy staffers faced every day.

If that is the case, the story needs to be told. Maybe Anderson will tell us what he knows someday.

Philly on September 23, 2012 at 10:30 PM

I thought about John Bolton. That might work. Perhaps we should all think about whom to trust should we need someone in the days ahead. If only we still had Andrew B.

francesca on September 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Good lord, he should be the last person in the world on any trust list. He’s nothing but a neoconservative war agitator, always trying to urge us into war.

Whose war

Dante on September 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Privacy of a dead ambassador does not trump the need for the public to know they are being lied to about this mess. Obama should have known there were problems in Libya, instead of fixing them he put together a ruse about a video and tried to set a precedent of getting it pulled off youtube. General Dempsey leaned on private citizens and their right to free speech.

I hope Cooper made lots of copies

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Sniff, Sniff…Pro-Hillary Hot Gas Sleeper Cell Activation Alert!

We have no reason to believe Hillary knew about this document.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Only took 5 minutes.

O’bamna Thanks Your for your Support!

Del Dolemonte on September 23, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Anderson Cooper should have revealed the entire contents of the journal to hold Obama and Hillary accountable for their total screw up. They have 4 deaths on their hands and are trying to duck and dodge any responsibility.

The Ambassador’s journal should not have been returned to the family as it is property of the U.S. Government.

Sparky5253 on September 23, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Baloney. The Federal Government cannot be trusted and this goes way back.

Let’s see – Woodrow Wilson lied to the public about the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania, seized and withheld the original manifest showing it was carrying hundreds of tons of war munitions and was a legitimate target, sealed it in an envelope marked “For The President of The United States Only,” stored it away in a Treasury Department vault where it was not opened until January 1940 by another president secretly trying to involve the United States in another European war.

Government constantly controls the American public through the “Secret” and the “Lie” as John Ralston Saul made clear in his book “Voltaire’s Bastards.”

The malfeasance and corruption of government on the Libyan embassey case needed to be gotten out to the public, period. Too much is kept secret and we don’t need overpaid bureaucrats deciding what we should know. Good for CNN for a change! What I want to know is where is the outrage by elites and others in the media about what Clinton did and the ROE she signed that left many embassies defenseless.

Falcon46 on September 23, 2012 at 10:46 PM

We have no reason to believe this “journal” was to remain personal.

clnurnberg on September 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Yep. I was right.

Your problem, Kid, is that you’ve posted too many times, and in several posts taken directly contradictory positions from one post to another, in a feeble getalife/simplesimon attempt to confuse who you are trying to get to respond to you. We’re not as Stupid as you are; after all O’bamna won a record 70% of the High School Dropout vote.

Interesting Hot Gas nom (user name, to you Democrats) too. “nurnberg” would seem to refer to War Crime Trials. Are you still charging Colon Powell with those War Crimes at The Hague, or did you drop his name from your complaint after he endorsed O’bamna?

F-

Del Dolemonte on September 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Yep. I was right.

Del Dolemonte on September 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Actually, you’re just a moron.

Are you a teacher or something, because that would certainly fit?

sharrukin on September 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I’m surprised by the reactions on here. Finding a document like this is something real journalists dream of. I can’t even imagine what type of journalist wouldn’t scour the journal of a murdered U.S. ambassador for whatever info it contained. If your first impulse isn’t to do so, you have no business being a journalist.

This isn’t like reading the personal diary of some obscure somebody. Nobody is suggesting it’s suddenly okay for reporters to start stealing diaries from nightstands, etc. This is the case of a murdered public official, and the contents of his writings have implications for every other embassy in the Middle East–as well as for the American public, who has been lied to at every turn by government officials commenting on the situation.

I’m no fan of CNN or of Anderson Cooper, but this was the first glimmer of authentic journalism we’ve seen in at least four years from those people. Does anybody really think the State Department would have released any details from the journal? Really? The same State Department that has spent the last few days blaming the violence in the Middle East on a YouTube video and railing against the “abuses” of the First Amendment? And while the family and the family’s wishes should be treated respectfully, the ambassador was, again, a public official, and the journal was not found in his home but at his workplace. I’m guessing in situations like that, the line isn’t always so clear regarding what personal effects the family is given full access to. (And I see no way at all that releasing the information that was released was insensitive to the family. It wasn’t salacious tabloid fodder. It was the opinion of a man about his own safety in the days preceding his murder.)

