NEW YORK— CNN and CBS both paid for videotapes that depict al-Qaida poison gas experiments, but insisted Tuesday — without naming their sources — that the money didn’t go to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.
CNN began showing its video, from a cache of 64 al-Qaida tapes taken from Afghanistan, on Sunday night, and CBS followed with similar material the following morning.
CNN, which is continuing to air fresh material from the cache, at first said it had not paid for the tapes. On Tuesday, blaming internal miscommunication, the network said it had paid in the “low five figures.” The Miami Herald reported the amount as $30,000.
CBS paid a “very nominal, very standard” fee for its tapes, said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president of news coverage. She wouldn’t say how much.
Most television networks occasionally pay for newsworthy video they can’t obtain elsewhere. For example, many paid for pictures after Sept. 11 that showed planes flying into the World Trade Center from different angles.
A journalism ethics expert suggested that, in this case, the networks should be more forthcoming about their arrangements.