Sunday, March 06, 2005

Italian Journalist

Fox News ran an AP article and CNN ran their own on the return of the Italian journalist who was a hostage in Iraq, Giuliana Sgrena. CNN’s article is more negative towards the U.S. concerning the incident where her car was fired upon. CNN’s headline is “Shot hostage disputes U.S. account.” Their headline speaks to doubt about the U.S. account. Fox’s headline is more matter-of-fact with “Freed journalist recounts ordeal.” The Fox AP article’s first sentence states that Sgrena rejected the U.S. account, but Fox chose not to put that in the headline.

Many of the facts are the same in both articles; however, CNN has a sub-heading of “Rome protests” near the end of its article and noted that: “The Iraq war has been extremely unpopular in Italy from the beginning, and Friday's shooting triggered new protests. Thousands packed streets in Rome carrying signs condemning the war and the Bush administration.” Fox’s AP article notes the incident “has fueled anti-American sentiment in a country where people are deeply opposed to U.S. policy in Iraq” but does not mention any specific protests.

There is a big difference in what the articles said (or didn’t say) about why Sgrena believes that the U.S. might have intentionally shot at her and her car. As I have noted below, CNN leaves the motive vague whereas Fox makes the point that maybe a ransom was paid for her release (against U.S. wishes about ransoms because it may encourage other kidnappings) and that is why Sgrena believes that she may have been targeted. CNN makes a comment about the possibility of someone paying a ransom for her release but does this at the very end of the article and does not link that to Sgrena’s beliefs about her being targeted. Here are some details:


* Giuliana Sgrena wrote, … and "the Americans fired without motive."

* She then thought of something her captors had told her: "The Americans don't want you to go back." The left-leaning Il Manifesto even accused U.S. forces on Saturday of "assassinating" Calipari. Sgrena's partner, Pierre Scolari, also blamed the shooting on the U.S. government, suggesting the incident was intentional. “… either this was an ambush, as I think, or we are dealing with imbeciles or terrorized kids who shoot at anyone.”


* [Sgrena] did not rule out that she was targeted, saying the United States likely disapproved of Italy's methods to secure her release, although she did not elaborate.

* Italian officials have not provided details about the negotiations leading to Sgrena's release Friday after a month in captivity, but Agriculture Minister Giovanni Alemanno was quoted as saying it was "very likely" a ransom was paid. U.S. officials object to ransoms, saying it encourages further kidnappings. "The fact that the Americans don't want negotiations to free the hostages is known," Sgrena told Sky TG24 television … "The fact that they do everything to prevent the adoption of this practice to save the lives of people held hostages, everybody knows that. So I don't see why I should rule out that I could have been the target.

Links to the articles:,2933,149535,00.html

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