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Eason Jordan, CNN and al Jazheera


If you haven't been following the story of Eason Jordan's UPDATE: alleged public claim that the US military targets reporters, you should be. What on earth was the Chief News Executive for CNN thinking?

Maybe this. Al Jazheera will be up for sale soon. Will CNN be a bidder? Were Jordan's comments a deliberate attempt to court favor with al Jazheera staff and their listeners? (I originally wrote 'Arab listeners' but the station's audience may be wider than that.)

UPDATE: an lgf reader makes a related point.

Please remember that CNN is now reduced to being a rump network in the USA. Nobody except Larry King gets more than 1,000,000 viewers ... Their core audience now are the Europeans and Arabs, and that is exactly who Jordan was trying to appeal to.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt, Glenn Reynolds and others are outraged about Jordan's unsupported claims, which Hewitt flatly says slanders the US military. Here's Glenn's take:

HAVING KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT on things he knew were true, it would behoove Eason Jordan not to blather about things that he doesn't know are true. Really.

I wonder if this will gain traction as a public issue? On the one hand, I hate to see these unsupported claims go unchallenged. On the other hand, we really don't need a lot of fingerpointing and conspiracy theories flying. Sigh.


On the one hand, I hate to see these unsupported claims go unchallenged. On the other hand, we really don't need a lot of fingerpointing and conspiracy theories flying.

I understand where your confliction is coming from, but to me it's a no-brainer.

The conspiracy theories are going to fly, and they'll be more credible if this is all swept under the rug.

The MSM is going to have to look into this. My immediate reaction is that Eason Jordan is full of it, and his words are therefore criminally irresponsible. He needs to be confronted: put up or apologize.

On the other hand, on the slim chance that he's right, that needs to be proven as well.

I'm amazed that I can't find any non-blog news stories on this.

Outrageously irresponsible. CNN still hasnt had to answer properly for lying in its coverage of the Hussein regime to maintain access. This is just fuel on the fire. Let them buy Al Jazeera, their standards seem about the same lately.

It is standard to make sure that reports only report your standpoint and that means you don't want any reporters around with a total disaster like Iraq. So claiming that the US military is targeting reporters is most likely right. It is what any sensible person would do.

Commenter 'a' makes two questionable assertions:

First, that it is standard to report only one's own viewpoint. Second, that Iraq is a total disaster. From these he concludes that Jordan's claims are correct.

The Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics is here. A few excerpts show that it is not standard - at least it is not considered ethical - to report only one's own viewpoint:

The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. ...

Journalists should:

Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing ...

Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. ...

Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

As to whether Iraq is a total diaster, I'll leave that to others to comment -- at the very least, a, you need to be more specific in your claim.

Plus if that were the case there would be a lot more dead reporters, instead of the thousands of doom and gloom reports we get in a steady stream.

I think he should be fired, and sued by a class action suit from the U. S. Military.

If the guys were going to off some reporter, don't you think that Kevin Sites would have been one, and that the story about the Marine killing a wounded terrorist would never have come to light?

Papa Ray
West Texas

I would seem to reflect very poorly on a journalist if he had information about the murder of a colleague (let alone 12 colleagues) and didn't come forward with it. Shows a poor fraternal spirit, I would say. And it wouldn't just be unethical, it would be criminal.

But of course Jordan has no knowledge about any murder, so he's not a criminal. He's just another idiot who has let hatred of Bush replace every scrap of sense he ever had.

I'd be happy to get a second source before believing any of this. There are lots of media types at Davos and supposedly this was being taped. That we don't have a second source means that this is a hoax or that this isn't the big story.

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters has history of Jordan's targeting obsession. The wieght lends credibility to the story, but I'd sure like a second source or an MSM player putting their liability insurance on the line.

I don't see how his claims can be true. If you go to the link below, you can see Al Jazeera's list of all journalists killed in Iraq up through March 2004:

There just isn't any way that 12 of them (or even 6 of them) were deliberately targeted by the US. The notion is foolish. As of that date, only 13 had died by violence at all.

