After posting the entry earlier about Eason Jordan’s comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerand, I took some advice from Hugh Hewitt’s blog and sent a comment to CNN about it. As you might imagine, I had litte expectation (OK, no expecation) of getting a reply. Lo’ and behold, in less than an hour I did, in fact, get a reply. In its entirety, here it is:
|::::::::||From: “Admin, CNNia”
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.”
First, thanks for the reply. I’d love to direct that to the individual who did the typing, but they didn’t sign their work, for some reason. Now, whether this was someone in the editorial staff or some systems administrator who decided to intercept my e-mail, I can’t say, so I also can’t say whether or not the person who replied is in a position to know of what he speaks. Let’s assume he does and that he’s legitimately able to make this kind of response. (Why? Because we’re nice people, aren’t we?)
I would have to ask how Mr. Jordan’s comments were taken “out of context.” Inferring a bit from this reply, I assume the writer means that Jordan had an issue with Congressman Frank’s assertion that all the journalists were “collateral damage” based on the definition of “collateral damage.” The commonly accepted definition basically means that one party shot at another party and a third party (the journalists) just happened to be close enough to the point of attack that they were also killed. I am inferring, therefore, that Jordan’s comments were meant to refute that by saying that the journalists weren’t simply standing nearby, they were the group getting shot at. By this definition, then, the term “collateral damage” wouldn’t apply, hence Jordan’s counter-assertion that the journalists had, in fact, been the specific targets. If that’s the case, then this is more a case of friendly fire, not collateral damage.
But that’s not what Jordan said. As a journalist, and one with a record of working in war zones, the term “friendly fire” cannot be that foreign to him. It’s an easy term to remember and one so commonly known that no one who hears it wouldn’t get the point. No, he said that he knew of 12 journalists who had “not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted,” according to the blogger who was there. That statement, taken in the context provided by our mystery CNN responder merely gives weight to the concept that Jordan was, in fact, accusing the US troops of specifically, and knowing that these were journalists in the crosshairs, targeting and killing said journalists. If he’d meant to say they were friendly fire casualties, then he’d have said exactly that. “No, Mr. Congressman, they weren’t all just collateral damage. There were friendly fire incidents in which the journalists were, unfortunately, the directed targets of the US fire.” He’s a journalist, right? Language is his tool, right? Is he really that incompetent with the tool of his trade?
And speaking of context, let’s examine Congressman Frank’s words, too. Perhaps it was he who misspoke when he used the term “collateral damage”, intending to mean “unintentional.” If the US troops opened fire at someone thinking they were legitimate targets in battle only to find that they weren’t, it’s an overstatement to say that the journalists had been specifically targeted. Mistakenly targeted would have been far, far better and would have avoided the onus of murderous intent being placed on our soldiers. Our CNN responder says Jordan was simply pointing out the facts. Well, he didn’t bother to point out the correct ones, casually omitting in his description some very important distinctions. He should certainly know better.
In this light, I am prepared to back away from a call for Mr. Jordan to get fired but only if he and CNN will clarify the comments publicly so there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that neither he nor CNN is making the kind of accusation his earlier comments left hanging.
Meet Eason Jordan of CNN. At the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Mr. Jordan claimed to know of 12 journalists who had been killed by the US military in Iraq. And no, he didn’t mean in friendly fire incidents, he meant that they’d been targeted specifically and eliminated. The Forum’s resident blogger was there and reports:
|::::::::||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.
Due to the nature of the forum, I was able to directly challenge Eason, asking if he had any objective and clear evidence to backup these claims, because if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park. David Gergen was also clearly disturbed and shocked by the allegation that the U.S. would target journalists, foreign or U.S. He had always seen the U.S. military as the providers of safety and rescue for all reporters.
Eason seemed to backpedal quickly, but his initial statements were backed by other members of the audience (one in particular who represented a worldwide journalist group). The ensuing debate was (for lack of better words) a real “sh–storm”. What intensified the problem was the fact that the session was a public forum being taped on camera, in front of an international crowd. The other looming shadow on what was going on was the presence of a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator in the middle of some very serious accusations about the U.S. military.
This is the face of the journalism of the left – drop the bomb of an accusation and then totally refuse to back it up with anything remotely approaching evidence. That his words were immediately picked up (as reported later in the forum’s blog) by the Arab press who congratulated Jordan as a courageous man is unsurprising. Also unsurprising is the press time these accusations are getting in the Arab media. Jordan just handed them this little gem of a story on a silver platter and took off it with. On the basis of nothing he can prove, nothing he can cite, he maligns our entire military and gives away all the opposition needs to paint them as murdering bastards. On this alone, he should be fired and an apology to those troops should be issued by CNN.
Mr. Jordan’s actions are, in fact, nearly treasonous, if not actually so. He makes statements that will do absolutely nothing but give aid and comfort to those trying to prolong this war and who are actively trying to kill American soldiers. If he’s got proof, come out with it. If not, then he needs to unequivocally say so and CNN needs to terminate his employment. Unless they approve of this sort of thing.
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Update: Following some advice over on Hugh Heweitt’s blog, I tossed a comment over to CNN about Mr. Jordan. Their auto-reply feature is working and in a few moments I got an e-mail back from them indicating they’d gotten the comment. It’s the sign-off at the bottom of the message I found to be quite ironic:
CNN Public Information
“CNN, The Most Trusted Name In News”