My only question about the situation is–why would CNN actually run a story like this? I am absolutely shocked that someone there valued reporting the truth over spinning like a little top for Obama.

butterflies and puppies on September 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Does this clear things up or not?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/world/africa/attack-in-libya-was-major-blow-to-cia-efforts.html?_r=1

UnderstandingisPower on September 23, 2012 at 11:06 PM

butterflies, I agree. If I were in his shoes, I would at least have read the journal. Who can we trust anymore? Anderson Cooper must have realized the government was spinning like a top. It is newsworthy and relevant given the tragic circumstance.

Philly on September 23, 2012 at 11:19 PM

If there were information in there critical to national security and of value to the public, the proper route would have been to simply allow State to handle the pages and determine how much to give out at a press briefing, hopefully respecting the wishes of the family. In this case, I think there is still a line of decency which professional journalists should observe. And in this case, it was crossed.

Most of the discussion on this topic seems to be around the ethics and morals of what CNN did.

My question: WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE? Was it legal for them to keep and use that document?

dont taze me bro on September 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I just don’t see it that way. If there were information in there critical to national security and of value to the public, the proper route would have been to simply allow State to handle the pages and determine how much to give out at a press briefing, hopefully respecting the wishes of the family. In this case, I think there is still a line of decency which professional journalists should observe. And in this case, it was crossed.

Jazz, you are shooting the messenger. If the State Department and the United States Government couldn’t even take the time to do a due diligence look through of the consulate after action, why would any rational thinking human being come to the conclusion that they gave a rats’ backside about any of it. All of this holier-than-thou crap after a savvy reporter decided to go kicking through the charred ruins just roils my stomach.

Did CNN behave badly? Yes. Was it expected? Yes. Anderson Cooper? Please. Remember the mine disaster? He was acting like the Saturday Night Live skit about Buckwheat being shot. He is Media. They are heartless, ignonimious, sanctimonious pieces of vermin, who no longer deserve the Amendment protecting their speech.

Tenwheeler on September 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM

The administration would have burned it had they found it. It’s my understanding that the FBI isn’t on the ground in Benghazi as of today so it may have found its way to a dumpster. And it wasn’t like they reported entries like “Dear diary, today I feel fat, but I’m going to eat some ice cream anyway!” Instead it was a window into the mismanagement of security in a very volatile part of the world. I applaud CNN for this. I would have expected them to bury something like that.

manfriend on September 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM

What’s the big deal here?

I don’t watch CNN – but this is kind of penny-ante isn’t it? They’re supposed to be journalists – they’re over there putting themselves, obviously, into harms way to a certain extent. They find a journal – and give it back to the family and report what they read in it.

Of course – they had to read it to determine if it was actually his.

And of course – Conservative Slaves will condemn them for it even though every single one of you would have done the same thing if that diary had been BARACK HUSSIEN OBAMAS.

HondaV65 on September 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM

The administration would have burned it had they found it. It’s my understanding that the FBI isn’t on the ground in Benghazi as of today so it may have found its way to a dumpster. And it wasn’t like they reported entries like “Dear diary, today I feel fat, but I’m going to eat some ice cream anyway!” Instead it was a window into the mismanagement of security in a very volatile part of the world. I applaud CNN for this. I would have expected them to bury something like that.

manfriend on September 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM

^^ SPOT ON!!

HondaV65 on September 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM

This entire story is “Fast & Furious” on steroids and growth hormones, played at an international level.

Like many others, I’m torn about the ethics of CNN disclosing the contents of the journal, but with the games that have been played from Washington, I’ll give CNN a pass on this on. I doubt the story in that journal would have ever seen the light of day without them.

svar42 on September 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM

svar42 on September 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM

If Willard were smart he’d make this race about the economy and THIS affair. The Libya story has legs beyond Fast and Furious.

