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Posts Tagged ‘Drew Griffin’

Drew Griffin: Up to Media ‘To Not Take Its Foot Off the Gas Pedal’

griffin.drewIt was Drew Griffin‘s reporting that broke the lid off the scandal at the VA hospitals, ultimately leading to the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki Friday.

The CNN correspondent and his team have been working the story since last November, beginning with vetting the complaints of Phoenix VA hospital whistleblower, Dr. Samuel Foote. “You really have to vet them very carefully,” Griffin told us in an interview Friday, noting that whisteblowers can often be vindictive and have impure motives.

As for the delayed reaction from the White House over the scandal, Griffin says he was “flabbergasted” by the president’s lack of awareness of the widespread fraud and abuse.

“I was confused by his [the president's] statements prior because he didn’t seem to absorb the enormity of the problem.”

“It’s really up to the media now to not take its foot off the gas pedal,” Griffin said, especially once the scandal falls off the front page.

“CNN has told me since I’ve gotten here 10 years ago, ‘go out and find crap, dig it up, and put it on the air.’ We do a ton of stories here that I think are unbelievably important. I have never lost faith in what CNN has done, or can do.”

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Greta: ‘I’m Not Very Happy with Myself’

In her “Off the Record” commentary Friday night, Greta Van Susteren took herself to the woodshed for not doing more to bring light to the problems in the VA hospitals. As CNN’s Drew Griffin told us late Friday, the media must now keep a sharp eye on what’s happening to veterans’ healthcare, lest nothing be fixed. Greta says she’s “not very happy with myself” over her coverage, or lack of it. WATCH:


Jeff Zucker: ‘Today We Have Seen the True Scope of What CNN is and Can Be’

cnn the sixties promoThe premiere of CNN’s “The Sixties” averaged 1,390,000 total viewers and 284,000 A25-54 viewers Thursday night, according to Nielsen Fast National data. The preliminary numbers indicate the show’s premiere won the 9pmET timeslot and the re-air won the 10pmET timeslot in the demo. Final numbers will be in later today.

>Update: Finals are in, and CNN did indeed win in the demo at 9pmET and 10pmET.

In a note to staff this afternoon, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker wrote, “I wanted to take a moment to tell you how proud I am to work at CNN today.” Zucker cited the successful launch of “The Sixties” and the “outstanding, months-long reporting” by Drew Griffin, the reporter who broke the VA scandal story — which led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki this morning — as examples.

“Today we have seen the true scope of what CNN is and can be,” Zucker writes. “…CNN is evolving. Our commitment to news, investigative journalism and inspired storytelling is what we are all about.”

For the 9pmET hour, CNN was up +312% in total viewers and +190% in A25-54 viewers compared to the prior four-week average. Compared to past CNN specials — including “Blackfish,” “Weed” and past episodes of “The Sixties” — last night’s premiere ranked second overall in total viewers and 10th in the A25-54 demographic.

Zucker’s full note is after the jump. Read more

CNN’s Drew Griffin: Missing Plane Coverage Bought Us Time for VA Story

GriffinCNN correspondent Drew Griffin tells POLITICO that his network’s wall-to-wall coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 gave his investigative team more time to do the legwork on alleged misconduct at a Phoenix VA Hospital that left dozens of veterans dead waiting for care.

“Quite frankly, the plane coverage bought us some of that time, so that in April when we finally had it, I mean we didn’t sit on it very long … we were all over it,” said CNN Senior Investigative Reporter Drew Griffin of the Veterans Affairs report. “Once there was a news hole opening we were ready to go.”

Yesterday, Griffin told Jake Tapper he was caught off guard by President Obama’s statement on the VA controversy, sensing a disconnect between what he’s seeing and hearing in the country and what the president was talking about.

CNN Reporter ‘Caught Off Guard’ by Pres. Obama’s VA Statement

GriffinCNN correspondent Drew Griffin, whose investigation into dozens of veterans’ deaths at a Phoenix VA facility put a spotlight on potential wider spread misconduct, told Jake Tapper he was surprised by President Obama’s statement on the VA controversy earlier today.

“I was a little caught off guard by what apparently is a disconnect by what’s happening out here in the country and what the president is talking about,” Griffin said following Obama’s statement.

He added that Government Accountability Office reports already lay out the problems of dangerous patient backlogs at VA facilities, and no further studies are necessary.

Griffin said the veterans he talked to wanted more direct action by the president. “I was a little confused by the president’s remarks today,” he added.

More Shots Fired as Police Surround Suspect in Watertown [UPDATE: Suspect in Custody]

Police have cornered a man believed to be the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown.

