Monday, July 17, 2006
Not let into Lebanon
Since Anderson and producer Tommy Evans last blogged, the team has been making its way to Cyprus.

You may not be aware of some of the specific challenges of traveling in the Middle East. If you have a number of Israeli stamps in your passport, then it is all but certain you won't be allowed into certain Arab countries. (Many reporters request that Israel not stamp their passports to avoid this. Generally, Israel accommodates.)

As it happens, Anderson and his team were barred from entering Lebanon over the weekend because -- we are guessing -- we had already been broadcasting from Israel and suspicions about "who is reporting what about whom" tend to arise.

At the same time, the story has moved forward to include evacuations -- those trapped in Lebanon who want out. With the Beirut airport bombed-out, direct airlifts are not possible. Thousand of Arabs are streaming into neighboring Syria.

That brings me back to, "Why Cyprus for the show tonight?"

Cyprus is the Mediterranean island country geographically in the middle of all of this -- a short flight or a 4-hour boat ride from the war zone. Almost overnight, it has become the central staging area for evacuees to get transported out of the region. Anderson will anchor the show from there tonight.
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 5:02 PM ET
Is there any talk there about a multi-national allied force to join w/ Israel?
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 5:15 PM ET
Thanks for the update. Maybe people will start giving AC and team a break about not being in Lebanon and giving equal treatment to the Lebanese side of the story. Hey folks, they are just doing their jobs as best as they can. Thanks again for the update.
Posted By Anonymous Heidi, Greenville, SC : 5:20 PM ET
Too bad you were not let into Lebanon. We were hoping for some balanced reporting in the US media for once that would show what the Lebanese population is going through. While in Cyprus, you might want to shed light on the case of 400 Lebanese tourists gone on a 6-day vacation on a cruise ship and stranded there after the war began: they are not allowed into Cyprus (they need visas), and cannot go back to Lebanon either. The situation on the ship is disastrous, with people (including elderly people and children) lacking medicine, and other basic needs.
Posted By Anonymous Leah -- McLean, VA : 5:24 PM ET
Thanks for the update. No one seems to be reporting the Cyprus aspect yet so 360 once again leads the way.

Good work all.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren, MI : 5:30 PM ET
That's too bad because it's hard to get a sense of what life has turned into over there. We have some family that has moved into their mountain home for the time being to avoid the bombing in and around the major cities in Lebanon.

For them, it is bringing back the bad memories of what they went through in the mid 1970's. Their land has become a battleground again and they are caught in the crossfire of a war that they never wanted in the first place. This is a country that has literally been hijacked by a small extremist population of militants funded by outside nations, but is bearing the brunt of an attack on its citizens and infrastructure.

I urge you to keep trying and especially get some feedback from the very large Christian population that lives there. Good Luck!
Posted By Anonymous HT, Los Angeles California : 5:32 PM ET
Why Cypress? I'd rather they be in a foxhole in Israel where the action is. What's happening inside the conflict is more interesting that watching lots of Jumbo Jets take off from Cypress. However, I've heard there are great night clubs on Cypress.
Posted By Anonymous Reed, Sandy, Utah : 5:40 PM ET
I hope you all will be getting opinions from refugees. First-hand accounts from the people who live there should be very interesting.
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve M, El Paso, TX : 5:42 PM ET

We look forward to Anderson�s broadcast from Cyprus. I always wonder how you all managing to do these broadcast in the midst of these dangerous situations. It is difficult enough to watch from a distance I cannot even begin to think how all these journalists mange to compose themselves and broadcast with a straight face. We owe them endless gratitude for putting their lives on the line to share this crucial moment in history.

And for the sake of those who call this tumultuous place home, I hope there will be some kind of solution before things get any worse. It is sad to see the suffering and displacement of families especially the children�.

Thank you
Posted By Anonymous Hanna, San Francisco, CA : 5:46 PM ET
I'm glad and relieved that many people have been able to find a way out. Hopefully others will be able to do the same.
Thank you for the update, we appreciate all of the hard work.
Posted By Anonymous Despina, Charlotte, NC : 5:46 PM ET
I'm glad that Anderson and crew will be in Cyprus. It will be nice to see that perspective. And, for the most part, he will be out of harms way.
Posted By Anonymous Deana, Austin TX : 5:48 PM ET
For this current time period Cyprus is the obvious choice, it's well out of missle strike range but close enough for good information to be found. The violence will not end till the United Nations can form some type of a comprise.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Winfield Quincy, Illinois : 5:49 PM ET
Thank you for continuing to keep us updated.

