13 July, 2010

CNN on Anwar interview: No payment made, report fabricated.

CNN says news stories about the TV network having accepted payment from people on behalf of opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim to appear on the "Connect the World" programme were clearly fabricated.

A CNN spokesperson said today it was disturbing that no effort was made to contact the network and "independently verify these groundless allegations before they were subsequently reported as fact".

Over the past few days, a number of people had commented about Anwar's appearance on the CNN programme.

They had based their comments on an article by Joshua Trevino in The Ledger, a US online publication, which was also quoted by one or two local newspapers here.

Trevino had only alluded to the fact that those who had been hired by Anwar to run his public relations campaign in the United States had solid media contacts.

Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia had last Friday kicked off the controversy with its July 9 report headlined 'Anwar alleged to have paid CNN'.

The report referred to Trevino Strategies and Media Inc president Joshua Trevino, who wrote in a US-based news portal The New Ledger alleging that Anwar hired people with strong media contacts, particularly in CNN, to convince Jewish lobbyists that he is not anti-Israel.

Trevino had lamented that the CNN's 'Connector of the Day' interview on July 2 was “tame” in questioning Anwar's anti-Zionist rhetoric.

Following the Utusan report, a number of Umno leaders attacked Anwar over the alleged “paid” interview.

In an immediate reaction, Anwar said the denial by CNN was proof that Umno leaders were peddling lies to tarnish his image.

“The denial not only exposes the lies by right-wing extremists media organisation the New Ledger, but also exposes the plot by Utusan Malaysia, which is Umno's mouthpiece, to slandar me,” said Anwar.

He said that the denial showed that there was no effort by Utusan Malaysia to verify their report with CNN, adding that such instances was not surprising.

Anwar also slammed Utusan Malaysia for basing their report on solely an article by blogger Elaine Supkis, whom he mockingly said was “apparently a famous blogger”, and another by Joshua Trevino without verifying the facts.

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