Tuesday, August 10, 2004

CNN bosses are shitting their pants over the Olympics -- and insisting their correspondents covering the Games have been through a hostile environments course.

Not that it's a big deal for us on the BBC News team here in Athens -- most of us have done the course -- known as HEFAT (Hostile Environment and First Aid Training) -- and some of us have used the skills learnt in situations far more realistic than we'd hoped for.

Two issues arise from the Indy article:

1) Factual error numero uno: The "presenters, camera crews and producers" from CNN won't be "covering such harmless-sounding events as the triple jump, the gymnastics and the dressage" because CNN doesn't have the rights to show the Olympics -- and therefore its teams aren't allowed anywhere near the Olympic venues. CNN will be strictly barred from the venues -- and will only be allowed to show the briefest snippets from the Games itself. Its coverage of the Olympics will look decidedly shabby compared with NBC's.

2) As I've written before, the risk assessment we've received suggests the chance of a terrorist attack on the Games is extremely low. CNN is spending tens of thousands of pounds sending its teams on HEFAT courses to protect them against a danger which barely exists. It's great they're trying to protect their staff -- it's just a shame they've picked the wrong target.


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