And thanks for your efforts to provide all sides of the story, with your reporters all over the area.

Boulder, Colorado
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 5:53 PM ET
Since you weren't let into Lebanon, I'll describe what you're missing. It's never quiet anymore in Beirut. First, there's the new voices in the neighborhood, the refugees that were lucky enough to escape from Southern Lebanon and Beirut's southern suburbs before Israeli started bombing. Then, there's the whine of the generators -- Israel's land and sea blockade of Lebanon means not enough fuel can get into the country, so the government is rationing hours of electricity across the country. Generators are surprisingly loud. Then there's the semi-constant drone of an Israeli F-16 overhead. With the Beirut airport bombed, if you can hear a plane, that means it's Israeli and, thus, dangerous. Which means you have to wonder: scoping mission, on the way to an attack, or just back from one? Then there are the booms themselves. In West Beirut, the loudest, the ones that shake your windows and make the CDs topple over, are those from Israeli gunboats, shooting their shells over your head into the port or the southern suburbs. Less loud, but more frequent, are the bombs from the F-16s, which can happen at any time. Sometimes at 10.30am, when you're finishing a late breakfast. Sometimes at 4 pm, when you're driving back from visiting a friend, watching her try to help her parents, grandmother and sister leave a small village in Southern Lebanon. Often at night, waking you up at 1.30am, and then again at 2.10am, and then again at 2.20am, and so on. And then a final shot at dawn, in case you had actually managed to fall asleep.

And then, finally, there's the crying. No constant, but devastating. Over 150 Lebanese civilians have been killed in the past 6 days, and thousands more are in immediate danger. Anywhere you go, so someone's in tears.

Sonya Knox
Beirut, Lebanon
Posted By Anonymous Sonya Knox (originally from Plymouth, MA, now living in Beirut, Lebanon) : 5:53 PM ET
It is possible to have two passports. One for when you travel into Israel and other places friendly with Israel, and one for travel to the Arab countries.
Posted By Anonymous Nils, San Diego, CA : 5:55 PM ET
Thanks for explaining to those that complained AC360 team being "pro" Israel. I have to say I am relief the team is not in the middle of the fire now. Stay safe and take care.
Posted By Anonymous Chew, Houston TX : 5:56 PM ET
After learning of the conditions mentioned in your piece, one can only further increase their support for the Israeli's. The Israeli government is responding to the insurgency present on thier border so seriously, as they very well should. This small country is surrounded by violent, extremist Muslim countries who extremist members, in government, threaten Israel's values and societal values. The Western world must support Israel. One must remember that the majority of Westerners believe in one of the religions based in this Holy part of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Fred Medicine Hat, Albert, Canada : 5:58 PM ET
Lebanon's relectance to admit the 360 team is hardly surprising in light of the blatantly biased and pro-Israel tone of the reporting on CNN over the weekend. Much attention was given to rocket strikes in Israel and the relatively few Israeli casualties while little attention was given to the extensive Israeli bombing of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and the disproportionate number of Lebanese casualties. Is there no concept of journalistic balance at CNN?
Posted By Anonymous Linden Best, Toronto, Canada : 6:01 PM ET
The people of Lebanon are being assulted. Their new found peace has been shattered and it has been done by Israel. God forgive them because I don't think any single muslim or christian in the middle east is going to. Israel is the creator of all the middle east instability and all the American people see at Prime Time News is the lives of the movie stars.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Barsoum Delray Beach Florida : 6:03 PM ET
I am so glad you have clarified your travels. There are exceptions made for reporters in regard to access to the stories but often you too are turned away. I commented recently on A.C.'s blog that we, as viewers, have to wait out the stories in the Mideast before we start judging if Anderson has covered all the angles. I realize the waiting game is difficult, particularly with friends/relatives entwined in these situations. Take care of yourselves!!!!!!!!!!:)
Posted By Anonymous Cindy :) Waterford, CT : 6:03 PM ET
What about U.S military that is in Lebanon? Have there been any official statements? And if U.S military were to be harmed or killed in Lebanon by Israeli fire, would we even here about it?
Posted By Anonymous Renee- Seymour, IN : 6:04 PM ET
I'm hoping tonight's coverage will tell the stories of the ordinary people caught in the middle of this situation.

