Monday, July 24, 2006

Channeling Arnett

Nic Robertson concedes that a piece he did for CNN on damage done to civilian areas in Beirut was essentially engineered (not in the technical sense) by representatives of Hezbollah.

The fact that he was led around by keepers wouldn't be such a big deal in and of itself, except that he failed to issue appropriate disclaimers or caveats during the piece--as other reporters did.

Good for Howard Kurtz, a Washington Post media writer who also hosts CNN's Reliable Sources, for pressing Robertson on Sunday's edition of the show (the link provides the transcript).

Robertson's still a day late and dollar short, in my book. Doesn't this add just a few more dollops to the pool of doubt as to what's being reported from the Middle East? And won't you wonder (perhaps more than usual), the next time you see a story reported by Robertson, what context he's leaving out?

For more context and details of the stage-managed tour conducted by Hezbollah, here's an entry on the Anderson Cooper 360 blog, to which Hot Air points and follows with this question:
Did Cooper report any of this? I wonder.

People are going to say: "We never believe what they tell us, anyway." But they do, you know. To this day, people believe all sorts of stories related to Hurricane Katrina, for example, that simply weren't true--or, at least, were never verified.

This stuff matters, and it's simply not good enough for a Robertson to assume that his viewers will assume that his report is suspect. Without an appropriate (even if indirect) disclaimer, an incomplete, even slanted, picture is being provided to viewers from the git-go. And the reporter's credibility--and, by extension, that of the network on which the work appears--suffers. Or at least it should.