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February 8, 2005

Investors' Business Daily Gives Jordan an Early Obituary

An Alert Reader notes that Wednesday's Investors' Business Daily has weighed in on the Eason story on page A13. I had no trouble getting there, but the reader thought it might be subscriber only, so here is the whole thing:

The past year saw the toppling of several high priests of High Church Journalism. This week yet another wobbles: the top news executive at CNN.

Eason Jordan first inflicted himself with controversy two years ago, when President Bush finally launched the invasion of Iraq. Jordan took to the op-ed page of The New York Times to strangely admit covering up several instances known to him of Saddam Hussein's torturous and murderous ways.

Why the cover-up? Because, he acknowledged, he needed to maintain a bureau in Baghdad. If he'd reported on the dictator's cruelty, sometimes involving Iraqis working for CNN, why, CNN would have been expelled from the world's hottest news spot.

Jordan treated the op-ed piece as a spiritual cathartic, his secrets finally released because the war was on and he could write freely about Saddam. His revelations were met with both criticism and praise. Did he not bear a special responsibility, critics demanded, to tell what he knew about Saddam's regime before the war?

The cable guy skated - in part because media friends defended him for protecting Iraqis in his employ. And, well, because editors do sometimes render morally ambiguous decisions in pursuit of higher truths.

Now Jordan's in the stew again. Speaking last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jordan made an arresting charge. He claimed the U.S. military, while pacifying Iraq, had targeted both American and foreign journalists.

Panel chairman David Gergen, according to insider accounts, gasped. The man who'd worked in administrations from Nixon's to Clinton's demanded evidence. Liberal Congressman Barney Frank, who was there, also demanded proof.

Jordan backed off - slightly. But afterward he accepted congratulations from Arab reporters who called him heroic.

That's when the bloggers stepped in, including some who were actually there. Then master blogger Hugh Hewitt took up the case. Soon the blogosphere was electric with outrage over Jordan's irresponsible charge. Now there's an easongate.com, tracking the scandal's every fact, every claim, every angle, and demanding CNN come clean.

Why "scandal"? Jordan was spouting outrageous charges with no basis in fact. In journalism, even in High Church Journalism, that is a cardinal sin. Rising to the topmost reaches of media power does not exempt one from the first rules learned in journalism class.

The bloggers, who've done so much recently to correct the elite media's misbehavior - including sending CBS's Dan Rather to newsman's purgatory - now have Eason Jordan as quarry.

Deservedly so. It's time for him to go.

Wow. Seems like this is picking up, not dying. IBD seems to take it as a foregone conclusion that Jordan is toast -- and doesn't just foresee him dismissed because of his most recent claim. They see it as part of a history of poor decisions.

Here at Easongate, we just want the video or a transcript thereof. Please sign our petition. We're working on a method to email it to friends. 529 names and counting . . .

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