Stay safe, 360 team.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Wakefield, RI : 6:06 PM ET
Thank you, I wanted to yell at all those saying that he should show the Lebanon side of the story, it's not like he can give them a call. He's doing the best he can, he's never let us down before, why would he now.
Posted By Anonymous MB, Mobile, AL : 6:13 PM ET
The central fact about the Middle East is that the US has the power to impose a settlement on Israel and refuses to do so. The Palestinians have legitimate grievances.

And a slight digression - pro-Israeli "advisors" in the US state department and the Pentagon were largely responsible for the US invasion of Iraq. This invasion was and is a major criminal act. CNN will not, for obvious reasons, address these issues.
Posted By Anonymous Sean, Vancouver, Canada : 6:13 PM ET
Linda Best - We get to watch the lives of the rich and famous at prime time. CNN is trying to distract us Problem is our other alternative is FOX news which is another dangerous entity.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Barsoum Delray Beach Florida : 6:16 PM ET
Thank you for this update. I find the "behind the scenes" information as compelling as the ever changing news you are giving us on air. I suspect I'm not alone in that. Anderson, the crew of 360 and all the CNN correspondents/crews are doing a magnificent job of keeping us informed on this volatile and sometimes confusing situation. I wish I could say the same for the immature, irresponsible "leaders" of the countries and factions involved.
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, Honolulu, Hawaii : 6:22 PM ET
CNN and its producer know darn well that if you want into Lebanon, you cant get in there via Israel, ESPECIALLY during an attack by ISREAL. What did your producer fall off the turnip wagon yesterday? Why didnt you go to Lebanon first and then go to Israel? Its the most obvious that Lebanon is going to be the hardest hit when Israel attacks...why not use some common sense? Not to mention Journalistic intellegence of one of the largest News networks in the world. sheesh, what the ???
Posted By Anonymous Jay, toronto canada : 6:35 PM ET
When I read some of the comments made by readers who complain of "pro"-Israel CNN reports, such angers me to no extent. Are we already upon the new generation where the Holocaust and World War II is forgotten? The entire world went to war with Nazi Germany when the Nazis threatened the existence of the free world. And now that extremist Muslims groups have resorted to terrorism and endless violence in an attempt to rid the world of the Jewish state (which I must add is and has been an issue for the last couple of centuries), it is biased for CNN to report from Haifa and other Israeli cities? Do the Islamic nations not understand that Israel and the existence of the Jewish state is dependent on its army and naval units?! Do the extremist groups believe that Israel will merely roll over and die once its security is threatened?
On another front, was it Israel who offered up their soldier to the Hamas movement in Gaza to be kidnapped so that the Israeli military could reinvade Gaza?! Did they sacrifice two soldiers in Northern Israel so that they could have cause to retaliate against the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon? Is it Israel's fault that the Lebanese government has no authority to control its own political powers?
I will stop with my rhetorical questions at this point, but as I am sure you all know, there are two sides to every debate, but while most Islamic nations deny Israel's right to exist, Israel makes the effort to withdraw troops and civilians from Gaza and the West Bank in the hope to reach an agreement on peace. Did they perform this action that sacrificed millions of dollars in property and settlements so that they could reoccupy a few months later?!
I apologize for my defense of Israel, but I find it absurd that individuals can openly call Israel the villain in this war. After the two soldiers were kidnapped, Israel retaliated by attacking Hezbollah strongholds and headquarters. Only once Katyusha rockets began flying into Haifa and other heavily-populated Israeli cities did the actual retaliation begin. Israel is launching GPS-guided missiles at Hezbollah settlements, while Hezbollah launches 'blind' rockets in any direction they seem fit to - I'll leave it at that.
Posted By Anonymous J Levy, Nashville, TN : 6:42 PM ET
I think american media show a biased view of things. america has 4% of the worlds population and yet it is considered the strongest power. How come it chooses to back every wrong that Israel does - against the view of the rest of the world. How come it gives Israel a green light for this massacre. I think all american politicians should have african roots (just for a change). That way they will treat Israel/Palestinians/Lebanon as equals. They will make sure that poverty and hungar in Africa is eradicated. Change is a good thing. Oprah for President. She loves all people.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Boise, Idaho : 9:33 AM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.