CNN executive Eason Jordan: EH, beg pardon?

I’m sure some of you have been hearing about Eason Jordan’s incredible allegations that CNN reporters and other journalists are “being targeted” by US soldiers in Iraq.

The story and the background are really too much to paraphrase right now. But this Blog

captainsquartersblog.com/mt/

has an enormous amount of information on this guy, his anti-US speeches overseas, and his repeated, non verifiable statements that the US military is murdering civilian journalists.

I throw this to the forum for discussion as this is not some crackpot (I GUESS!!) but he is a high ranking CNN executive who is making serious allegations that deserve to be examined.

Here’s his bio from CNN

edition.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_repo … eason.html

Eason Jordan
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. He is based in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Before being named to his current position, Jordan served as chief news executive and newsgathering president for the CNN News Group. Jordan managed CNN’s newsgathering during the News Group’s most rapid period of growth. Under his leadership, the News Group opened bureaus in Baghdad, Beirut, Berlin, Boston, Buenos Aires, Denver, Dubai, Frankfurt, Havana, Hong Kong, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Lagos, Madrid, Mexico City, New Delhi, Seattle, Seoul and Sydney. Jordan also was instrumental in the launch of more networks, including CNN en Espaqol, the News Group’s first 24-hour, international-language news network. He also oversaw the expansion and distribution of CNN’s English-language CNN International (CNNI) television networks.

Jordan’s accomplishments include overseeing CNN’s coverage of the Gulf War and the war in Iraq; the U.S.-led interventions in Haiti, Grenada, Panama, Somalia; the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; the war in former Yugoslavia; the crackdown in Tiananmen Square; and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as the international aftermath of those events.

Jordan is the recipient of numerous honors, including Emmy, Peabody and CableACE awards. He has also won the New York Film and TV Festival Award, the National Headliner Award, the duPont Award, the World Hunger Media Award, the Livingston Award and he Vanguard Award for Young Leadership from the National Cable Television Association. In February 2002, he won the first-ever Charles Weltner Freedom of Information Award.

I don’t know, jd. Until any more reliable information comes in (a transcript of the event, published by a reliable source, for instance) this just looks like a case of he-said/she-said.

This CNN guy says:

[quote]"To be clear, I do not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists in Iraq.

I was responding to a comment by Congressman Franks, who said he believed the 63 journalists killed in Iraq were the victims of “collateral damage.”

When someone aims a gun at someone and pulls the trigger and then learns later the person fired at was actually a journalist …[it] is a tragic case of mistaken identity, not a case of “collateral damage.”[/quote]

Is the website that originally published the account reliable? No idea. Obviously if he said journalists were being deliberately murdered by the US military (and didn’t have proof to back up the outrageous claim) then that would be stupid, irresponsible, unprofessional … pick your term. But at this point I just don’t think it’s clear whether he said that or not. :idunno:

[quote=“Hobbes”]I don’t know, jd. Until any more reliable information comes in (a transcript of the event, published by a reliable source, for instance) this just looks like a case of he-said/she-said.

This CNN guy says:

[quote]“To be clear, I do not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists in Iraq.

I was responding to a comment by Congressman Franks, who said he believed the 63 journalists killed in Iraq were the victims of “collateral damage.” .”[/quote]

Is the website that originally published the account reliable? No idea. Obviously if he said journalists were being deliberately murdered by the US military (and didn’t have proof to back up the outrageous claim) then that would be stupid, irresponsible, unprofessional … pick your term. But at this point I just don’t think it’s clear whether he said that or not. :idunno:[/quote]

hobbes, yes i agree…

however, the Jordan quote was an after the fact explaination of what he’d said.

I too am waiting to see the orginal transcript.

I’m gonna keep poking around…see what’s there. I just felt this was a bit over the top. I guess we’ll see if this is the next blogstory to go mainstream…or not.

I poke…I find

sadly it’s only in the Guardian:

guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0, … 27,00.html

US military ‘still failing to protect journalists in Iraq’

Claire Cozens, press and publishing correspondent
Friday November 19, 2004

Iraq: dozens of journalists and media workers have died during the conflict

Independent journalists operating in Iraq face arrest and even torture at the hands of the US military and the authorities are failing to act on promises to do more to protect them, news organisations have warned.
Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, said there had been only a “limited amount of progress”, despite repeated meetings between news organisations and the US authorities.

"Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces," Mr Jordan told an audience of news executives at the News Xchange conference in Portugal.

