Not So Current
The vigil last night in Los Angeles for Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two journalists detained in North Korea and put on trial today, brought over 500 people to a neighborhood restaurant in Santa Monica, featuring the Lee and Ling families, Tia Carrere, soon to be Congresswoman Judy Chu, and a number of spoken word and musical artists. CNN carried a live interview on Anderson Cooper 360 with Lisa Ling and the husbands of the two detainees, where the families asked for dialogue and diplomacy and not to conflate this situation with the nuclear standoff between the North Koreans and the West. Even Roxana Saberi, the US journalist detained and then released in Iran, sent a letter of support.
You know who hasn't said a peep? Their employer.
While the story gets widespread international attention, Current TV has been absolutely silent on it—going so far as to pull user-submitted stories on the case from its own site. A search of Current.com this morning turns up only one single user-submitted Yahoo news article on the case, which had been posted less than 30 minutes ago. This, even while the story was simultaneously on the front page of NYTimes.com, and while Ling's celebrity sister is desperately trying to get publicity for her case.
Why the hell is Current so quiet about the fate of its own reporters? We emailed and asked them earlier this week, but they haven't responded to us. But a tipster tells us that Current's top management made the conscious decision to "silence" the issue, and that Current employees have been instructed not to discuss it.
I'll tell you why they're so silent. They're RESPONSIBLE. They put these young journalists in dangerous situations without any concern, clearly, for their well-being, and when it blows up in their face they would rather ignore the issue that admit fault. It's been a consistent pattern of airlifting young journalists into war zones and basically giving them a sharp stick and telling them to poke a bear.
I'm sure the State Department has told them to keep quiet. But I'm sure they told the family to keep quiet too, and they didn't. It's a really disgusting display, or lack thereof, by Current, and Al Gore should be ashamed of himself.