February 02, 2005

CNN honcho enjoys the taste of shoe leather

Eason Jordan, "head honcho what be's in charge" down inside the monolith known as CNN Center, suffered from major foot-in-mouth disease late last week, when he charged that US military forces in Iraq were purposefully targeting US journalists.

Jordan claimed that he personally knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but in fact had been targeted.

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.

Here's where it gets really bizarre -- the person who finally told Jordan to put up or shut up during the ensuing verbal maelstrom was none other than -- get this -- Congresscritter Barney Frank (Boystown-MA)!

Of course the $64,000 question at this point is whether Jordan will be allowed to stay with CNN or not.

Considering that he has personal relationships with officials across the Middle East, and has been involved in making sure that CNN was front and center, head and shoulders above the other networks in the region in terms of trying to cover the news there, I wouldn't hold my breath.

But in any event, consider this more proof of the downfall of the traditional mainstream media, and more evidence of the rise of the new media. Because without blogs and the internet, this story would be quickly covered up and never see the light of day.

Posted by: mhking at 10:23 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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