Well if there is a plan to kill shit journalists who toe the party (communist) line, there are quite a few more that this apparently ruthless machine has missed out on. Can the CIA and US military not do a better job than this? I am outraged.

OK, so journalists have been killed by the US military. I have no doubt that’s true. They’re in a goddamned warzone for Christ’s sake. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there have been a couple of journalists arrested - and possibly even tortured, although that’s stretching things a bit thin - by US forces. BFW. 1, it’s a long way from saying that he believes there’s an orchestrated plot to kill journalists; 2, that sort of thing probably goes down in any and every major military conflict where journalists find themselves in the middle of it.

As to whether journalists have been deliberately targeted, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what comes of it, i.e., whether someone steps forward with more specific allegations and some evidence.

In the meantime, I think it should be noted that Mr. Jordan is not a stranger to controversy; in 2003 he confessed that CNN had withheld information about Iraqi torture (Wall Street Journal Op-Ed) and about Uday Hussein’s intention to kill two defectors (who later returned to Iraq and were in fact killed; google cache of PBS pdf page).

On the other hand, if the following linked (highlighted) reports are accurate, and if money really is a way of keeping score, he’s $114,000 worth of good guy.

Here is the original article from Rony Abovitz, who attended a World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland:

(Again, the very interesting piece of this story is that the original trancripts have not been released…but Eason Jordan’s rebuttals and clarifications have. Weird.)

Anyway, this is confusing enough, yes, the he said/she said thing…hope this helps to clear some things up.

Do US Troops Target Journalists in Iraq?
Davos, Switzerland from the WEF 2005

"This fiery topic became a real nightmare today for the Chief News Executive of CNN at what was an initially very mild discussion at the World Economic Forum titled “Will Democracy Survive the Media?”.

At a discussion moderated by David R. Gergen, the Director for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, the concept of truth, fairness, and balance in the news was weighed against corporate profit interest, the need for ratings, and how the media can affect democracy. The panel included Richard Sambrook, the worldwide director of BBC radio, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, Abdullah Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, and Eason Jordan, Chief News Executive of CNN. The audience was a mix of journalists, WEF attendees (many from Arab countries), and a US Senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd.

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.

To be fair (and balanced), Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess. His statements, his reaction, and the reaction of all in attendance left me perplexed and confused. Many in the crowd, especially those from Arab nations, applauded what he said and called him a “very brave man” for speaking up against the U.S. in a public way amongst a crowd ready to hear anti-US sentiments. I am quite sure that somewhere in the Middle East, right now, his remarks are being printed up in Arab language newspapers as proof that the U.S. is an evil and corrupt nation. That is a real nightmare, because the Arab world is taking something said by a credible leader of the media (CNN!) as the gospel, or koranic truth. What is worse is that I am not really sure what Eason really meant to communicate to us, but I do know that he was quite passionate about it. Members of the audience took away what they wanted to hear, and now they will use it in every vile and twisted way imaginable.

To me, what was said can not be put back into the genie’s bottle. So here is my request as a U.S. citizen, and really only a minor, minor player in the whole WEF scheme of things: Congressman Frank and Senator Dodd, you both seem like good and honest men, and Congressman Frank especially seems like someone with a bit of courage (I’m sure Senator Dodd is brave as well). Clear up this mess, use your power and authority as elected leaders, and make transparent what really happened. You must do this to respect the 12 journalists killed and let the world know how and why. Here is another challenge, and this one is for the CNN and the BBC: What the hell happened? Is Eason right or is he wrong? Good journalism calls for digging into and revealing all of the facts (or was everything that was said in the mild part of the discussion about fair coverage and seeking the truth just verbage?).

If what Eason originally said was true, exactly what happened and why needs to become known to the American public and world at large. If it is not, it is an example of how “news” is created by the heat of the moment, without any bearing to reality. If it is true, we need to know if it was official or if it was just some random disgruntled soldiers. The dark scenario, what the rest of the world would love to believe, is that the U.S. is sinister and evil and this is just another example of Darth Bush. Is this the same U.S. that I know and love, or was this just someone accidentally becoming swept up in the anti-U.S. feeling that is all pervasive in Davos (but they love us too, especially Clinton)."


