I was kind of surprised last night when Brit Hume mentioned the Eason Jordan scandal that Christy hadn’t heard of it. But, she doesn’t read blogs and the media has not dared to mention it, so I should not have been surprised.
The gist is this: At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Eason Jordan, the head of news at CNN, said that the US Military has actively targetted journalists. Liberal Congressman Barney Frank was on the discussion panel with Jordan and immediately started probing this. Jordan backpeddled. Liberal Senator Christopher Dodd was in the audience and was outraged. David Gergen, former advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton was moderating the panel. He too was outraged. They all back up the claim that Jordan said the United States Military is or has actively targetted journalists for killing in Iraq.
Jordan now denies making that statement, despite the confirmation of numerous very credible sources. Today, finally, a media outlet is talking about it. Unfortunately, it is only on the editorial page. Fortunately, it’s the Wall Street Journal.
By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forum’s panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been “tortured for weeks” at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called “Al-Jazeera boy” by his American captors.
Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel, interjected: Had American troops actually targeted journalists? And had CNN done a story about it? Well no, Mr. Jordan replied, CNN hadn’t done a story on this, specifically. And no, he didn’t believe the Bush administration had a policy of targeting journalists. Besides, he said, “the [American] generals and colonels have their heart in the right place.”
By this point, one could almost see the wheels of Mr. Jordan’s mind spinning, slowly: “How am I going to get out of this one?” But Mr. Frank and others kept demanding specifics. Mr. Jordan replied that “there are people who believe there are people in the military” who have it out for journalists. He also recounted a story of a reporter who’d been sent to the back of the line at a checkpoint outside of Baghdad’s Green Zone, apparently because the soldier had been unhappy with the reporter’s dispatches.
It should be pointed out that Eason Jordan is also the guy who wrote, after the Iraq War began, that CNN knew all about the atrocities in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but chose not to report them. CNN thought it better to have a broadcast coming out of Iraq than to speak openly about what was going on. The fear was that their journalists could be targets of Saddam and the network would get tossed from the country.
Eason Jordan should be fired.