Journalists, despite being “targeted with that red hot iron of fake news,” are producing some of their best work, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour told the Committee to Protect Journalists Nov. 15.
A black-tie gathering of 1,000 attended the event at the Grand Hyatt, New York.
Meryl Streep & Christine Amanpour
CPJ, the richest group in journalism, reported $15.9 million in assets as of the end of 2015, latest year available. Seats at its annual event, attended by a who’s who of business and media, are $1,000. A “hat” is passed around that generates additional funds.
Streep Lauds “Battered” J’s
Actress Meryl Streep, making an unscheduled appearance, called journalists “intrepid, underpaid, over-extended, trolled, and un-extolled, young and old, battered, bought and sold, hyper-alert crack-caffeine fiends.”
“You’re ambitious, contrarian, fiery, dogged and determined B.S. detectives,” she added. “There has never been a more exciting, exhausting or, let’s face it, dangerous time to be an investigative journalist, especially for women.”
CPJ, tracking assaults on journalists, including imprisonment, fines, banishment, and murder, says 1,262 journalists have been killed since 1992. Most of the murders are not solved and many are not even investigated, researchers have found.
Trump’s “Fake News” Tweet Hit
Amanpour, commenting on President Trump’s recent “fake news” tweet that was directed at CNN, said, “We are providing facts, without fear or favor.”
A CPJ statement last year called Trump “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” Although usually focused on threats to journalists abroad, CPJ said it will pay more attention to U.S. affairs.
Jeff Zucker, CNN president and chair of the 2016 dinner, said the network “will hold the administration’s feet to the fire and they should respect that even if they don’t welcome it.”
David Rhodes, CBS News president and chair of the 2017 dinner, said, “Tonight we honor the work of journalists who have faced great hardships, risked their lives, and too often, lost their lives, in order to shine light on some of the darkest corners of the world.
“We are moved by their passion to find and report the stories we need to read, hear and see. They have a special kind of courage. They take risks to tell these stories, no matter the sacrifice.”
This year, the CPJ honored Pravit Rojanaphruk, Thailand; Ahmed Abba, Cameroon; Patricia Mayorga, Mexico, and Afrah Nasser, Yemen.
Recognition was given to two past recipients who were killed: Pavel Sheremet, Ukraine, and Javier Valdez Cardenas, Mexico.
Nasser told the gathering, “For me, being here is not to represent Yemeni journalists only, but all Yemenis who feel abandoned by world leaders and international media that are not covering their suffering sufficiently.”