Of course – to do that he’d have to have his own COHERENT middle east strategy – which he doesn’t.

Which is why we only have two crash test dummies to choose from on the November ballot!

HondaV65 on September 23, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Still haven’t seen one person address the legality of what they did. Is it really up to CNN to decide the disposition of that document (i.e. giving it to family)? Can anybody just walk into a site like that, find stuff, and decide what to do with it? Doesn’t seem right.

dont taze me bro on September 23, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Nobody mentioning the fact that these CNN ahole$ were none too eager to jump on the squirrel trashing of Super Mitt’s ” premature and insensitive “gaffe” press conference”.
Soledud just could not believe how Mitt could be so unenlightened on how things were done in the world arena of foreign affairs. What a rookie ——- and not ready to be president —LOL

How dare Mitt even think to question dear leaders philosophy of apology as applied to Benghazi- and all the while Ocommie was doin his best to ignore the implications.” we’ve had a few bad days” is how our genius president characterized his own fiasco, In a way to distance himself from the responsibility.

“The buck stops with you” as he stated some months back.

Soledud spinning.

FlaMurph on September 24, 2012 at 12:33 AM

That CNN helps to destroy the inept buffons is ironic and sweet.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM

1) How could CNN “find” a journal in the floor of the Consulate three days after Ambassador Stevens was killed?

I’ve got some swampland to sell you on Mars.

2) The logic of Jazz Shaw’s aquaintance sounds twisted. It is simmilar to the excuses people make for acting against their own personal alleged morals, values, and mores, such as “I know I think that abortion is abhorant and I oppose it, but this woman needs support. Opposing the abortion won’t help her. To not support her in her decision to abort her baby doesn’t make sense.”

Try this with another, similar situation: “I know that the woman’s teenaged child is 15 years old, but it is hard for her to take care of her child and have time to herself. Besides, it costs money to raise a child, and she could use that money to buy things she wants, such as that vacation to the Bahamas she’s been wanting. Since the 15 year old is a burden and an inconvenience to her, and since she is so sincere in her wish, and since she is sad that she has the 15 year old to care for, it would be wrong not to let her kill the child and get rid of him. It would make her feel better, and rid her of the inconvenience of that 15 year old who really is a burdern for her.”

No. It makes no sense to reveal on CNN, without the family’s affirmation, by claiming, paraphrased by Jazz Shaw, ” … he voiced the opinion that the contents of the journal were newsworthy, and as such, it might be irresponsible of CNN to not use it. … ”

By that logic, the entire Vintage-Paleo-Mainstream Media are delinquent, and shirking their responsibility by favoring Obama by obscuring and spinning his lies, distortions, malevolence, gaffes, and so on, and that of his street soldiers, and fabricating, distorting, and exaggerating Mitt Romney’s words and actions and history, and demonizing Mitt Romney, most often based on bias, lies, and distortion.

The voting public, aquiring most of their information regarding the candidates from the media, and the entertainment industry, are being misinformed, misled, and underinformed, as well as lied to, a clearl act of irresponsibility and maliciousness.

William2006 on September 24, 2012 at 1:30 AM

Why are they even asking if this journal is “fair game” for the media to report about? The only reason is because it represents more evidence that the attack on Benghazi was a planned military assault designed by the terrorist enemy to coincide on 9/11 and not a spontaneous response to a movie posted on you-tube. Let’s face it, the movie was only an after thought, to use as a pretext and cover through propaganda for their attacks on Americans. The only reason there is a question if the media should have used it or not is because it made the Obama Administration look inept and untruthful in their public response to the death of our ambassador in an election year. Can anyone creditably argue that this question would have even been asked if Bush was President??

Dollayo on September 24, 2012 at 1:44 AM

Three days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded.

Shouldn’t the State Dept be doing their own clean-up? Why are civilians scavenging around in a US embassy? Could we have handled this any worse?

