I was a bit astonished this morning in watching CNN to see a story on the rescue of U.S. pilots after their F-15E Eagle crashed in Libya. The story did not mention what would appear the most newsworthy aspect of the story: the allegation that our helicopter mowed down Libyans who ran out to help the pilots.
Various news organizations are reporting that six Libyans were shot after coming to the rescue of the pilots in a field outside of Benghazi. The helicopter strafed the people running to the site. One young boy may have to have his leg amputated. CNN is reporting the “harrowing tale” of how various planes had to “drop bombs” to protect them. There is no mention of the people mowed down, though it reports that one pilot was taken into safety by Libyans. The entire story is about the close call behind enemy lines, though one anchor said that it is very difficult to tell the difference between hostile and friendly individuals. They make no mention of the allegations and shot civilians.
CNN’s coverage is entirely on the risk of the operation. I just saw another exchange with the anchors where one anchor finally noted at the very end that some civilians may have been hurt, but the interview was cut off before the reporter could answer the question due to technical problems. It is not clear why this story is being given such limited coverage. The concern is that there is a chilling effect in the media when reporting stories when reporters can focus on the more popular account of a heroic rescue. The fact is that both stories are worthy of equal coverage.
Source: Daily Mail