CNN's Brian Stelter and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch got into a Twitter spat Monday evening over the press's handling of the story behind Getty Images photographer John Moore's "iconic" photo of a crying 2-year-old little girl at the U.S.-Mexico border. As usual, Loesch wiped the floor with the network's Reliable Sources host.
During the back-and-forth, Stelter responded to Loesch's criticism of CNN's original story about the photo by pointing to a sentence stating that "A spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection later told CNN that the girl and her mother were not separated."
But what Stelter really pointed to was an undisclosed stealth edit the network apparently hoped no one would see.
A comparison of CNN's original story on the photo published on June 12 and found at Archive.org (Archive's capture was on June 18, but the story was originally posted on June 12) to its currently posted version shows that the sentence and a "no further details" sentence were added later (the black spaces above and below the excepts represent the bottom and top, respectively of preceding and subsequent photos at the links; click on graphic for a larger version):
CNN did not add the additional paragraph on the right until after Archive.org's June 18 grab (7:40 p.m. that evening). Additionally, a search on the first of the two added sentences at Google returns a posted date of (obviously later on) June 18.
There is no correction, disclosure or any other indication at CNN's article as currently posted that any change or update was made to the original June 12 version six days later.
It appears fair to contend that the network avoided highlighting this disclosure, which given its timing should have been treated as a scoop, in the name of helping the left extend its anti-Trump separation-cruelty narrative surrounding the incident for a few more days.
Brian Stelter himself didn't notice the existence of the CBP's "were not separated" statement in CNN's report until until June 22, four days later, and the day after the UK Daily Mail's exposé of the father's side of the story appeared:
In his back-and-forth with Loesch Monday, Stelter used that stealth-edited paragraph for what he thought was a "Hey, we did our job" victory dance. Loesch, who could hardly have known what CNN had done to the story six days after its original appearance, still made valid points about the sentence's placement, which was in Paragraph 11, and the content which preceded it:
Loesch's position that CNN caused readers to infer that the little girl was or would be separated from her mother has plentiful support:
The "it" to which Moore was referring is obviously the "separation of families."
As I noted in a Friday morning NewsBusters post, Moore has been very careful in captioning the photo at his Instagram account. But the above highlighted text in his quote is yet another example, adding to one Kyle Drennen noted Friday afternoon, that he has been far less careful in interviews.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.