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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
CBS backs down on Lynch movie
Private Jessica Lynch after her rescue by US Special Forces
Private Jessica Lynch was praised for her bravery

American TV network CBS has admitted it was unwise to propose a television movie to Jessica Lynch about her experiences in Iraq while also discussing a news interview with the former prisoner of war.

Private Lynch was captured by Iraqi troops during the recent war in Iraq along with six other soldiers after an ambush which left 11 Americans died.

Betsy West, a CBS News executive, wrote to the Lynch family suggesting a two-hour documentary on the Private's ordeal but the letter also noted the company's interest in making it into a TV movie.

"CBS Entertainment 'tell us this would be the highest priority for the CBS movie division'," the letter stated.

CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said they should have done things differently.

"Maybe that went over the line. That was not respecting, possibly, the sanctity of CBS News," Moonves said on Sunday.

"Probably, if we had to do it all over again, a movie of the week never would have been mentioned in the letter," he added.


CBS has now given up on the idea of making the film.

"As these companies become more and more vertically integrated, you know, sometimes you do go over the line," said Moonves, on the expansion of media conglomerates.

CBS itself is owned by Viacom and its sister companies include MTV and publisher Simon and Schuster.

Lynch was rescued by US special forces in April and is due to be released from hospital in Washington DC on Tuesday.

An investigation by the BBC's Correspondent programme said the story of the rescue was "one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived".

But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said any claims that the facts of Private Lynch's rescue were misrepresented by the US military were "void of all facts and absolutely ridiculous".

Her experience has attracted a lot of attention from other US television networks.

NBC are due to start filming their as yet unauthorised Lynch movie in August.

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