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February 11, 2005

An Eason Jordan Timeline of Events

*Note: All dates are linked to sources
October 10, 2002

Location:
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Speaking Engagement:
The News Exchange-Broadcast Media Conference.

Summary:
During a Q&A session he reportedly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel "on numerous occasions." Leading to the death of one.

The Accusation:

"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."¯
The Truth:
Ed Morrissey (Captains Quarters) points out that:The only CNN journalist wounded in that region was Ben Wedeman, who got shot when he wandered into a crossfire. [Jordan's] own producer, Bruce Conover, told CNN that no one could tell who shot him, as the bullets and mortars were flying in from all directions.

Transcript

April 11, 2003

Summary:
In a NY Times Op/ed piece, Eason admitted to covering up Saddam Hussein's tortures and atrocities to keep a CNN office in Baghdad and protect his employees. Eason held onto this information in the run up to the war in Iraq.

Eason™s opening paragraph:

"Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard - awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff."¯
November 19, 2004

Location:
Vilamoura, Portugal

Speaking Engagement:
The News Exchange-Broadcast Media Conference.

Summary:
During a discussion forum on the safety of reporters in Iraq Eason made the allegation that some reporters were being tortured and wrongly imprisoned.

His Statement:

"actions 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."¯
Transcript

January 27, 2005

Location:
Davos, Switzerland - The World Economic Forum gathering

Topic of Discussion:
Middle east Panel Discussion: on "Will Democracy Survive the Media?".

Moderated by:
David R. Gergen, the Director for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University,

The Panel:
1. Richard Sambrook - The worldwide director of BBC radio
2. U.S. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA)
3. Abdullah Abdullah - The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan
4. Eason Jordan - Chief News Executive of CNN

In the Audience:
1. Rony Abovitz
2. Rebbeca McKinnon
3. US Senator Chris Dodd (D - CT)
4. David Gergen
5. Richard Sambrook
6. Justin Vaisse
7. Bernard Rappaz
8. Bret Stephens
9. Various Journalists from around the world - Many Arabic

The Incident:
Jordan repeatedly asserted on Jan. 27 2005 that American military personnel had deliberately targeted and killed journalists in Iraq.

*No transcript available*

Witnesses to the speech

January 28, 2005 - Witness #1: Rony Abovitz

Vocation:
(currently in the process of verifying but this could be him)

His take on Eason™s comments

"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."¯
February 6, 2005 - Witness #2: Rebbecca McKinnon

Vocation:
Ex-TV reporter-turned-blogger

Her take on Eason™s comments - (Excerpts taken from an interview with Hugh Hewitt)

Q: First, was Rony's account "accurate" in the sense that it would have been a responsible filing from any journalist working for, say, a big paper?

A: ... So to answer your question: yes, Rony's initial blog post was "accurate" in the sense that several of us in the room have corroborated his account.

Q: Did Mr. Jordan offer the idea that American military forces had "targeted" journalists before Representative Frank entered the conversation?

A: My recollection is that he did.

Q: Q: Rony believes that David Gergen was distressed by Mr. Jordan's remarks. Do you agree with that characterization?

A: Yes I agree with that characterization.

Q: Do you recall Mr. Jordan receiving praise from members of the audience for his candor, and if so, were those audience members American? European? Arab?

A: There were definitely some people in the audience who liked what he said, and others who didn't. I don't remember specifically.

February 7, 2005 - Witness #3: Congressman Barney Frank

Vocation:
United States Congressman for the US House of Representatives - 4th Congressional district - Massachusetts (D) - Barney Frank

His take on Eason™s comments:

"¯After Jordan made the statement, Rep. Frank said he immediately "expressed deep skepticism." Jordan backed off (slightly), Rep. Frank said, "explaining that he wasn't saying it was the policy of the American military to target journalists, but that there may have been individual cases where they were targeted by younger personnel who were not properly disciplined."

After the panel was over and he returned to the U.S., Rep. Frank said he called Jordan and expressed willingness to pursue specific cases if there was any credible evidence that any American troops targeted journalists. "Give me specifics," Rep. Frank said he told Jordan.

Rep. Frank has not yet heard back yet from Jordan."¯

February 7, 2005 - Witness #4: Senator Christopher Dodd

Vocation:
United States Senator Christopher Dodd (D - CT)

His take on Eason™s comments:
Senator Dodd was not on the panel but was in the audience when Mr. Jordan spoke. He - like panelists Mr. Gergen and Mr. Frank - was outraged by the comments. Senator Dodd is tremendously proud of the sacrifice and service of our American military personnel.

February 7, 2005 - Witness #5: David Gergen

Vocation:
Currently a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of its Center for Public Leadership. He is also editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report. In earlier years, he served as a White House advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

His take on Eason™s comments:

Gergen also echoed Rep. Frank's recollection that Jordan asserted that there were cases involving journalist deaths where "not enough care was taken by U.S. troops." (Gerard Van der Leun takes a closer look at this spin here.) Gergen said he was approached after the session by European journalists who expressed the belief that American troops were "roughing up" journalists and Iraqi nationals. He also said people left the event "concerned and wanting to know more."
February 7, 2005 - Witness #6: Richard Sambrook

Vocation:
Director, BBC World Service and Global News Division

His take on Eason™s comments:

"Eason's comments were a reaction to a statement that journalists killed in Iraq amounted to "collateral damage". His point was that many of these journalists (and indeed civilians) killed in Iraq were not accidental victims--as suggested by the terms "collateral damage"--but had been "targeted", for example by snipers.

