BACKSTORY12/31/2000 07:00:00 PM Eastern
CNN spent much of 2000 promoting its 20th birthday, but in terms of becoming a grown-up news player, many would say that day came 10 years ago-on Jan. 16, 1991-when its live coverage of the U.S. bombing of Iraq became one of TV's most unforgettable events. From a hotel room in Baghdad, as bombs rained on the city, CNN's Bernard Shaw, Peter Arnett (left) and John Holliman described the harrowing details; other news networks lost their telephone connections, but CNN, with the approval of the Iraqi government, gave the world its only live account.
Later Richard Cheney, then the defense secretary, called CNN's 16 1/2 hours of coverage "the best reporting I've seen on what transpired." But even less partisan observers were impressed. On the night of the attack, NBC eventually picked up CNN's feed. Said Tom Brokaw, "CNN used to be called 'the little network that could.'" Then he added, "It's no longer a little network."