Shots were heard in the area by several correspondents, including CNN’s Drew Griffin and ABC’s Linsey Davis, around 7pmET. On CNN, Griffin recounted what he had heard for Wolf Blitzer.”I just heard what sounded like multiple assault rifle shots to me. Rapidly fired, and then all of a sudden it stopped,” Griffin said.

Shortly after Griffin’s report, the CNN video feed focused on a shot of the media stand-up locations in Watertown that showed NBC’s Lester Holt readying for a live shot (pictured right).

In addition to the coverage on the cable networks, which has continued throughout the day, all three broadcast networks are on the air with special reports that have extended through the evening newscasts.

Around 7:15pmET, NBC dipped into the feed from New England Cable News and a reporter could clearly be heard saying, “we don’t know shit.”

“Well that was a fortuitous time to dip into New England Cable News. We apologize for the language we inadvertently aired during what was a mix-up of communications on their part,” Brian Williams said immediately.

And it may be a long night: around 7:45pmET, Williams read an email from a law enforcement source on the air that said “Believe it’s him. Slow going here.”  Stay tuned.

More, 8:33 p.m.: On ABC News, Diane Sawyer talked to a resident of the neighborhood who is a friend of the man that tipped the FBI to the suspect’s location in the boat. “He looked up and noticed something was off about his boat, so he got his ladder, and he put his ladder up on the side of the boat and climbed up, and then he saw blood on it, and he thought he saw what was a body,” he said.

More, 8:42p.m.: NBC News is broadcasting WHDH’s special coverage. The NBC affiliate is reporting that the suspect has been taken into custody alive. NBC confirms; ABC News, CBS News follow minutes later.

On cable, Fox News and MSNBC reported the suspect’s arrest at 8:42 p.m., followed by CNN at 8:45 p.m.

By 10:05 President Obama appeared in the briefing room grieving those lost and thanking the people of Boston and first responders. Also, a message for the media — both social and traditional: “In this age of instant reporting, tweets, and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions. But when a tragedy like this happens with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right. That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts.”

All the broadcast networks are in continuing coverage. “20/20″ on ABC, “Rock Center” on NBC and a special report on CBS. At 10:48pm, CBS News airs the first picture of the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the ground, getting medical care. “The police commissioner believes that he was shot in the firefight last night and had apparently been bleeding for 20 hours before he was found in the boat,” said Scott Pelley.

Boston Bombings: Tuesday Coverage Notes

Woman Arrested After CNN, NBC Reports Expose Newtown Charity Scam

A woman who was the subject of reports on CNN and NBC has been arrested after allegedly soliciting donations by posing as a relative of a Sandy Hook Elementary School victim.

Bronx resident Nouel Alba was the subject of a December 20 report by Drew Griffin on “Anderson Cooper 360″ and a December 21 report by Jeff Rossen on “Today.” Both Rossen and CNN investigative producer David Fitzpatrick paid a visit to Alba’s house in the Bronx, where she denied posing as the aunt of Noah Pozner, one of the children killed in the Newtown shooting.

Alba was arrested Thursday and charged with lying to FBI agents, who visited Alba to investigate the fraudulent fundraising scheme after the CNN and NBC reports aired. Watch the CNN report below and the NBC report after the jump:

Read more

CNN Spreading Out Correspondents Across Swing States

CNN has announced a slew of assignments for network correspondents in advance of the Presidential election. The network will have anchors and reporters in every swing state, as well as some floaters that will travel to multiple states, and the correspondents embedded with the campaigns. The network is launching segments branded as “The Final Battlegrounds” starting on Monday.

“CNN is deploying its vast resources and top-notch reporters into the states that the campaigns are targeting as the election nears,” said Mark Whitaker, executive VP and managing editor of CNN Worldwide in a statement. “Our in-depth reporting and analysis will keep voters informed of the up-to-the-minute developments that will determine the outcome of this extraordinarily close presidential race.”

The correspondent assignments, after the jump.
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CNN’s Drew Griffin Talks To Reddit Troll On ‘AC360′

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has made a point of regularly taking to task websites that post provocative and legally dubious photos of children. On his show last night, correspondent Drew Griffin spoke to Michael Brutsch, one of the people responsible for possibly the largest depository for the images, the “jailbait” forum on Reddit. Brutsch went by the alter-ego “ViolentAcrez” on the site.

Reddit is a massive website, and is probably best known for its “IAmA” posts, where accomplished people answer questions from the community. President Obama recently participated in an “IAmA.” It is also a home to pornography, and sections that feature children in sexually explicit or gruesome situations. Brutsch said that Reddit rewarded him for his posts in forums like “jailbait.”

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