February 8, 2005
Howard Kurtz Piece in WaPo
Howard Kurtz has spoken with Eason Jordan and offers a story in the Washington Post. This is what Jordan told Kurtz:
Jordan denied that last night, saying he had been responding to Frank's comment that the 63 journalists who have been killed in Iraq were "collateral damage" in the war. "I was trying to make a distinction between 'collateral damage' and people who got killed in other ways," Jordan said last night. "I have never once in my life thought anyone from the U.S. military tried to kill a journalist. Never meant to suggest that. Obviously I wasn't as clear as I should have been on that panel."Does he also recant his earlier statements, also to an international audience, about the deliberate torture of journalists? More from Kurtz:
Two other panelists backed Jordan's account. David Gergen, editor at large at U.S. News & World Report, said he "sort of gasped" when Jordan spoke of journalists being "deliberately killed," but that Jordan "realized, as soon as he said it, he'd gone too far" and "walked it back."There is absolutely nothing new here. Gergen's comments have been dissected ten different ways since Michelle Malkin released them earlier today -- here, for example. Note the difference in coverage between Michelle Malkin's interview with Gergen, and Kurtz. Kurtz, in true traditional media form, offers three quick Gergen blurbs -- of 3, 2, 11, and 3 words respectively, and doesn't mention that Gergen is friends with Jordan. Kurtz completely ignores any contributions to the story by Rebecca MacKinnon. More:
In the interview last night, Jordan said he and a group of other news executives have discussed with a top Pentagon official allegations by Iraqi employees of NBC, Reuters and al-Jazeera "who claimed to have been detained and tortured by the U.S. military. They all came out with horrific statements about what had been done to them."Well, what was the result of that discussion? CNN has been mum on this issue. Doesn't that indicate that there's nothing to tell? Why is this still creeping into a phone or personal conversation between Jordan and Kurtz if Jordan is supposed to be clarifying his remarks? Sounds more like he's backing them up. I hate to make the comparison to the most recent Democratic presidential nominee, but . . .
At the World Economic Forum, participants say, the only specific case cited by Jordan was the April 2003 incident in which U.S. forces fired a tank round at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, killing a cameraman employed by Reuters and another for the Spanish network Telecinco. Military spokesmen said the troops were responding to sniper fire from the hotel, which was known to house about 100 foreign journalists, and defended the shelling as "a proportionate and justifiably measured response."If it was proportionate, then that was a bad day for the tank drivers. The purpose of a tank in an urban environment is to put large holes in places where snipers or other dismounted infantry may be. Not so much propotionate, but certainly "justifiable," and most definitely normal.
But Jordan supplied a list of the other incidents, such as a tank firing on and killing Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana as he was filming outside Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. U.S. officials said the troops mistook Dana's camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.Supplied the list to whom? It's been a long day, but didn't follow who the recipient of the list is. Is it Kurtz? Why is Jordan giving him a list? Is he saying, "here's some of those incidents I got worked up about and mistakenly called 'targeting'"? Kurtz lacks some clarity here.
Frank said he found Jordan's remarks "troubling" and in a later phone conversation asked him for specifics about the journalistic casualties so he could make inquiries at the Pentagon. Jordan said Frank was responding to a note from him and that there had been a "misunderstanding" if the congressman expected a further response.Jordan has had his chance. A sitting US congressman offered to follow up on any untoward journalistic casualties, and Jordan has turned him down.
Unfortunately, none of this is enough to impute:
a) what Jordan said -- we're still waiting on the video from Mark Adams, director of media at the World Economic Forum, to be delivered to Sisyphean Musings. Mark promised this video, and it is no doubt the best way to figure out what the meanings and intentions of Mr. Jordan were.
b) what Jordan was referring to last fall, when he stated that journalists were being tortured,
c) that Jordan won't make such implications again. It should be noted that he is of course free to do so, provided he has evidence to back up his claims.
Some on the left have attempted to create a list of the journalists to whom Jordan might be referring. Jordan, the Chief News Executive of CNN, has denied the assistance of Rep. Frank in tracking down those stories. He must not believe there is anything to them, and since CNN is "the most trusted name in news," there must not be.
We continue to await the video, or a transcript. David Gergen told Michelle Malkin that he would have no trouble with a transcript being released. Would that be ok with you, Mr. Jordan?
UPDATE [1:16am] See Michelle Malkin: EASONGATE: KURTZ SPEAKS (FINALLY). Michelle has been on top of this like all day and has great insight.