Look back in anger

On October 10, 2002 in a question and answer session at an international forum in Slovenia, Eason Jordan stated:

“The Israelis say they’re actually trying to restrict our access to these areas and they say it’s too dangerous for you to be there and my response to that is that it wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous if you didn’t shoot at us when we’re clearly labelled as CNN crews and journalists. And so this must stop, this targeting of the news media both literally and figuratively must come to an end immediately.”

On November 19, 2004 at a News Exchange-Broadcast Media Conference in Vilamoura, Portugal, Jordan stated:

“[A]ctions speak louder than words. And you talk about dignity and respect for un-embedded journalists and journalists in general but the reality is that at least 8, maybe 10, maybe more journalists in Iraq have been killed by the US military. There are reports that I believe to be true that journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces. One case that was not talked about here: an Al-Jazeera journalist put in Abu Ghraib and physically and emotionally abused, called a Jazeera boy and forced to eat his shoe and other things. Even now there’s an Al-Arabiya journalist in Fallujah who’s been in captivity now for a week. The US military has said that he is not guilty of anything and he’ll be freed, but we’re now 6 or 7 days into his captivity. It’s just these actions and the fact that no-one in the US military has been punished or reprimanded for any of these things would indicate that the US military really does not have respect for the journalistic corps in Iraq.”

Most recently, on January 27, 2005, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jordan stated that American military personnel had deliberately targeted and killed journalists in Iraq. As Rony Abovitz reported on the conference blog:

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…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.”

See “An Eason Jordan Timeline of Events” at the Easongate blog. According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal editorial (“The Jordan Kerfuffle”), however, “the worst that can reasonably be said about [Jordan’s] performance is that [Jordan] made an indefensible remark from which he ineptly tried to climb down at first prompting. This may have been dumb but it wasn’t a journalistic felony.”
The Journal’s initial report of Eason Jordan’s January 27 statement was confined to subscribers of its online “Poltical Diary” newsletter. The Journal leads its editorial today with the statement that it tries “to break news whenever we can if a story merits the attention.” While the Journal pats itself on the back for reporting Jordan’s statement in its “Political Diary,” it seems funny that a long-time Journal subscriber like me nevertheless had to find out about Jordan’s libel of the American military from blogger and radio show host Hugh Hewitt. I guess the Journal found Jordan’s statement newsworthy, but not newsworthy enough to share with those who, like me, only pay the Journal’s annual $215 hard copy subscription fee plus $39 online fee.
The Journal editorial to the contrary notwithstanding, Eason Jordan’s most recent accusation that the military of the United States had deliberately targeted journalists is of a piece with his previous false accusations against both the American and Israeli military forces before foreign audiences. The Journal’s characterization of Jordan’s most recent statement as a single mistake from which he sought to retreat is unfair, even absent a review of the tape or transcript of the event.
If the Journal acknowledged Jordan’s previous statements to the same effect, it would complicate its case for characterizing the controversy over Jordan’s most recent statement a “kerfuffle.” Is that why the Journal omits any reference to Jordan’s previous similar statements?
UPDATE: Dafydd ab Hugh has sent us a copy of his letter to the editor of the Journal:

I don’t know which of your too-many editors wrote the egregious editorial “The Jordan Kerfuffle” in today’s WSJ. But whoever they are, they have dropped whatever pretense to journalistic integrity they had and thrown in with the serial slanderers of America and our military… men like Eason Jordan and his loyal minion Chris Cramer (CNN International president).
Your editorial — the third visitation by the WSJ of Easongate — followed in the footsteps of the previous two: once again, you completely failed to mention that Jordan has made these particular charges many times against the American and Israeli military, which of course casts grave doubt on the defense, as your editorial offered on Jordan’s behalf, that he “made AN indefensible remark” which was a “much slighter transgression” than when Jordan was colluding with Saddam Hussein to cover up the dictator’s crimes against humanity.
Jordan does this again and again, always in foreign countries for audiences hostile to America and eager to seize upon any slander of the lone superpower. For just two among many additional examples (both of which you have steadfastly refused to report), in November last year, Jordan charged that the U.S. military had “tortured” journalists; and in October 2002, Jordan accused the Israeli military of having deliberately targeted CNN reporters for assassination despite having clear evidence they were journalists. Jordan never backed up these charges, either. So much for him simply having misspoken at Davos: when a man makes the same vile charges over and over, never offering a lick of evidence, there is no misunderstanding; he means just what he says.
Mr. Cramer has been even more explicit, gushing over a book by Nik Gowing, Dying to Tell the Story, which explicitly claims “a deliberate policy of assassinating journalists by the US military as a means of removing accountability from the battlefield” — as reported by the very blog you pretend to have read assiduously (click here).
You follow with a snide reference to “the enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs,” backhandedly slamming the bloggers who have found the dirt you swept under the rug. “Amateurs” evidently means anybody who doesn’t have a J-school degree and is itself about the most amateurish piece of drivel I’ve ever seen in your otherwise fine newspaper. I daresay I have professionally published more books than the yahoo who wrote this editorial.
Until you “professional journalists” can bring yourselves actually to report the news — all of it, not just the parts that support your pre-written “story” — you can go put on your pajamas and take your seats at the kiddie table, like your fellow professionals at CBS, and like Eason Jordan and Chris Cramer. You’re no better at a task that should be fairly simple than Dan Rather and Mary Mapes.

UPDATE 2: See also Michelle Malkin’s post “The MSM and the ‘lynch mob’ meme” and Michelle’s New York Post column “Realnews.com.”
UPDATE 3: Glenn Reynolds is also on the case with “Taking the Eason way out.”


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