CNN’s Not-So-Exclusive Interview

By Chris Ariens 

From the exclusives that aren’t file, on Friday night CNN’s AC360 aired an interview with Muhammad Dakhlalla, a jailed American ISIS recruit.

CNN’s Drew Griffin called his sit-down “the first extensive, tell-all interview.” But ABC’s Diane Sawyer also interviewed Dakhlalla on the same day, back October. ABC aired their interview that week. But CNN chose to hold their interview until now.

A CNN spokesperson provided TVNewser with a letter that showed Dakhlalla preferred an interview with CNN, but that doesn’t explain why the network still called it exclusive, when they knew ABC’s Sawyer also sat down with him. Here’s a portion of the letter, emailed in August, from Dennis Harmon, an attorney and friend of the Dakhlalla family, to a Justice Department spokesperson about the jailhouse interviews.


At this time, Mr. Daklalla only wants to be interviewed by CNN. The others can be added later if the DOJ (or for that matter the State Department in its own internet campaign) decides more exposure of the mistake of joining ISIL would be of value to the federal government in its efforts to combat recruitment. Anything Mr. Daklalla can do in that effort he wishes to do and will cooperate fully.

However, he has made a promise to CNN after talking to both CNN and ABC. He wants to do the interview with CNN.