CNN Cut Off Controversial Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Erik Wemple, Washington Post, January 7, 2015

Drawings in the magazine Charlie Hebdo that triggered reprisals and death threats against the publication’s staff have never been more newsworthy than today, when terrorists stormed the publication’s Paris offices in a rampage that claimed the lives of 12 people. Yet CNN and host Wolf Blitzer hid them in a segment this afternoon.

In closing out his eponymous show this afternoon, Blitzer sketched out a brief biography of Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier that focused on his brave defiance of threats from terrorist organizations. Charbonnier was among the 12 people killed today.

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Paired with that comment from Blitzer was this image on the CNN screen:

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So viewers got to see Charbonnier, but not the image that had “fueled more anger.”

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A glance at Google Images shows that shots of Charbonnier posing alongside his anger-arousing covers aren’t hard to find. Why didn’t CNN provide a more complete view? “As this distressing story continues to evolve we are actively discussing the best way of addressing the key issues and images across all of our platforms” said a CNN spokesperson via e-mail. “Those conversations will continue throughout the day and beyond as the story develops.”

Those conversations shouldn’t take so long: Show it all, whatever the consequences.

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