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Networks vie for Lynch story

New York, June 17 (Reuters): US media giants are going to great lengths to win the exclusive story of former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch even though the army private apparently remembers nothing of her rescue during the war in Iraq.

The US TV networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — are all vying to win the most prized interview from the young soldier. Lynch’s April 1 rescue from an Iraqi hospital by US forces made the 20-year-old supply clerk from Palestine, West Virginia, a hero to many and a symbol of US patriotic pride.

Two high profile news names have tried the personal touch to win favour with Lynch, according to a New York Times report, which said that Katie Couric of NBC News shipped Lynch a bundle of patriotic books and that ABC News’ Diane Sawyer sent her a locket with a photograph of Lynch’s home.

CBS went farther in courting Lynch, mentioning a slew of other possible projects involving other divisions of its corporate parent, Viacom, the Times reported.

Among the items offered were several MTV specials, a Country Music Television special, a made-for-TV movie, a possible book deal with Simon & Schuster and a tell-all television interview.

“The Jessica Lynch story was an important chapter in the Iraq war and every news organisation...I think would be interested in speaking to her about her experience,” said Jeffrey Schneider, an ABC News vice-president. “It’s self evident that we’ve been in contact with her as has every other news organisation on the planet Earth.”

Lynch has been recuperating from her injuries at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington, DC, and apparently can shed little light on what happened when special operations troops stormed into the hospital in a nighttime raid.

A BBC documentary suggested the rescue was a Hollywood-style stunt designed to boost patriotic support for the war — something the Pentagon has denied.

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