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In terror's wake, TV news mulls mission

There's growing evidence that TV journalists will show appropriate restraint in reporting developments on last week's terrorist attack.

NBC News vice president Bill Wheatley issued a memo to news staffers Tuesday reminding them of the famous World War II saying, "loose lips sink ships." "Regrettably," wrote Wheatley, "in the wake of last week's tragic events, that old saying has new meaning. It's now time to be extremely cautious about what we report."

He urged the news team to take "great care to make sure that our broadcasts don't' inadvertently pass along information that could prove helpful to t hose who would do harm to our citizens, our officials and our military."

He said producers should exercise caution in reporting the movements of the president and military troops, as well as issues such as security arrangements and "secret military plans."

No hard and fast rule was issued: "It's the rule of common sense that applies," he said. "And one aspect of common sense is to check with the front office if you have any doubt whatsoever about the wisdom of reporting something."
- Steve McClellan