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February 6, 2005

Mr. Jordan Goes To Davos...

This is Bill Roggio's initial post on Eason Jordan...

...and let's ignore that kid with Down's Syndrome that was turned into a suicide bomber.

The media assault continues. Rony Abovitz, proprietor of The World Economic Forum Weblog, reports Eason Jordan, CNN™s Chief News Executive, has accused the American military of deliberately executing twelve journalists in Iraq.

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.

Not satisfied with saying this once, Mr. Jordan repeated himself, providing ammunition to the anti-American contingent in attendance at Davos.

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.

When confronted by Congressman Barney Frank, Mr. Jordan replied, "'There are people who believe there are people in the military who have it out' for journalists." (Hat tip: The Kerry Spot) Obviously Mr. Jordon is one of those people who believe this...

Mr. Jordan provided no evidence to substantiate his extraordinary claim that American forces targeted journalists in Iraq. Astronomer Alan Hale provides a simple guideline on investigating the veracity of UFO sightings, which also applies to fantastic claims such as those made by Mr. Jordan or any other journalist (see Seymour Hersh).

(1) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence....in order for me to accept it, you must produce extraordinary evidence...
(2) The burden of proof is on the positive. If you are making an extraordinary claim, the burden is on you to produce the extraordinary evidence to prove that you are correct; the burden is not on me to prove that you are wrong.

The Society of Professional Journalists lists the following as the top three items in its Code of Ethics:

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.
• Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.

As a "professional journalist", certainly Mr. Jordan had a responsibility to investigate, interview the parties and identify his sources prior to making such an outrageous claim. Eason Jordan isn™t a greenhorn journalist. He has great experience and credentials in the media industry, and his influence extends outside of the mainstream media:

Eason Jordan is executive vice president and chief news executive of CNN. He chairs the CNN Editorial Board, is a member of the CNN Executive Committee and provides strategic advice to CNN's senior management team. Jordan's global portfolio includes managing CNN's editorial relationships with international affiliates, governments and major newspapers. He oversees CNN's World Report Conference and the CNN International Professional Program. Jordan travels the world both as a CNN executive and a working journalist Also, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Emory University Journalism Program Advisory Board and the World Economic Forum's Global Leaders of Tomorrow Program.

Not just any media hack gets invited as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. This isn™t Eason Jordan™s first foray into the realm of questionable media practices, as Hugh Hewitt astutely points out, "It was Jordan who admitted to covering up for Saddam two years ago in a New York Times column titled The News We Kept To Ourselves."

At that time, Mr. Jordan violated the eighth item listed in the journalist's Code of Ethics: "Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story." Of course we were never told about CNN™s "methods of gathering information" in Saddam™s Iraq until well after Saddam™s regime was overthrown. Perhaps the Journalist's Code of Ethics does not apply to members of the Emory University Journalism Program Advisory Board.

CNN should obtain the tapes and investigate Mr. Jordan™s claims. He is a "journalist", no doubt he has the "facts" needed to support his case. If there is any evidence that supports his claims, then submit it to the proper authorities for investigation. If it is determined he has wrongly slandered the United States Military, he should be forced to apologize and fired forthright. And the Council on Foreign Relations should consider ejecting him for his clearly biased and near-treasonous statements. Mr. Eason would not want for work, he always can get a job at Jihad Unspun, a propaganda organ of the Islamists.

To date, this story has yet to be covered by other media sources, save bloggers on the center-right end of the spectrum. In the unlikely event that CNN actually investigates Mr. Jordan™s claims, we should have little doubt Mr. Jordan™s statements will be chalked up as just another isolated incident of poor journalism, much as Dan Rather and CBS 60 Minutes™ "transgressions" were. Those of us paying attention know better.

Meanwhile, news of the barbarity of our enemy are underreported by the media (three articles at the time of this post), or in the case of CNN, unreported. The militant™s use of a young man with Down's Syndrome as a suicide bomber on Iraq™s Election Day, as noted yesterday at the fourth rail, has been confirmed.

Amar Ahmed Mohammed was 19 years old. But the fact that he had the mind of a four-year-old did not stop the insurgency's hard men as they strapped explosives to his chest and guided him to a voting centre in suburban Al-Askan...

"He was like a baby," he said. "He had nothing to do with the resistance and there was nothing in the house for him to make a bomb. He was Shiite - why bomb his own people?

"He was mindless, but he was mostly happy, laughing and playing with the children in the street. Now, his father is inconsolable; his mother cries all the time..."

"I have heard of them using dead people and donkeys and dogs to hide their bombs, but how could they do this to a boy like Amar?"

How can the militants do this? Easily. They are animals. Just don™t expect CNN or Eason Jordan to tell you this. They have bigger fish to fry.

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