Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Eason Jordan - The CNN Coverup Reconsidered

Required caveat. I’m not really a clearing-house for this story, and I don't intend to be. If you want one of those, I suggest you hit Captain’s Quarters, Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, LaShawn Barber, and perhaps the new blog devoted to this story Easongate (though I prefer calling it L’Affair Eason Jordan).

I want to focus on one particular aspect of this that seems to be getting forgotten in the rush to get the video and/or transcript. This goes beyond Mr. Jordan himself.

Remember the e-mail? The one CNN sent out unsolicited to bloggers covering this story? Let’s look at what it said:

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:[emphasis mine] 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."

Pardon me, but according to Michelle Malkin’s interview with David Gergen:

Gergen said he asked Jordan point blank whether he believed the policy of the U.S. military was to sanction the targeting of journalists. Gergen said Jordan answered no, but then proceeded to speculate about a few incidents involving journalists killed in the Middle East [emphasis mine] --a discussion which Gergen decided to close down because "the military and the government weren't there to defend themselves.

Just stating the facts? Not according to Gergen. He's not reliable enough for you? Fine. Let’s go to Malkin’s interview with fellow conference attendee Rep. Barney Frank:

I asked Rep. Frank again if his recollection was that Jordan initially maintained that the military had a deliberate policy of targeting journalists. Rep. Frank affirmed that [emphasis mine], noting that Jordan subsequently backed away orally and in e-mail that it was official policy, but "left open the question" of whether there were individual cases in which American troops targeted journalists.

Light on the gravitas for a skeptic like you? Fine. Let’s go to a French scholar with Brookings Institute credentials who was also present and heard the remarks (HT - Hugh):

It must be said that Eason Jordan, one of the star journalists of CNN, didn't mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalists in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and that they were made deliberate targets by both sides. [emphasis mine]

What should be apparent by now is that these accounts (and I could list others, but you get the point) do not in any way support CNN’s claim that Jordan “simply pointed out the facts.”

Think about this for a moment. CNN is seemingly guilty here of something far more serious than stonewalling to protect one of their executives. By my reading, they deliberately and (knowingly?) sent out false information about this story. They lied. Has there been a correction? Nothing of the kind in my inbox so far, which is CNN’s curiously preferred method of reporting this particular story.

CNN is the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news.” Isn’t e-mailing out misinformation about a story (apparently hoping those receiving it would believe and/or publish it) itself a rather significant ethics violation for a news organization?


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