Hmmmm .... looks like several comments have disappeared, including the one I just replied to plus my reply.

No time to write it over again right now.

Jeff Jarvis

quotes another witness, Rebecca MacKinnon

who corroborates the report of Jordan's murder-conspiracy accusation against the U.S. military.

CNN reflects the people at the top, who are Arabists and have extensive ties to various Arab regimes and people in the region.

For example, a CNN reporter is the niece/daughter of the UN's Lakdar Brahimi, and marrying a Jordanian Prince.

Moreover, CNN has consistently in it's reporting moved an anti-American, anti-Israeli line to gain access and sympathy from Arab and European governments and organizations. They also seem to be bidding for Al Jazeera and at the least wish increased viewership in the Middle East and Europe, and so play to the paranoid, anti-American/anti-Israeli fantasies present in the Middle East and Europe.

Eason just revealed his network's fundamental orientation ... they are on the side of the terrorists and bin Laden, and against America.

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."

For a different point of view from a professional journalist, see Jeff Jarvis' response.

Well, the CNN spin patrol is a lot better organized than CBS, but they are still running behind the blog curve.

See Captain Ed for summary of the current state of play, and a database dig for examples of similar meme-pushing by Eason Jordan in the past. LaShawn Barber also has a running link fest.

Now that there are two sources on this (see MacKinnon link above), CNN and Jordan have some 'splainin to do - stonewalling comment spam doesn't cut it. So now we need a recording or transcript, or some on-the-record comments from the others on the panel.

Excuse me, Mr. CNN Public Information Robot, but it is absolute nonsense to assert that Eason Jordan must have been talking about accidental deaths. There is no reason why Jordan would have repeatedly brought up accidental deaths, and no reason why the audience present would have cheered a description of journalists being accidentally slain.

What the audience was cheering was the fact that Jordan accused the US Armed Forces of murdering 12 journalists. This would explain Congressman Barney Frank's objection to Jordan's comments. Frank was present, so why don't you put him on the air and let him tell everybody what happened?

Other people who were there have the reported the remarks, and so far I believe them, not you.

By the way, is it standard journalistic practice at CNN to withhold information about the death of a colleague (or 12 colleagues) from the authorities? The only organization I can think of that has such a rule is the Mafia.


Show us the context. If Jordan was taken out of context, show us the transcript from Davos.

That is an interesting approach to damage limitation by CNN. I doubt it will be successful, but it is a new angle.

Loosing from a group of semi-armed arabs, having Shiite mullah's controle the next goverment and been seen around the world as bullies. I think i call that loosing.

About the ethics of journalists: they say what their listeners want to hear. Truth is a distant second.

But didn't the US military virtually admit that, in taking Baghdad, they lit up a hotel floor where journalists were filming?

Given the widespread loathing of the press in the Pentagon -- and here, for that matter -- is it really a surprise to learn that the US military might have greased a photographer or two?

There are posters here who still blame Dan Rather for losing us the Vietnam War. Not Robert McNamara, not LBJ, not Nixon, not Kissinger, not Westmoreland, but poor blithering Dan Rather in his flak jacket.

If that belief is so widespread, is it such a stretch to think that ground units might just get the idea that Al-Jazzeera might have been the mouthpiece of the enemy?

So the CNN angle is that Jordan was responding to a military statement that 'all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage." '

Those on the battlefield killed by the US military are intentional enemy kills, friendly fire or collateral damage. Since he's stating that there were some journalists killed by the US military that were not collateral damage, and not being military also not friendly fire, he's stating that they were intentional kills. Mr. Jordan also said,

'"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.',2763,1355027,00.html

So he has also said that he believes that there have been journalists tortured by the US military. These two inflammatory statements are made without any evidence presented. Given that this is the man that cowtowed to the Hussein regime in order to get some lesser stories and protect lives, I wonder why he would even mention it. Either he feels comfortable mentioning it, but doesn't feel like presenting the evidence for some reason; or else he's lying.