He clarified this comment to say he did not believe they were targeted because they were journalists, although there are others in the media community who do hold that view (personally, I don't). They had been deliberately killed as individuals-- perhaps because they were mistaken for insurgents, we don't know. However the distinction he was seeking to make is that being shot by a sniper, or fired at directly is very different from being, for example, accidentally killed by an explosion.

[snip]

"This culture of 'closing ranks' coupled with hostile comments about the media from senior politicians and others, has led some in the media community (not necessarily Eason or myself) to believe the military are careless as to whether journalists are killed or not."¯

February 7, 2005 - Witness # 7: Justin Vaisse

Vocation:
An Affiliated Scholar at the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.

His take on Eason™s comments:

"It must be said that Eason Jordan, one of the star journalists of CNN, didn't mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalists in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and that they were made deliberate targets by both sides.
Called on to clarify his statement, he said that outside of deaths attributed to rebels, 12 journalists, including Americans, were killed by the American army, not by deliberate attack, but in the context of a hostile climate towards the press, where the tone was set by Donald Rumsfeld himself. Many journalists feel that among young American soldiers, many would like to "do" a journalist in the course of combat.

Without going that far, Richard Sambrook, a BBC star raised the stakes. Another journalist in the room also recalled the Palestine hotel incident which supported the statements made in Davos, and recognizes the scale of the phenomenon, well-known within the journalistic community, but not beyond.

David Gergen, the moderator, was taken aback, but could not manage to change the subject."¯

February 10, 2005 - Witness#8: Bernard Rappaz,

Vocation:
A correspondent for Geneva-based Télévision Suisse Romande.

His take on Eason™s comments:

"The surprise came from the chief of CNN, Eason Jordan, who recalled that out of the 45 journalists killed in Iraq since the beginning of bombat [sic], 12 were killed by American troops. He added: "No investigation has been opened by the Pentagon into these blunders. In Iraq, journalists are now targeted by insurgents and   by occupation forces."
February 10, 2005 - Witness#9 - Bret Stephens

Vocation:
Mr. Stephens is a Wall Street Journal columnist (Ex-editor of the Jerusalem Post)

His take on Eason™s comments:

"By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forum's panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors.

Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel, interjected: Had American troops actually targeted journalists? And had CNN done a story about it? Well no, Mr. Jordan replied, CNN hadn't done a story on this, specifically. And no, he didn't believe the Bush administration had a policy of targeting journalists. Besides, he said, "the [American] generals and colonels have their heart in the right place."

By this point, one could almost see the wheels of Mr. Jordan's mind spinning, slowly: "How am I going to get out of this one?" But Mr. Frank and others kept demanding specifics. Mr. Jordan replied that "there are people who believe there are people in the military" who have it out for journalists. He also recounted a story of a reporter who'd been sent to the back of the line at a checkpoint outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, apparently because the soldier had been unhappy with the reporter's dispatches."¯

Problem:
Mr. Stephens has been admitted into an exclusive club called the "Forum of Young Global Leaders"¯ consisting of 1111 men and women under forty. This forum is affiliated with the World Economic Forum of which Eason is a member of the board. He (Eason Jordan) is not a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders nomination board. This close connection between Eason and Stephen shows a conflict of interest.
Removed items due to inaccurate information

A call to release the tapes

February 09, 2005

Senator George Allen (R-Va) asked for the tapes to be released.

Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) called the comments by Eason Jordan, the head of CNN's news division, "outrageous and wrong," and said he wants to see the videotape of Jordan making the comments.

"I guarantee if any other official or person, a public official, made a statement like that, even if they were retracting it, they would say 'Hey, this is recorded, this is taped.' I think we ought to see what he said," Allen told Cybercast News Service.

"I don't know what Al Jazeera or any of these terrorists or any of them have done with this, but you can be sure that any of the folks that are enemies of freedom, enemies of the United States, enemies of the right of Israel to exist, will use this to say, 'Oh, look at these Americans, look at how awful they are, they are not for a free press, they shoot them.' Which of course is an absolute falsehood, but there is the potential for that."

February 10, 2005

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) asks for the tapes to be released on the Don Imus program

Chris Dodd™s Statement:

"It seems to me that he ought to be the first one to say, 'Let's get the tape out,' so we can put an end to these rumors if in fact his interpretation of what he was trying to say in accurate," Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., told radio host Don Imus on Thursday....

"I presume Eason Jordan's job may be on the line over this....The best answer for him is to get that information out so you and others can watch it and draw your own conclusions about it."

February 11, 2005 - Eason Jordan resigns

Quotes from the Associated Press:

"CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit Friday amid a furor over remarks he made in Switzerland last month about journalists killed by the U.S. military in Iraq. Jordan said he was quitting to avoid CNN being "unfairly tarnished" by the controversy.

[snip]

A Web site, Easongate.com, was created and distributed a petition this week calling on CNN to find a transcript and fire Jordan if he said the military had intentionally killed journalists.

The Web site had been preparing Friday to post information to help its supporters contact CNN's advertisers. A message posted on the site after Jordan's resignation said its authors were pleased with the outcome but still want a videotape of the economic forum released."¯ - David Bauder (AP)

February 11, 2005 - Easongate.com™s statement: The price of Slander

Quote from post written by Bill Roggio:

"Easongate.com has achieved every single goal on this list. The CNN advertiser database and email program was prepared to go online this evening. Every person on this site worked professionally, with skill and devotion, and covered every angle of the developments.

However we are still not fully satisfied with the outcome. The tape should be released for public review, and Mr. Jordan should apologize for his remarks.

To every reader, commentor, emailer and blogger that committed to this cause, thank you. This is a victory for every soldier who has honorably served this nation. To you we devote this victory. "

Timeline written by Brian Scott
Contributions to timeline made by Lance McMurray of Redstaterant.com

Updated: 20/16/05 - Retraction

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