Well, I for one really would like to read the transcripts. If this is true, let’s get it out and deal with it. If it is not, let’s find out why this rumormogering could happened in such a forum by such a person and try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

I agree the transcripts might be interesting reading.

the backtracking has already begun:

forumblog.org/blog/2005/02/e … an_cl.html

so he admits he said journalists were “targeted” by the us military, but then tries to convince us that “targeted” and “killed on purpose” don’t mean what we think they mean. :unamused:

i hear there’s a video of the speech. can’t wait for someone to get a hold of it…

The word on Eason’s word is getting out…

toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar … /-1/NEWS17

Media are easy marks

HISTORY repeats itself, Karl Marx said, “first as tragedy, second as farce.”
In the days immediately following Iraq’s historic election, two videotapes from “insurgent” groups were distributed to the news media. One purported to show an American soldier being held hostage. The second purported to show that a British C-130 transport aircraft, which crashed on election day, had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

The “American soldier” was Cody, a G.I. Joe action figure. This is obvious from the picture, but the Associated Press and CNN bit hard.

The cause of the C-130 crash is still being investigated. But experts at Jane’s Defence Weekly have doubts about the claim of “insurgents.”

“The missile footage has just been grafted onto the front,” said editor Peter Felstead. “And it looks like a surface to surface missile to me.”

Other experts note the wreckage footage was shot in daylight, while the C-130 crashed just before nightfall. It is highly improbable “insurgents” could have been on the scene before the sun set, and there were British soldiers all around the next morning.

Media outlets that were quick to report the insurgents’ claims had little to say about the hoaxes. Nor did they speculate on what the hoaxes might mean.

Last Sunday’s election demonstrated the massive support of the Iraqi people for democracy, and the relative impotence of the “insurgents.” The “river of blood” they promised was barely a trickle.

Eight suicide bombers killed 36 Iraqis besides themselves. Of these, seven were foreigners (six Saudis and a Sudanese). The only Iraqi suicide bomber was a child suffering from Down syndrome. (jdsmith: I heard this but didn’t post it…should have.) That is, as the Iraqi writer Nibras Kazimi put it, “eight against 8 million.” And on what basis, one might ask, do the media call seven foreign terrorists “insurgents”?

The terrorists had to do something to revive their plummeting prestige. That they resorted to clumsy frauds is not a sign of strength.

“The captured toy story could be pretty significant,” said the Web logger John Hinderaker (Power Line) (jdsmith: This is where I get some of my news, FYI). “The terrorists need, more than anything else, to be seen as awesome, terrible figures. If they stop inspiring fear, they are finished. So the one thing they cannot stand is ridicule. Their pathetic effort to pass a doll off as a captured American soldier will [make] them laughingstocks throughout the Arab world.”

It’s also interesting that the terrorists turned to the news media to recover lost momentum. Journalists who fell for these hoaxes may merely be idiots, and their silence about the implications of the hoaxes may simply be the by-product of embarrassment. But more to the point, why are major media so quick to disseminate anything that a terrorist group, or purported terrorist group, releases? For the terrorist, it is like being given millions of dollars in free advertising.

The major media have from the beginning exaggerated the strength and popularity of those they mislabel “insurgents,” to the disgust of American soldiers.

“I’m tired of hearing the crap, the whole, well 'We are barely hanging on, we’re losing, the insurgency is growing,'●” Marine Sgt. Kevin Lewis told Dan Rather, in Iraq for the election. “It’s just a small amount of people out there causing the problems. It’s a small number, and we’re killing them.”

[b]The scandalous remarks of Eason Jordan, CNN’s top news executive, last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the failure of the major media to report them suggest the distortions are deliberate.

Mr. Jordan told a panel that the U.S. military had killed a dozen journalists in Iraq, and that they had been deliberately targeted. When challenged, Mr. Jordan could provide no evidence to support the charge, and subsequently lied about having made it, though the record shows he had made a similar charge a few months before, and also earlier had falsely accused the Israeli military of targeting journalists.[/b]

Mr. Jordan’s slander has created a firestorm in the blogosphere, but has yet to be mentioned in the “mainstream” media.

Gee, I wonder why not.


Let’s hear the tape!

Rony Abovitz repiles about Eason Jordan’s comments at the WEF.

I’m thinking this story is going to hit the MSM this week. Good. How the hell can a guy in Jordan’s position makes these comments and get away with it??

here’s the link and story


hughhewitt.com/#postid1348 (scroll down)

Friday, February 4, 2005

Posted at 10:00 AM, EST

Rony Abovitz replies to some questions on Eason Jordan’s accusation that the American military targeted journalists. A long list of relevant links appears below the interview.