Further, why haven't any of these tortured journalists come forward with their stories? Are they scared like Jordan was in the face of the Hussein regime? Yet why is he then speaking freely of it, endangering their lives in a way he refused to do with Iraqi lives under Hussein? And why is CNN back channeling the whole thing rather than ignoring it or putting it on their front page as a story that puts Abu Gharaib to shame?

CNN and/or Jordan have the ball in their court. Give some explanation of this situation or curl up in their not-so-protective ball. If they choose the latter (and this 'out of context' back alley shit is not an acceptable response given the accusations made) they should be made to understand their mistake and their vulnerability.

Contact CNN, contact their advertisers, demand answers, demand evidence, demand explanations. And if they are lacking in these...demand heads rolling. Let them understand that this slander is not their only mistake, but that their misunderstanding of the current state of (multi)media must is also in excusable.


It's obvious here that the key difference is journalists accidentally killed on the battlefield (happened, as you mentioned. Tragic, but an understandable part of war) and journalists specifically targetted by the US military (as Jordan has accused). A retraction, a clarification, an explanation, or some evidence is required by CNN and Jordan at this point.

If you fail to see this, you are behind the curve. Catch up, sufficiently argue an alternative or go away.

I've done the legwork and documented 12 journalists potentially deliberately killed by the US, as well as six detained and tortured, or at least beaten and injured. The trackbacks don't seem to be working here, so I've placed the link as the URL for my name.

Zed you must be joking. From the posts you link...

First three - "Accounts tell of a confusing incident in which coalition forces apparently fired on Iraqi vehicles when the ITN vehicle was among them. The jeep was prominently labelled "TV"."
"There are serious questions about his tragic affair. Given that the jeep in which they were travelling was clearly marked, why were they attacked? Reporters and camera crews know that covering wars is dangerous but they must not become targets."
So you are claiming here that US forces were deliberately firing on the marked journalists, rather than the Iraqi vehicles that they were amongst? seems more likely that the US forces were firing on the Iraqi vehicles that the journalists had surrounded themselves with.

Next two you 'count' - A lot of he said/she said here. Your source says that the military MIGHT have been targeting the journalists, others say quite the opposite. I tried to find a relatively objective source:
U.S. Army Col. David Perkins, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade stationed near the hotel, said Iraqis launched rocket-propelled grenades at coalition tanks from the front of the hotel, upon which one of his tanks returned fire. Several unidentified U.S. troops told the AP that they saw binoculars fixed on them from an upper floor of the hotel and, suspecting there was a "spotter," or sniper, on the hotel's rooftop, the tank opened fire on the hotel.

Perkins expressed regret for the incident, but blamed the Iraqi government for endangering the lives of civilians, including the journalists.

"By militarizing these areas, [Iraqi president Saddam Hussein] is putting these people at risk," Perkins told the AP. "The soldier's primary responsibility is to protect himself and his crew."
Hope you can find PBS sorta neutral. If not, then there's a potential two count, but no evidence offered from Jordan/CNN.

#6 - I was about to give you this one, Al-Jazeera's office being a possible target isn't outside the realm of possibility. But then I saw this...
"Al-Jazeera's Baghdad office is near the Iraqi Information Ministry"
Then I remembered the incident, and the fact that this, the Iraqi Info Ministry, was a TELEGRAPHED major target. Gotta chalk this one up to, "learn to get the f*ck out the way."

#7 - This one is another he said/she said. You give a link showing what the killed journalist looked like with his camera.
Here's what a shoulder-fired rocket launcher looks like.$file/Release0280-2004-10low.jpg
In the heat of battle, I'll give the benefit of doubt to the US soldier. You'd probably differ, but then you didn't even attempt a comparison, I did.

