Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Eason Jordan and the CNN Coverup

As many of the big bloggers have noted, CNN executive Eason Jordan apparently made some off-the-wall accusations against the American military while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

It's a bit of a puzzling story to follow, because as far as I have yet seen, no one has reported on precisely what he said. All we know comes from second hand reports. And while some of these reports are more than a bit alarming, having the transcription of the actual statements would seem important.

But that brings us to the weirdest aspect of the story thus far: the Mainstream Media doesn't seem to see a story here, so they're not covering it. This is more than a little unusual.

According to CNN's web site, here's the guy we're talking about:

Eason Jordan is executive vice president and chief news executive of CNN. He chairs the CNN Editorial Board, is a member of the CNN Executive Committee and provides strategic advice to CNN's senior management team. Jordan's global portfolio includes managing CNN's editorial relationships with international affiliates, governments and major newspapers. He oversees CNN's World Report Conference and the CNN International Professional Program. Jordan travels the world both as a CNN executive and a working journalist.
This isn't exactly some small-fry rookie reporter no one would take seriously. Then we look at what he allegedly said (my own source was Captain's Quarters, but hat-tips all over the place here):

During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.
As Captain Ed stated succinctly in response:
...If indeed Forumblog reported this honestly, then Jordan needs to either produce the evidence for such charges or resign in disgrace, with his last action an apology to the US military aired in CNN's prime-time news show.

CNN did release a statement (but via e-mail, why not also on its web site?!) regarding this incident. From TKS:

Many blogs have taken Mr. Jordan's remarks out of context. Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordan simply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has also noted that the U.S. military on occasion has killed people who turned out to be journalists. The Pentagon has apologized for those actions.

Mr. Jordan was responding to an assertion by Cong. Frank that all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage."

So here's the problem... why isn't CNN providing a transcript? If the statements are as innocuous as they state, why the continuing cover-up? Don't insult your audience by simply telling them what they ought to conclude - provide them the evidence. Why is that so difficult?

Continued witholding of a transcript can only lend credence to Forumblog's version of the statements, to the detriment of CNN's reputation for honesty. Though at Powerline, Hindrocket reminds us about the status of that reputation.

"Jordan is the same guy who admitted that CNN sucked up to Saddam Hussein and didn't report what they knew about his regime."

Incidentally, if you're new to the blogosphere and have never witnessed a "blog swarm," here's a good place to watch one develop. Also keep an eye on Captain's Quarters. Ed's in his sink-his-teeth-into-a-story-and-hang-on-like-a-bulldog mode over this.

UPDATE: Captain Ed reports on some additional corroboration for the Forumblog version of events; this time from a witness personally sympathetic to Eason. We have yet to see a single first hand account that backs CNN's version of events, but we continue to hear from witnesses corroborating the more damning version.

UPDATE 2: With traffic still coming to this old post via links, let me direct you to some of my more recent posts on this topic:

Whither the Ethical Press?

CNN More Aggresively Covering Up

Eason Jordan Responds

Nordlinger Further Corroborates Eason Jordan Incident

Rony Abovitz Speaks Out Again

Eason Jordan and the Imperative for Evidence


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