In which CNN lowers itself to TMZ’s level.

February 21st, 2009 11:59 pm by Kelly Garbato

Yesterday, when reporting on the LAPD’s leaking of photos of a battered Rihanna to paparazzi site TMZ, CNN acted honorably and chose not to run the photo(s) in question.

KYRA PHILLIPS: It’s a chilling photo involving a story that’s getting tons of buzz and reflecting a growing crisis. But we’re not going to show it to you. And I’ll tell you why in just a moment. LA police are trying to find out who leaked a picture that apparently shows singer Rihanna bruised and battered after an alleged attack by her boyfriend, the singer Chris Brown. It showed up on a celebrity website and you can choose to see the photo at any time. We’re just choosing not to show it to you. And here’s why.

The face on that photo is one of millions of battered faces. Men and women, all races, all classes, all victims. We can’t show you all their faces, but we can push this story forward and try to help you heal the scars. Let’s get past the headlines and straight to the heart of domestic abuse. At the bottom of the screen we’re showing numbers for the National Domestic Violence Hotline where you can report abuse or get help. Also here to help, our guest, Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline which has taken millions of calls. Good to see you, Cheryl.*

Oh, what a difference a day makes! Today, during the 1 o’clock hour,** CNN backtracked and aired the photo – while explaining that law enforcement policy usually precludes releasing the identities of (alleged) victims of domestic violence, let alone releasing photos of their injuries. They go on to speculate that the paparazzi must have bribed someone in the department in order to illegally obtain the photo(s)…as a photo of an obviously bruised Rihanna occupies the top 1/6th of their video screen!

No fucking shame.***

* This is but one example; you can check out the rest of the day’s transcripts for more.

** EST, with Fredericka Whitfield; sorry, but the transcript isn’t up yet.

*** As to why I still watch CNN, I ask you: if I want news during the off-hours, what else am I gonna watch? Fox News? MSNBC? Tony Harris ain’t got nothing on Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, I tell you what.

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