8/9 - I'll grant you these. While the shooting was classified as accidental, the links you give along with others I've found show no definitive alternate explanation. These are two journalist deaths that may have been targeted. Still, the letter from CPJ to Rumsfeld notes an important point that these deaths, "have raised the issue of whether U.S. forces are adequately taking into account the presence of journalists working in conflict areas in Iraq and using appropriate measures to avoid endangering them."
The journalists do know they're in a f*cking warzone, right?

10/11 - I can find very little about these two other than they were killed when shot by US troops. Going off what you said,
"The US Army issued a statement accepting responsibility for the death of the two journalists in what it called "accidental" fire, claiming that they were hit by "four to six bullets" that were aimed at the car ahead of them that jumped a roadblock (even accounting for panic, that's kind of lousy aim, there, to miss by an entire vehicle and the distance between them)"
I'm not sure panic even comes into play here. A car jumping the roadblock in front of them is going to bring a sh*tload of bullets in order to prevent a potential bomb from getting any closer. Stray fire would not be unexpected in such a situation, and while it can be called careless and tragic; saying that the soldier firing in that situation was purposefully targeting the car behind the one that might kill him because it contained journalists is patently ridiculous. Maybe every soldier is a perfect sharpshooter in your mind, but that simply isn't the case here. Overkill? Maybe. Targeted? Stretching to the point of incredulty.

12 - For this last one, I think the Reporters w/o Borders link you give paints the picture quite well. In total:
"Dhia Najim, an Iraqi freelance cameraman working for the news agency Reuters was shot dead in disputed circumstances on 1st November 2004 in the town of Ramadi, west of Baghdad.

A US army communique said that Najim, 47, was filming clashes between US marines and Iraqi rebels in the Andulus district of Ramadi when he was shot in the neck. The US military authorities said they had looked at the footage he had taken and claimed that it showed rebels preparing to attack coalition forces.

Reuters said it had seen video footage of Najim's death. The agency, which did not identify the source of the footage, said it indicated that he was killed by a sniper shot without any signs of fighting going on at the time.

A Reuters dispatch also noted that press photographs taken on 31 October showed US marine snipers taking up position in Ramadi. Reuters ruled out any possibility Najim being linked to the rebels and called for a thorough investigation by the US army. Najim's colleagues and family believe he was killed by a US sniper."
It seems inconclusive who shot him, the only definitive is that he was filming in the middle of a firefight. One can as easily assume he was shot by accident as he was shot deliberately by either side. To try to say he was targeted by US toops here shows a tremendous amount of hoping for the worst here. I'll give you this one.

That makes three potential targeted US kills, with no definitive evidence. I hope CNN/Jordan can do better than that, or they, and you, are smelling just slightly biased and hoping to make a case out of ambiguous situations.



First, note that I said potentially deliberately killed. Beyond-a-reasonable-doubt kind of evidence is impossible to retrieve from a battlefield, of course. The point was to show that there was evidence that could lead someone to believe as many as twelve reporters were targeted.

#1-3: Your description of a press vehicle surrounded (and you imply deliberately) with enemy vehicles is inconsistent with the eyewitness reports from the other links.

#4-5: A US Army officer isn't going to be an objective source (he has a vested interest in having the Army show up clean). Also, that report is contradicted by reports from reporters on the ground, who noted no fire whatsoever around the time that the tank raised its turret, paused a bit, and then fired. It's possible someone saw a reflection off a binocular and panicked, certainly, but it's kind of irresponsible for the soldiers not to have been informed that they were pointing a tank at a hotel for journalists in the first place.

#6: So much for the reputation for high-precision weaponry, then, eh? I wonder if the Al-Jazeera office in Kabul was also supposed to be next to an Information Ministry. Conveniently hitting a neighbor once is cause for an eyebrow raising. Doing it twice in a row is a bit suspicious.

