The Exception That Proves the Rule

Brad Jacobson has a new Media Bloodhound post (4/21/09) lauding CNN anchor Anderson Cooper for his “refreshing” refusal of “a generic phony Devil’s advocate stance” when scholar Mark Danner “torpedoedCNN analyst David Gergen’s claim that

the number of people who were interrogated [by U.S. personnel] with these harsh and, I think, torturous techniques was fairly limited. It was, of the thousands of people who were captured, it was about some 30 or 35 whom these techniques were used.

Instead, Cooper “actually set up Danner’s response to Gergen’s allegations with…facts and context”:

Cooper: Do we know how many people died in U.S. custody? I’ve read reports of more than 100 or about 100 or maybe about a quarter of those were being investigated as actual homicides….

Danner: I think the rough figure is slightly more than 100 and 30, 29 or 30 were actually investigated as homicides.

But Jacobson also tells how this positivity actually illustrates the lacking state of corporate reportage overall:

This was not your normal CNN news program segment during which two guests spout differing opinions and the host plays the “fair and balanced” referee.

Cooper’s approach in this circumstance, his effort to ferret out the facts from his guests and put those facts in context–however absurd it is that this should be unique–is unique for a CNN program, just as it still is for far too much of broadcast and cable network news shows.

Listen to the recent edition of FAIR’s radio show CounterSpin: “Mark Danner on Torture” (4/10/09)