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Algerian Diary: Frank Kearns and the "Impossible Assignment" for CBS News

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Frank Kearns was the go-to guy at CBS News for danger- ous stories in Africa and the Middle East in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. By his own account, he was nearly killed 114 times. He took stories that nobody else wanted to cover and was challenged to get them on the air when nobody cared about this part of the world. But his stories were warning shots for conflicts th Frank Kearns was the go-to guy at CBS News for danger- ous stories in Africa and the Middle East in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. By his own account, he was nearly killed 114 times. He took stories that nobody else wanted to cover and was challenged to get them on the air when nobody cared about this part of the world. But his stories were warning shots for conflicts that play out in the headlines today. In 1957, Senator John Kennedy described America’s view of the Algerian war for independence as the Eisenhower Administration’s “head in the sand policy.” So CBS News decided to find out what was really happening there and to determine where Algeria’s war for independence fit into the game plan for the Cold War. They sent Frank Kearns to find out. Kearns took with him cameraman Yousef (“Joe”) Masraff and 400 pounds of gear, some of which they shed, and they hiked with FLN escorts from Tunisia, across a wide “no-man’s land,” and into the Aures Mountains of eastern Algeria, where the war was bloodiest. They carried no passports or visas. They dressed as Algerians. They refused to bear weapons. And they knew that if captured, they would be executed and left in unmarked graves. But their job as journalists was to seek the truth whatever it might turn out to be. This is Frank Kearns’s diary.   


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Frank Kearns was the go-to guy at CBS News for danger- ous stories in Africa and the Middle East in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. By his own account, he was nearly killed 114 times. He took stories that nobody else wanted to cover and was challenged to get them on the air when nobody cared about this part of the world. But his stories were warning shots for conflicts th Frank Kearns was the go-to guy at CBS News for danger- ous stories in Africa and the Middle East in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. By his own account, he was nearly killed 114 times. He took stories that nobody else wanted to cover and was challenged to get them on the air when nobody cared about this part of the world. But his stories were warning shots for conflicts that play out in the headlines today. In 1957, Senator John Kennedy described America’s view of the Algerian war for independence as the Eisenhower Administration’s “head in the sand policy.” So CBS News decided to find out what was really happening there and to determine where Algeria’s war for independence fit into the game plan for the Cold War. They sent Frank Kearns to find out. Kearns took with him cameraman Yousef (“Joe”) Masraff and 400 pounds of gear, some of which they shed, and they hiked with FLN escorts from Tunisia, across a wide “no-man’s land,” and into the Aures Mountains of eastern Algeria, where the war was bloodiest. They carried no passports or visas. They dressed as Algerians. They refused to bear weapons. And they knew that if captured, they would be executed and left in unmarked graves. But their job as journalists was to seek the truth whatever it might turn out to be. This is Frank Kearns’s diary.   

20 review for Algerian Diary: Frank Kearns and the "Impossible Assignment" for CBS News

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adair

    Good read about a very brave journalist in the early days of TV journalism. Historically informative as to how the French behaved in Algeria after WWII and about the Algerian people themselves about whom I knew nothing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Why have I not heard of this guy? Oh wait, it appears that he was a reporter/spy. So bad ass.

  3. 4 out of 5

    BJ

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne Stuhlfeier

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cristi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Teri

  11. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ina Cawl

  13. 5 out of 5

    Apratim Mukherjee

  14. 4 out of 5

    X

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Begin

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  18. 4 out of 5

    P M E

  19. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Logan

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