#7: That answer would be a lot more palatable if he hadn't been filming in plain sight for 30 minutes, wearing a brightly colored helmet. Still, I've updated my entry to link to the picture of the rocket launcher as well for easier comparison, and credited you for it.

#10/11: I'd originally been envisioning shots from the side, since most of the other pictures I've seen of shot-up cars near patrols or checkpoints seem to have ended up that way, and because I wasn't really considering overpenetration from the front. In retrospect, of course, you could go right through both windshields easily enough from the front, which is plausible. Still, this looks much more shady in light of #8/9. I can grant you these, but from my perspective that still leaves me with ten out of twelve, and the point was to come up with how he might have been fed a plausible number of 12, not convict US soldiers, to whom I am generally inclined to give a heck of a lot of slack in such situations.

Zed, chthus,

Thanks for getting to the details. Illuminating.

Now, can you find a tape of Eason?

"It is standard to make sure that reports only report your standpoint and that means you don't want any reporters around with a total disaster like Iraq. So claiming that the US military is targeting reporters is most likely right. It is what any sensible person would do."

First of all the military is trained in the art of war. Secondly to suggest that military members place personal politics over the lives of the innocent is totally outrageous. If in fact the statements made by Mr. Jordan are true then provide the evidence and proof of the claim.

To be fair I'm a very patient man and the truth will eventually come out. Either we will be hearing of courts martial in the news or we will be hearing what of Mr. Jordan? Is his fate to be that of Mr. Rather? Will he wrap himself in the blanket of freedom of speech if this proves to be a false hood?

Thanks for the Jarvis link at least it seems someone is keeping a level head about the situation. I'd check back on that one regularly since he is keeping it up to date.

USMC, you do asif it doesn't make military sense while it absolutely does. Atleast the nutty sunni's think it helps them and i think that the scumbags are right in that. I also think that it would help the US in this war so i don't see why they wouldn't do it because it is not like morality stops them from doing bad stuff

If the US army tortured prisoners, if the US army abuse of Iraqi civilians is well documented, if the US army (on the order of Rumsfled) hid a prisoner from the Red Cross visit, if the prisoners torture and abuse was known long before the media exposed, why wouldn't the army "target" journalists as a punishment measure?

Of course they will. Rumsfled and his war-mongerings officials (who have contempt for international standards) have already accused Al-Jazeera (who took a big hit in Iraq) of being a terrorist mouth-piece...that itself justifies attacking its "terrorist journalists".

Wake up people. Look back at other wars. In Vietnam many US officials said they never target civilians, yet the images of bombing villages and civilian targets are well known.

The way the US army would act inside of America is not the same outside of it. Outsite, there is no court to fear.

Al-Jazeera has already accused the US army of killing its journalists whose only crime was to film the destruction and killing that was going on in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Remember few days ago, the General who lead the invasion of Iraq was quoted saying "It is fun to shoot people".

Obviously this general has no respect for human life. It is people like him who would "tolerate" killing journalists or even torturing prisoners.

Just imagine how innocent people were killed because "Its fun to shoot people".

The General obviously do have a certain influence on the soldiers he is commanding.

Thousands died in Iraq, I am sure many didn't have to die......but there was no one to report their injustified death.

At least the CNN executive resigned, the General however did not even post an apology let alone stepping down. I am sure he will be receiving more medals for killing people for fun.

That shows you who has more integrity, the CNN executive or the general.

Unfortunately, the people with less integrity are the ones commanding armies that can cause death, not media journalists.

Is it your position that there are no people that deserve to be shot? If so, then I must disagree. Some people should be shot. We have a military just so the odds are better that they will be. At least General Mattis enjoys his job. Would there be any moral difference if he didn't? Or would you rather have the General shot by one of those terrorists going around blowing up schools? Since you seem to be hung up on political correctness, perhaps you would you rather call them "Freedom Fighters"?

Vietnam was hell!

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