With Dan Rather, Diane Sawyer and Larry King trying to get an interview, why did besieged Army Pfc. Lynndie England (infamous for holding a naked Iraqi on a leash) pick Brian Maass, investigative reporter for Denver’s KCNC?
Not theirs. Her attorney’s. Denver Attorney Rose Zapor remembered Maass from a story he had done on one of her clients, a man who, as fate would have it, claimed he was abused in prison. Zapor tipped off Maass that she was in the running to handle the England case. She got it and quickly arranged the interview May 9.
Naturally, he pitched for an exclusive, a negotiation he likens to “wrangling cats.” But the struggle paid off—and the interview was heard around the world, thanks to an abundance of “fair use” poaching by various outlets.
But why Maass? “[Zapor] knew my work, knew I played it down the middle,” he says, “and I’m not going to drop in from New York today and leave tomorrow.” Maass isn’t leaving Fort Bragg, either. When he asked England if there were things worse than the pictures, things that “haunted her and gave her nightmares,” she said yes—then quickly went off the record. Maass is trying to independently confirm the information, which he says could be “really big.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.