NotEasilyFooled on September 24, 2012 at 6:56 AM

i wouldn’t trust cooper and cnn’s claim that they are somehow not in tune with the feds. elaborate ruse to glean good feelings from the electorate to say, “see you can trust us”. everything the left does should be taken as the long road to communism and for you to accept your chains gratefully and thankfully!

tm11999 on September 24, 2012 at 7:40 AM

My biggest question is why it the American authorities did not secure this document in the three days before CNN was able to wander through the rubble. We were told the administration was treating this like the crime it was and yet they didn’t treat the consulate as a crime scene??? WTF is up with that?

Happy Nomad on September 24, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Since when do thee left wing media elements concern themselves with what they should or should not do. They are only driven by their political, social and financial goals and their actions are totally predictable.

rplat on September 24, 2012 at 7:52 AM

I don’t think the story of the Ambassador’s journal makes sense at any angle…and I think the State Dept. would have used it or destroyed it themselves to their own advantage if given the chance.

I still think it’s a new standard for low that CNN used in this story…but the State Dept. is not protecting our diplomatic personnel and they are lying about it. The location was not secured. Americans were murdered and in this country a private citizen has been blamed and attacked for exercising his first amendment right to make a stupid movie while our dhimmi President and Sec. of State trash our constitution to cover their incompetent asses.

That is the larger scandal.

workingclass artist on September 24, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Most of the discussion on this topic seems to be around the ethics and morals of what CNN did.

My question: WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE? Was it legal for them to keep and use that document?

dont taze me bro on September 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM

You mean THE LAW that protects the State and is imposed upon us by the State?

Dante on September 24, 2012 at 8:08 AM

I am slightly vexed on this.

Certainly, the journal was personal correspondence of the ambassador. As such, it is ultimately property of the family. But the thoughts written on those pages not only relate to his security concerns, but are relevant to the investigation surrounding his murder. As such, they are newsworthy.

I am not sure what DoS’s objection is to this release- other than it does not comply with the narrative they have been trying to sell about a “spontaneous” demonstration. That is obviously fallacious and frankly their appeal that CNN’s release was “disrespectful to the family” therefore seems disingenuous.

I certainly sympathize with the family. Politics aside, the ambassador appeared to be a dedicated, laudable man who truly believed in what he was doing and ultimately wanted to make a difference. Those are qualities rarely found in today’s day and age. But ultimately the truth needs to be discovered, and quickly, in order to potentially save others lives.

Marcus Traianus on September 24, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Shouldn’t the State Dept be doing their own clean-up? Why are civilians scavenging around in a US embassy? Could we have handled this any worse?

NotEasilyFooled on September 24, 2012 at 6:56 AM

It is indicative of the disastrous policies of the Obama Administration.

Amateurs!

workingclass artist on September 24, 2012 at 8:09 AM

i miss the old days when the plumbers just break in and would steal this kind of stuff. then leak it to friendly journalists. that seems more manly in a way than all this lieing about how they got it. but it is anderson cooper so.

t8stlikchkn on September 24, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Why was the Ambassador at this location carrying a personal journal anyway?

There’s a lot to this story we don’t know.

workingclass artist on September 24, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Trifecta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8n-yP4FNEo&feature=player_embedded

workingclass artist on September 24, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I don’t fault Anderson Cooper or CNN for mentioning that Ambassador Stevens wrote in his journal that he felt threatened. It’s not as if CNN revealed details about Amb. Stevens’ personal life, but the point is that Stevens was aware of threats to his life, and the Government did not take any steps to protect him, and it IS newsworthy to point out the Government’s failures after Stevens was killed.

After witnessing the lame response from the embassy and the State Department (apologizing for some video offending the attackers), it’s clear that the State Department would have shredded the diary if it had been turned over to them. At least now, Stevens’ unheeded warning is public knowledge.

Steve Z on September 24, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Why was the Ambassador at this location carrying a personal journal anyway?

workingclass artist on September 24, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Because he wanted it to be found. It was his “if I end up dead, this is why” message from the grave. It is the only explanation that makes sense.

He only wrote a few pages, so he obviously did not write in a journal out of habit. He mentioned the lack of security in the few words that he did write, as well as the fact that he was worried about being targeted by AQ – I believe that this was the message that he wanted to get out.