Rony Abovitz posted the first account of Eason Jordan’s now infamous remarks at Davos. Abovitz responded to some questions I sent him:

HH:Thanks very much for agreeing to reply to some questions. I will post your response in its entirety, along with my questions.

First, how many people were in the room?

RA: My guess is between 250-350, but the WEF records should have an exact count of who actually attended. We all had special badges that were scanned at the door, so the exact number of attendees, as well as exactly who was there, is stored on some WEF computer database.

HH: Can you describe the makeup of the crowd?

RA: At least one U.S. Senator (Dodd), journalists from the major media (Fortune, Wall Street Journal), a number of dignitaries and journalists from Middle Eastern countries, scientists, professors, corporate CEO’s and senior executives…it was a a good mix of the powerful and influential people who essentially run the world.

HH: [b]Was the session videotaped?

RA: I saw a cameraman operating a camera throughout the session filming everything. Unless he was just there going through the motions, it was taped. [/b]
HH: Was any announcement made about the availability of tapes or transcripts?

RA: There was no announcement made about this specific session, but in general watered down summaries of each session and bits of webcasts of other sessions floated about the WEF. I am not sure what the WEF is going to do about releasing this particular session in its unedited entirety.

HH: Did Mr. Jordan make his “targeted” remark in response to a comment by Congressman Frank?

RA: I believe that Congressman Frank was dragged into all of this after the fact. Mr. Jordan gave us all a monologue that evolved from his personal experiences in Iraq about this idea of U.S. soldiers targeting U.S. and foreign journalists. I first challenged Mr. Jordan, and then moderator David Gergen (of Harvard’s JFK School of Government) brought Frank in as a member of the U.S. government to respond to claims that shocked all of us. I remember Gergen in particular being flabbergasted and disturbed to a very high degree by Mr. Jordan’s statements. Congressman Frank told the audience that his briefings indicated that all the journalists killed to date in Iraq were due to “collateral damage”. Jordan disagreed, and gave us an example of U.S. soldiers deliberately shelling a hotel in Iraq which was known to all as a haven for journalists covering both sides of the war. Congressman Frank was pretty much a bystander being dragged into all of it.

HH: Can you recall the reaction of the audience to the initial Jordan statement concerning “targeting?”

RA: Some members of the audience were shocked and in disbelief. Others supported Mr. Jordan’s statements and seemed visibly impressed that Mr. Jordan had the courage to say such things to a world audience. One thing I will never forget: Arab journalists coming up to Mr. Jordan at the end of the session and praising his sheer bravery for standing up to the U.S. military in such a public way. I will also never forget the absolute look of horror on Professor Gergen’s face, the disbelief that the U.S. military would ever do such things. Gergen went on to describe that in his own experience, the U.S. military were always the “good guys”, rescuing journalists, never deliberately targeting them for death. Gergen also felt obligated to basically halt the debate at some point because the Pentagon and U.S. military were not represented at the session, and therefore no balanced discussion could be had (Congressman Frank is probably not a good proxy for the Pentagon). Another observation: those of us from the U.S. in the crowd were by and large disturbed, but it seemed that those from Europe or the Middle East were in large agreement with Mr. Jordan, as if he was confirming what they already knew and believed. The divide between the U.S. and the rest of the world seemed large. I do want to note that the topic seemed to be an emotional one for Mr. Jordan, and I believe that he has had friends and co-workers who were journalists killed in Iraq. He seemed so moved and passionate about the subject that it only compounded the level of uncertainty and severity about what was being discussed. A number of people in the audience, including Senator Dodd, came up to me and thanked me for directly challenging what was a serious charge against the U.S. military. I wonder why Senator Dodd didn’t take Mr. Jordan on himself right then and there. A lot of us were disturbed by the possibility of Mr. Jordan’s statements being true, and at the same time equally disturbed by the lack of hard data, or any data, to back up what he said.

HH: Will some members of the audience fairly conclude that Mr. Jordan meant that American military forces had targeted for assassination
journalists?

RA: The Arab journalists and WEF members who were in the audience and congratulated Mr. Jordan for his bravery and courage for standing up to the U.S. heard what we all heard, and it was pretty damning. Someone should search the Arab language press (web and print) for their reaction to what was said. If the WEF 2005 videotape of this meeting is ever released for public view, it will not help Mr. Jordan at all. He is much better off if the tape (in classic “1984” style) just disappears. I can only imagine the reaction of a U.S. audience to a broadcast of what he said prior to being challenged, prior to his backtracking, and prior to having time to realize the implications of what he said. To be fair, we are all only humans and in the heat of the moment many people say all sorts of things that they later regret.

