CNN’s (and CBS-4’s) selective editing and story reporting

Remember the story that exploded yesterday about the arrest of the kook who allegedly threatened to assassinate Barack Obama? One of the things not widely talked about in the aftermath of that story is how the original reporting contained information that indicated that a threat by the same man had also been made against President Bush.

Bob Owens has done some digging and has uncovered how both CNN and Denver’s CBS-4 altered the original AP story about how both Obama and Bush were threatened, and instead reported that it was just Obama that the suspect, Raymond Hunter Geisel, had said out loud he was going to assassinate.  Owens’ post is pretty damaging:

Perhaps most telling however, is that all the comments associated from the previous story—the racially-tinged, politically motivated anger they helped generate with their selective editing—have not been ported over to the new URL.

CNN altered their original story to gin up outrage against someone they helped to portray as a “typical” racist right-winger, instead of the equal opportunity, anti-authority whackjob the more complete AP story and the very Secret Service affidavits* CNN obtained seemed to indicate.

They doctored the story, and by swapping out the URLs and hiding the contents, they’re attempting to play a very subtle game of hiding the evidence of the paranoia and anger they helped manufacture by shifting to a new, comment-free URL on the CNN Political Ticker Web site, while still maintaining the old URL with the comments, perhaps in hopes that those bloggers and journalists who have already linked to the primary URL won’t catch up with their sleight of hand.

CNN edited out the threats against President Bush to help build on fears in the African American community and among the political left that an intolerant, racist white conservative may attempt to assassinate Barack Obama, and now they’ve attempted to cover up the fear they helped stoke by moving the comments generated out of public view, while attempting to deceive the bloggers who linked to the original story by leaving online, but hidden.

It didn’t work, and CNN has a lot to answer for.

During the course of the primary season, I praised CNN for some pretty solid reporting, especially on primary/caucus nights, but there is simply no excuse for what they (and CBS-4) did with their selective reporting on this story.  There’s a reason they used to be called Clinton News Network - primarily due to their bias in favor of liberal Democrats, especially Bill and Hillary.  Since times have changed, maybe they should change their network letters from CNN to ONN? 

If you’d like to write them to express your thoughts, click the below links:

*Bob’s link to the affidavits didn’t work, so I changed it in the blockquote to reflect the accurate link.  I’ve emailed him to let him know.

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