CNN-Free Hotel Rooms

If you are a news junkie who’s used to flipping back and forth between all of the all-news television networks then you may want to be careful where you make your next hotel reservation. A Midwest hotel chain has pulled CNN from the TV channel lineup in its guest rooms, saying the cable network was aiding terrorism with the broadcast of a video showing Iraqi snipers shooting at U.S. troops.

The broadcast, which aired last month on both CNN and CNN Headline News, featured edited portions of a tape the network said it obtained from a rebel group called Islamic Army of Iraq. It was that piece of tape that infuriated James Thompson, president of the Iowa-based Stoney Creek Hospitality Corporation. He says the video crossed the line from journalism to propaganda.

“It was shocking and repulsive,” Thompson told local newspaper reporters. “Their actions supported terrorism.”

Thompson called his response “a moment of conscience.” He added that the decision to yank CNN and CNN Headline News from his hotels is permanent. However, guests at the Stoney Creek Inn’s 10 properties in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin can still view Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC and other cable news channels.

CNN has yet to respond to Thompson’s move (I doubt they will), but the hotel reports comments from guests have outnumbered complaints by a 3-1 margin. A CNN producer did defend the report as a whole saying it was an attempt to show the “unvarnished truth” about the Iraq war.

If you missed it–the video (which first appeared on “Anderson Cooper 360”) showed uniformed U.S. soldiers mingling with Iraqi civilians in a public area. An American gunner is then seen standing guard atop of a U.S. military vehicle. Viewers then hear a shot ring out. The video fades to black, and then returns to reveal a slumping solider and the sniper’s car drives away.

Ironically, according to a reporter dispatched to a Stoney Creek property in Missouri, most guests admitted they hadn’t even noticed the channels were missing.

Do you agree with the hotel owner’s decision to yank CNN?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.