The contrast of what he was saying before and after he realized what he was saying was pretty incredible. His media savvy, professional executive brain did kick in, but not soon enough. The content and context of what he said would allow groups with an anti-American bias to take what he said and believe that the American military forces had targeted for assassination journalists. For someone with a pro-U.S. posture, you were left confused and in disbelief. It was easy and even credible to believe (in the WEF setting, post Abu Ghraib Prison scandal) that the U.S. military was capable of doing anything. A good answer to this question can come from someone like Afghan foreign minister, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who also shared the stage with Mr. Jordan. I would also encourage you to get responses to this question from a wide spectrum of Arab journalists. Understanding how they understood Mr. Jordan’s message could be helpful. Getting Senator Dodd’s viewpoint, as well as Professor Gergen’s, would also shed some more needed light.

Last comment. This issue is turning into a right vs. left agenda issue, a lynch mob against Eason Jordan issue, and feeding into many different agendas. I hope that any news media (bloggers, print, major, minor) covering this can respect my original intent which was to not leave this kind of allegation hanging in the air, but to carry it through to the point where the truth is known, and known to all sides.

The WEF video would resolve the “what Eason said” component of the story. As to the other components, there must be hundreds of people around the world (soldiers, journalists in Iraq, and friends and family of journalists in Iraq) who can weigh in as to what is actually happening on the ground.

HH: Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

No wonder Eason Jordan won’t answer any questions. He is hiding out and hoping the video doesn’t surface.

He could be referring to Al Jazeerha, and the bombing of Iraqi TV during the war.

I can still remember seeing the Al Jazeerah journalist being killed by a tank.

Well, it is a fact that some journalists have been killed in iraq. But the fact remains the Jordan said journalists were “targeted” and murdered.

This is the kind of thing that raises eyebrows.

IMHO,

Prove it or shup up. What he is saying is that the US military systematically assasinates journalists.

I await either the proof, or the facts.

As it stands, only knowledge of his diatribe exists…secondhand…and from what I read, the video of this WEF conference should be out soon.

It’s a fact that the US targeted Iraqi TV. I’m sure they did so in the full knowledge that all the journalists in the building were going to eat shit.

I wouldn’t care to be too sanctimonious when it comes to fighting a war, whether I was American or Iraqi for that matter.

[quote=“Fox”]It’s a fact that the US target Iraqi TV. I’m sure they did so in the full knowledge that all the journalists in the building were going to eat shit.

I wouldn’t care to be too sanctimonious when it comes to fighting a war, whether I was American or Iraqi for that matter.[/quote]

Iraqi tv?? I dunno. but I’d target al-jazeer every time they went out. They always get the good footage…it’s like they know where to be.

If the press takes sides, then the consequences of being in their location should not be so hard to take, right?

When the arab press stops letting themselves be used for advertisement, I’ll take them seriously.

[quote=“Fox”]It’s a fact that the US targeted Iraqi TV. I’m sure they did so in the full knowledge that all the journalists in the building were going to eat shit.

I wouldn’t care to be too sanctimonious when it comes to fighting a war, whether I was American or Iraqi for that matter.[/quote]

but this contradicts what jordan said:

like i said, he’s backtracking the hell up now and his only defense for his earlier words is to pretend that he doesn’t know what the words “targeted” and “on purpose” mean.

how can i “target” a journalist “on purpose” if i thought he was an insurgent and killed him by accident??

[quote]Iraqi tv?? I dunno. but I’d target al-jazeer every time they went out. They always get the good footage…it’s like they know where to be.

If the press takes sides, then the consequences of being in their location should not be so hard to take, right?

When the Arab press stops letting themselves be used for advertisement, I’ll take them seriously.
[/quote]

And you fain outrage at Eason Jordon? When the US political system stops letting itself be used as an extension of private business, I’ll take you seriously.

and you claim …what…to know how better business and country should interact? and not in a disneyworld setting?

please critical man…spit it out…how SHOULD any democratic country act against its own news agencies spewing unsubstantiaited claims that do little but broaden said independent news agency’s name overseas with the horrid hope of garnering more viewers no matter the cost?

as Uncle Paul said at the Superbowl…“Get back!”