A whole lot of little odds and ends have been floating around my laptop for the last little bit so I finally have chance to get them out to you. Here we go....
CNN Launches Iraq Fact Desk
LEMON: You’re looking at testimony now from these hearings. Representative Tom Lantos questioning General Petraeus, as well as Ambassador Crocker about Iran. Also diplomatic surge rather than a troop surge. And also asking General Petraeus just exactly how much influence his recommendation would have on other parts of the war, like the war in Afghanistan.
So lots of information, lots of facts to check when it comes to both of these men testifying today, more specifically General Petraeus. Congress listens when he talks. CNN’s Iraq Fact Desk is checking the general’s testimony. Our Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre is on the Fact Desk duty.Jamie, any red flags here? Lots of numbers being tossed around.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, say that five times fast.Let’s take a look at the key assertion that General Petraeus made to underscore the fact that he believes he can draw down U.S. troops back to the pre-surge levels by next summer. That is that there’s been substantial progress in the lowering the leveling of violence in Iraq. Here’s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETRAEUS: As a bottom line, up front, the military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met. In recent months in the face of tough enemies and the brutal summer heat of Iraq, coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security arena.
Though the improvements have been uneven across Iraq, the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in eight of the past 12 weeks with the number of incidents in the last 2 weeks at the lowest level seen since June 2006.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: Now, no one is disputing those individual facts, but the government accountability office, among others, has pointed out that those statistics don’t always tell us what we think they do. In fact, here is what the GAO said in its report last week. It said, if you skip to the bottom of this text, you can see it says that, “It’s unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased — the key security benchmark — because it’s difficult to measure the perpetrators’ intent.”
What that gets to is how you define and how you split up all these acts of violence. For instance, one of the things that General Petraeus mentioned is that when you look at Iraq, the security situation has been dramatically better in Anbar Province, to the west of Baghdad. He cited last year 1,350 monthly attacks in Anbar Province as opposed to just 200 in the month of August.
But what he also conceded as we continued to testify is that nobody anticipated that that would happen, and essentially it wasn’t part of the surge plan. They didn’t think that that was going to — the surge strategy of putting more troops in was going to result of that. In fact, that happened with the local sheikhs getting together and deciding to go after Al Qaeda. A positive trend but not necessarily something you can tie directly to the surge — Don.
He said, at least, on their part as well, no one anticipated Iran’s influence, as much influence as they would have as well, Jamie.
Also, if you can just talk about this a little bit. He said that Anbar Province is unique. It cannot be replicated, but it does show how extremism can be fought there.
MCINTYRE: That’s right. A lot of people have said the Anbar model could be taken around other parts of Iraq, but there’s some unique aspects to Anbar province where it is largely an area of homogeneous sheikhs, who have a common interest together. You can’t necessarily transplant that to say, Diyala Province, or some place nearby.
LEMON: All right. Jamie McIntyre at our Iraq Fact Desk for us today, on Fact Desk duty.
Thank you. We’ll check back with you throughout the day. Thank you, sir.
CNN wins two IBC Innovation Awards
The International Broadcasting Conference (IBC), a leading global association guiding content delivery innovations within the broadcast industry, this weekend honored CNN’s digital newsgathering operations with two of its IBC Innovation awards, including a “Judges’ Prize” for the top innovation of the past year.
CNN’s digital newsgathering also won for “Content Creation,” an award that cited the network’s use of such an innovation for its coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in July 2006.
The IBC Innovation Awards were presented Sunday, Sept. 9, at an awards dinner at the IBC2007 Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
“This is an amazing tribute to CNN’s often unsung heroes – our technical and satellite crews – whose ingenuity and tenacity in getting the job done shines through everyday at CNN,” said Tony Maddox, managing director for CNN International.
Gloria Borger, a leading political journalist and contributing editor with U.S. News & World Report, will join CNN as a senior political analyst, it was announced today by Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. As an expert on Washington politics, Borger will break news and provide insight surrounding the 2008 election cycle and other political news for Campbell Brown’s upcoming prime-time program and other regular CNN programming and special events. Based in the network’s Washington, D.C., bureau, Borger begins her political analysis for CNN the week of Sept. 17. “The ‘Best Political Team on Television’ just got even better,” Klein said. “Gloria’s got an unrivaled Rolodex among the people who make news – and make or break presidents – in Washington. She’s always a step ahead in knowing what’s about to happen and why, which will make CNN an even more interesting and essential destination for viewers who want the inside track on this election free-for-all.”
L.A. Block Renamed Larry King Square
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A city block that surrounds a CNN building in Hollywood has been named after the cable network's talk-show host Larry King.
The City Council voted Wednesday to rename the block "Larry King Square" in recognition of King's 50 years in broadcasting.
Forbes Magazine Honors Christiane Amanpour
Forbes Magazine came out with its yearly list of the 100 Most Powerful Women issue and CNN’s own Christiane Amanpour made this list. Suzanne Hoppough of Forbes magazine wrote the following about Christiane
Forbes The 100 Most Powerful Women#74 Christiane Amanpour
Chief international correspondent, CNN U.S.
Praised the world over for delivering breaking news in the midst of crises like war-torn Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and the Persian Gulf, Amanpour has captured worldwide respect for her relentless pursuit of scoops. There's a reason why she is one of the most honored TV journalists in the U.S. Amanpour has become an authoritative voice in the media on Islam, an authority that is backed by vast Middle East sources. Amanpour often gets access where other reporters are not welcome. That's why Amanpour routinely beats her competition. She landed the first and only interview with Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has interviewed Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf and Syrian president Bashar el Assad on the UN investigation into Syria's involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The daughter of an Iranian airline executive, Amanpour began her career as a graphic designer for a television station in Providence, R.I. Known for her integrity and humanity, Amanpour has won nine news and documentary Emmy awards and two George Polk awards. Amanpour was named by Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, just one step shy of knighthood. Amanpour recently began working on documentaries, including "God's Warriors," a look at religious fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, as well as "The War Within," a look at the growing Islamic unrest in the U.K.