CNN's coverage -- at least that which I saw -- was quite good. I'll have more on that later in this posting. But there was one moment that especially caught my attention, and it was one that demonstrates how the technology we take for granted today can cut both ways.
Shortly after 10:00 p.m. reports began to filter in that Saddam Hussein had indeed been executed. While Anderson Cooper was taking his viewers to Iraq, where two reporters were providing live updates, and discussing the situation with guests here in the United States, the crawl at the bottom of the screen remained active.
What was it showing at one point? College basketball scores. From the night before. Shortly thereafter the entire crawl came down and was replaced by CNN's typical breaking news crawl.
As mentioned, the coverage that I watched on Friday evening I thought was quite good. John Roberts -- who I contend might deserve an even larger role at CNN -- anchored the 8:00 pm hour, and then was part of a roundtable discussion during Larry King Live, in the 9:00 pm hour. He then was one of Cooper's guests in the 10:00 pm hour. Of course, the problem with covering any live story in which the critical event could happen at any point is that a news organization is forced to fill...stretch...talk, whatever term you wish to use.
What I thought was particularly interesting was:
1. the number of guests who were critical of either the trial that led to the guilty verdict against and death sentence imposition for Saddam, or
2. of the intense reporting of a man whose power was long gone and who was no longer a player (so to speak) in Iraqi governmental affairs.
I thought CNN should have provided more live pictures/feeds of television stations throughout Iraq and the Middle East. The file video of Saddam -- used and re-used -- became tiresome after awhile. In fairness to CNN, it might have chosen not to use this live coverage for fears that some kind of controversial or uncomfortable image of Saddam's execution might have been disseminated.
Something else to consider about the news about Saddam's execution -- the first reports of his death came from Al-Hurra television, an Arabic-language television station with close ties to the United States. This should be a troubling issue because it feeds the idea that the United States was either involved directly in the execution, or at least was adamant in ensuring that the news of the execution got out. It was not until 20 minutes later that state television delivered news of Saddam's death.