Normally, Ambassadors do not have such worries about security. If they want extra security, they get it – Ambassadors are considered the equivalent of one- or two-star generals regarding the resources they command. The most reasonable explanation for his concerns would be if his higher ups were preventing him from establishing the security that he thought he needed.

SubmarineDoc on September 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM

My only question about the situation is–why would CNN actually run a story like this? I am absolutely shocked that someone there valued reporting the truth over spinning like a little top for Obama.

butterflies and puppies on September 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Sometimes the desire for a scoop overwhelms the desire to slant the news ideologically. See CBS and their reporting on “Fast and Furious” as another example of putting breaking the story above being true to The Cause.

CNN committed journalism here because they were at that moment thinking about beating the other networks and print outlets, and didn’t consider how running Stevens’ diary entries would play out in terms of the spin the State Department and the Obama Administration was trying to get the public to believe. In fact, the leak that CNN had the diary may have come from someone disgruntled within the organization that the network was putting the story above national security concerns — when “national security concerns” means not making Team Obama look back seven weeks before the presidential election.

jon1979 on September 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM

O/T-
Just read on the Internets, that in the spirit of “arrr- Talk like a Pirate Day”, there is going to be an international ” Make a Mohammed Movie Day” annually.

Won’t that cause a few more bumps in the road.

(Would be film makers are thoughtfully asked though to avoid including any references to the 72 virgin thing though.)

FlaMurph on September 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I have no problem with what CNN did. They didn’t reveal any personal details, which certainly would have been out of line. If this government had got a hold of it, given the content that contradicted its ridiculous narrative, it probably would have been destroyed, or at least suppressed. And its value as ‘evidence’ is not reduced by CNN having seen it first. And which is it, criminal evidence or something that should have been given to the family?

Jingo95 on September 24, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I don’t see what the outrage is here. Do we really want a press that takes it upon itself to conceal relevant, newsworthy information it possesses in order to spare peoples’ feelings?

CNN, so far as I can tell, did not publish any inappropriate or irrelevant information about Stevens’ personal life. They seem to have stuck to details pertaining to his role as a government official, specifically concerns about the security of the consulate.

If the .gov had found this, they simply would have finished burning it.

CTD on September 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I don’t fault CNN at all. I’m glad they did what they did or we would still be hearing how a protest (that never happened) spun out of control because of a movie (no one has seen). And hand it over to the State Dept? Really!? No way. They were already lying. CNN did the right thing and exposed the truth. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Its not as if they reported a bunch of stuff about the personal life of the Ambassador that was embarassing. It was all relevant to stopping our State Dept from continuing with their lies. Bravo CNN! I would have done the same.

magicbeans on September 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

CNN did the right thing. The feds didn’t care about securing the embassy, so they have no say on the diary either. Sending it to the family was a simple courtesy. Any other inof found in that embassy is also fair game for publishing.

Only sunlight of publishing the information will help cure the disease our government has become.

woodNfish on September 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

This from the same Network that covered up the Hussein atrocities so that they could continue to get an inside scoop in Iraq. How can anyone watch them? At least MSNBC is obvious about it. CNN tries to hide it.

jeffn21 on September 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

If CNN had printed information that was in regards to Stevens’ personal life, then yes, they had no right to publish the diary; however, that’s not what we’re talking about. As taxpayers, we have every right to know what was going on or not going on in that faux embassy.

Also, forget about turning the diary over to the State Department, they were spinning the tale that this was all a spontaneous act and then it was “we’re not answering anymore questions.”

Hopefully, other embassies in the Middle East have learned a lesson that they too are on the AQ list and that this administration will hang them out to dry as they did Ambassador Stevens.

Too bad we didn’t learn if Ambassador Stevens asked for extra security and also made the State Department aware of his other concerns.

moonsbreath on September 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Good Lord, a white Republican President would have a 10% approval rating with this stuff.

Wagthatdog on September 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Mr. Stevens was a United States Ambassador. He worked for us. Was his diary just personal thoughts about his life outside of his job? Or was the journal one concerning only his job? If only about his job, then it is fair game to have the media do their job for once.

If it was about his personal life outside his job then CNN would be wrong to use that.

