I find myself quite shocked by this story about CNN International refusing to air its own award-winning documentary about Bahrain’s human rights abuses.
Not because CNN would censor this on behest of the Bahrain government, or the entire ridiculous run-around involved, in which they claim not to be doing so, when the mere fact that the award-winning documentary that was already paid for never got air time shows otherwise.
No, it is because of the sheer stupidity.
The CNN crew itself was violently detained by regime agents
… their reporter, Amber Lyon, reacted like this:
[Lyon] resolved to expose just how abusive and thuggish the regime had become in attempting to snuff out the burgeoning democracy movement, along with any negative coverage of the government.
So, when Lyon started wondering publicly about why her documentary was not being aired, this happened:
a representative of CNN’s business affairs office called Lyon’s acting agent, George Arquilla of Octagon Entertainment, and threatened that her severance payments and insurance benefits would be immediately terminated if she ever again spoke publicly about this matter, or spoke negatively about CNN.
… and I have to think that everybody who works in business affairs at CNN should be fired for sheer stupidity. (Others, obviously, should be fired for moral bankruptcy.) Threatening a reporter who risked her life to get a story out that you might cut off her benefits if she spoke about it in public?
That sounds like exactly the sort of thing that would make her keep speaking about it in public.
The rest of the story meets my sad and sorry expectations for what passes for journalism these days. Real journalists are censored, fired, and otherwise suppressed in favour of well-financed PR campaigns.
It was the idiocy I didn’t see coming.
Image via Everelle. Credited there to Martha Stewart.
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