There's a good discussion going on down in my original CNN cover-up post. One bit of it I've squelched because I'm really sick of stupid.
The most troubling part of this entire episode to me, as a journalist, is the utter disregard CNN has for its viewers and its own credibility. Sadly, CNN has no ombudsman whom you can contact regarding these sorts of disputes. There is no editor on the CNN.com masthead who will answer questions, and they certainly won't put someone like me or Charles Johnson or Bob Owens on the air to raise these issues.
So, we're left with yelling at the mainstream media from the Internet boonies. Yes, we are heard, but our voices still don't reach as many people as CNN or a major network newscast.
How would a journalistically responsible outfit handle a controversy such as the one faced by CNN?
The first step would be to do what they did: contact the source of the article.
The problem is, they stopped at that point.
Getting a denial that there's anything wrong with the video is a necessary. But that denial does nothing to address the internal inconsistencies in the tape itself.
CNN should have consulted with a respected medical doctor -- Sanjay Gupta is just down the hall -- and asked him or her to analyze the "treatment" depicted in the video. Gupta is very familiar with what battlefield wounds look like; does the videotape depict the kind of wounds one would likely receive from a drone-launched Hellfire missile?
CNN should have consulted its military analysts to determine if the damage depicted on the roof where the boy was allegedly playing appears to be what one would expect from a missile strike.
CNN needs to do both those things, and put those voices on the air.
It apparently won't, because to do so would certainly undermine the original report and make their initial, cursory defense of it look outrageous.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope they change their foolish and embarrassing defense of the indefensible, but I'm not going to be holding my breath.