What they revealed was security, of which was a concern to Stevens. This should be reported? Stevens worked for us. The diary reveals something the Obama Administration is trying to hide from us. They work for us. It should be revealed.

The family can fake outrage over CNN doing their job. They have a right to mourn their loved one, Mr. Stevens. It is a tragic end. But it was one that could have been avoided had the Administration listened to Stevens concerns. The family doesn’t have a right to whine over the release of security issue concern though.

Fake outrage makes good news. I’m not buying it.

Conservative4Ever on September 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The dead have no expectation of privacy.

Akzed on September 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Arguably the journal did contain information vital to national security: Stevens expressed concerns over the lack of security at the consulate. Perhaps if CNN trusted the Obama administration and the State Department to acknowledge that inadequate security and instead blame a movie trailer on YouTube, the journal would not be an issue.

If one of Obama’s daughters wrote in her diary, “Daddy told me he wants the establishment of a global caliphate and the destruction of capitalism,” and the White House cleaning staff found the book open to that page, I think I’d be happy to have that daughter’s privacy violated.

Colony14 on September 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

. . .
We were told the administration was treating this like the crime it was and yet they didn’t treat the consulate as a crime scene??? WTF is up with that?

Happy Nomad on September 24, 2012 at 7:45 AM

About 90% correct. Major point taken — they said it was a crime scene, and that they were sending in the FBI to treat is as such.

They were lying. After three days they didn’t have his diary secured? They lied because they knew from the start that it was a planned terrorist attack.

It was not a crime. It was an act of war. But claiming that it was a crime was consistent with the Obama policy, and with Clinton’s policy, as currently enunciated by Hillary, and so they called it a “crime scene.” They lie!

How do I know?

After three days the investigators had not secured the scene!

I do not fault CNN for using it, and, I commend them for getting secondary sources, if that is what they did. They actually did a real news story!

The reason they did (and don’t even try to tell me for one second that YOU would not have at least read it, and made a copy, Jazz) was because they had been lied to repeatedly by the Administration regarding the “cause” of the attack on purely partisan political grounds.

His diary directly contradicted the Administration line on their cover story on the cause of the attack, so of course they begged Cooper not to use it! It gave the lie to what is becoming clear is the complete collapse of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy in the Middle East, especially with regards to Libya!

Over a course of time — for several days — they had successfully induced CNN‘c Anderson Cooper to attack Mitt Romney at every opportunity for his “gaffe” of having spoken too soon by criticizing the feckless Embassy statement out of Cairo.

Cooper finally realized he had been taken, as reflected in a subsequent tweet of his on Sept. 19th at 7:47 pm, pathetically asking:

@andersoncooper

US official admits for 1st time the attack on #Libya consulate was a “terrorist attack.” why only now are they saying this? @AC360 8p, 10p

Gee, take a wild guess, Anderson! Because they knew you were a big fat sucker for their lies, and they thought they’d get away with it, and that you’d continue doing their bidding for them!.

So, I put it in a measured tone replied to him three minutes later at 8:00 pm on the 19th:

@Trochilus

@andersoncooper @AC360 Why only now? Because they assumed that you would continue to parrot their line that Romney was wrong. Wake up!

Hopefully, Anderson Cooper will now begin to “get it.” I think they indicated that they did with the use of the diary. It was news.

Jazz, please explain . . . why in the hell would you criticize CNN for actually doing a real news story? This is not about the niceties of privacy. He was our Ambassador and this was directly about his public role. Plus, obviously, there were no national security issues involved. Or, if there were, Anderson Cooper did not reveal them.

Good job, Anderson! Better late than never, but good job!

Trochilus on September 25, 2012 at 12:32 AM

All that trumped up phoney WH outrage at CNN taking info from that Diary is just flack to distract from Obama’s & Hillary’s inexcusable failure to provide security at the consulate. I hope CNN says as much.

Chessplayer on September 25, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Should CNN have read Stevens’ journal?

Yes. CNN only exposed Mr.Stevens concerns for his own safety…

lynncgb on September 23, 2012 at 9:35 PM

For his safety? He’s dead for pete’s sake.

Buttercup on September 25, 2012 at 4:02 PM

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