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February 7, 2005

David Gergen Speaks

Witness number five emerges. Michelle Malkin has interviewed David Gergen, who was also in attendance. Excerpt:

Gergen said he asked Jordan point blank whether he believed the policy of the U.S. military was to sanction the targeting of journalists. Gergen said Jordan answered no, but then proceeded to speculate about a few incidents involving journalists killed in the Middle East--a discussion which Gergen decided to close down because "the military and the government weren't there to defend themselves."

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."

David Gergen™s admission of shutting down the debate after Mr. Jordan began to speculate about the death of journalists is a curious development. According to Michelle, Mr. Gergen "has known Jordan for some 20 years." If we are to assume Mr. Gergen's account is positive spin, the best possible interpretation of events, then this cannot be very comforting to Mr. Eason. The best possible spin is that Mr. Jordan accused American soldiers of targeting journalists, backed off, then proceeded to do so again, but then was shut down by his friend. One wonders how Mr. Jordan would have proceeded if Mr. Gergen did not stifle the debate.

Eason Jordan should abhor second hand interpretations of his own words and thoughts in a matter as serious as this. He is the head of CNN News and commands a powerful bully pulpit that could be used to dispel the various accounts from Davos. The fact that he will not speak for himself or at the minimum request the release of the tape speaks volumes of the tone of the conversation in Davos.

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