Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Silence is Deafening

At the World Economic Forum, CNN Chief News Executive Eason Jordan made the outrageous claim that the U. S. military forces were targeting journalists in Iraq. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt)

This is the same Eason Jordan who in 2003 admitted in a New York Times Op-Ed that he withheld information about the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime in order to get permission from the Iraqi government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open. That he would knowingly withhold this type of information tells us a great deal about Mr. Jordan's so-called "journalistic ethics". The fact that he still has his job tells you a lot about the ethics at CNN.

The reason that Mr. Jordan and others within the MSM get away with these types of remarks is the lack of accountability at least within the MSM. But as the blogosphere proved with Rathergate, the MSM are accountable to the public at large.

Hugh Hewitt correctly asks the question: where is the outrage from the MSM? Where are the other media outlets with their reports on Mr. Jordan's remarks? Is the MSM truly interested in getting the facts out or will that fall to the blogosphere?

Hugh points to an interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled "Are Bloggers Journalists?" I can safely say that I am not. The fact is that journalists can no longer be trusted to get the facts right.

Consider this story yesterday that appeared yesterday on the Associated Press. within a few hours, Little Green Footballs (who was one of the leading bloggers to uncover the flaws in the TANG story at the heart of Rathergate) had a posted proving the story was a hoax.

(Clarification: the original version of this post suggested the AP story appeared mid-afternoon. I later discovered while listening to Rush Limbaugh earlier today that the story had moved across the wires yesterday morning and the MSM ran with it. The original version of the post suggested that the story had been debunked within an hour when it was actually a few hours. The fact still remains that the blogosphere was able to rapidly fact check a story that should have taken the AP or any other media outlet a short time to debunk if they had wanted to take the time to do the research.)

The main point of the Christian Science Monitor article is that bloggers are not accountable. But when we make mistakes we can instantly correct them. Just this morning, I had posted on a couple of posts I had seen at Stones Cry Out. I incorrectly attributed one of the posts to the wrong contributor. I received an e-mail about an hour after I posted from the post's author pointing out my mistake which I then corrected. In other words, instant accountability.

If the MSM wants to show that they have any shred of ethics left within their collective soul they need to come clean and hold Mr. Jordan accountable for his outrageous remarks. That burden is heaviest for CNN which needs to show that they cannot tolerate such outrageous behavior particularly from someone in a position of such great responsibility within their news organization.

UPDATE - 6:10PM: A second blogger who also happens to be a former CNN reporter who worked for Eason Jordan is confirming the story originally reported at Forumblog as an accurate representation of Eason Jordan's remarks. (Hat tip: Captain's Quarters)

UPDATE #2 - 8:50PM: I received the following in the comments section of this post (fifth comment):

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. Jordansimply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has alsonoted 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."

This comment was purportedly submitted by CNN Public Information ( The odd thing about this comment is it is identical to an e-mail that Jim Geraghty at TKS posted (a TKS reader received it in response to comments he submitted to CNN). Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters received the identical message in an unsolicted e-mail from CNN.

It looks to me like CNN is trying to spin this the same way CBS did with Rathergate.

Meanwhile, Brit Hume commented on this story as well as the fake GI abduction tonight on Special Report (video available at this link).

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