Tuesday, September 26, 2006

CNN Is Unbelievable

Apparently CNN cannot read their own transcripts or listen to their own shows. CNN.com summed up an interview with Former FBI Agent Dan Coleman with the incredible headline "Former FBI agent: Clinton never approved a plan to kill bin Laden," this gives readers the impression that Clinton lied on Fox News when he said that he did. However, what Coleman actually said was nearly the opposite, in fact Coleman expressed some gratitude the Clinton reacted like he did in the Fox interview.
ARRIS: What do you give Clinton credit for in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his attempts to disrupt al Qaeda?

COLEMAN: President Clinton is very careful in his comments. I was at least happy to see him get angry about something and at least try to fight back.

I doubt that anything he said was incorrect because he's too careful a man. But as far as I know, he may -- he approved the assassination of bin Laden, but he never approved a particular plan.

HARRIS: His claim is that he couldn't get the CIA and the FBI to agree on responsibility, for example, for the Cole attack and to launch countermeasures.

COLEMAN: I disagree with that.

HARRIS: He said he had a battle plan drawn up to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale search for bin Laden.

COLEMAN: Well, he didn't do it.

HARRIS: Did you see evidence of a plan?

COLEMAN: Not at my level. No, sir.

HARRIS: So what do you make of his claim?

COLEMAN: He was saying that he made a very specific statement about getting a forward operating base in one of the former Soviet republics which he was not able to get. ... You don't need a forward base in one of the former Soviet republics to go in and do a quick operation.

Coleman never says anything approaching what CNN lead with, and of course the headline has far more impact than the transcript, for example I didn't read the rest of this interview, only the parts pertaining to Clinton, so if they made a sweeping claim about something else I wouldn't have known about it because I, like most people am busy and too fundamentally lazy to read the entire transcript. Now that I've established what Coleman did not say, lets look at what he did say. I have put the important parts of this in bold. He said, "I was at least happy to see him get angry about something and at least try to fight back." The implication of this statement is apparent, Coleman thinks that in the face of outrageous charges against President Clinton in relation to how he responded to terrorism, Clinton has generally not done enough to defend himself and the work of his Administration. That is the only reason that Coleman would be "happy to see him [Clinton] fight back." Next Coleman says "I doubt that anything he said was incorrect." Coleman claims no real inside knowledge to Clinton's claims, but states that as far as he knows its correct and he doubts that Clinton would have been dumb enough to say something untrue in the interview. Yet CNN leads with a headline that clearly suggests that Coleman believes Clinton lied in the Fox News Interview. Finally He says that Clinton did approve the assassination of Bin Laden, the exact opposite of what the lead suggests, the lead claims that Coleman said Clinton did not, when Coleman in no uncertain terms stated that Clinton did in fact approave the assassination of Bin Laden.

All Coleman said in this interview was that he had no knowledge of a specific plan to assassinate Bin Laden, that while Clinton did approve Bin Laden's assassination, he did it in general terms and did not give an explicit instruction based on specific information of where Bin Laden was at a given time to assassinate him. This headline really teeters on the line between misleading, and flat out lying. CNN should be ashamed of themselves.

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