While the Afghanistan war was ongoing, civilian casualty of Afghani people became a subject of media networks, some of the media outlets wanted to cover this as part of the story and its context, while some other media outlets made the decision to not mention the civilian devastation as it may undermine the public support amongst US citizens for the Afghanistan war (Filkins42). The chairman of CNN network, Walter Isaacson issued an order to the reporters and news anchors on CNN staff to always balance the news about Afghani civilian casualties with the argument that Taliban is harboring the terrorists who attacked US on 9/11. The direct quote from CNN chairman was- ‘seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan (Kurtz).’ This note by CNN chairman was to address to his staff that while reporting on Afghanistan war, they should make sure that they present the news from American perspective and not vantage of Afghani civilians, and should make it clear that Taliban people who harbored terrorists use civilians as shield (Friedman, 2010).
Some sources later claimed that this statement from CNN to its staff was a result of CNN bowing down to certain demographics of its viewership. Few weeks after the first memo, Rick Davis, CNN head of standard and practices wrote that “while reports of massive civilian casualties are coming from Afghanistan, and network reporters and anchors should make sure to keep repeating the statement by Pentagon that they are making great attempts to minimize the civilian causalities and civilian casualties are happening on massive scales as Taliban personnel are harboring in populous areas more (Grey 18).” In a way, this was an example of how some media outlets in US were representing interests of government rather than trying to be entirely independent(Junger 20). The order from Rick Davis to CNN staff required the news segments to always end the Afghanistan war with a pentagon supported version of statement (Wells). Due to this stance of CNN, a major news network in US, many media outlets and reporters were concerned about CNN coverage of Afghan war turning into a ‘pro-American agenda’ with their reports.