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February 7, 2005

The Diplomat

The status of the tape from Davos remains in question. Meanwile, a third account of the Davos conference emerges. Michelle Malkin interviews Representative Barney Frank, who was in attendance:

Rep. Frank said Eason Jordan did assert that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military. 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."

Jay Rosen, fellow blogger and Associate Professor at New York University™s Department of Journalism, interviewed yet another attendee, BBC director Richard Sambrook, who has a different perspective on Mr. Jordan™s comments at Davos. Mr. Sambrook™s account adheres to CNN™s "taken out of context" argument:

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.


"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."

Professor Rosen also explains Eason Jordan™s role at CNN:

Eason Jordan is not the President but the Colin Powell of news at CNN, and his skills have to be diplomatic, as well as strategic. Therefore being diplomatic in what you say, especially in a public forum, is in the essence of his role.

What Professor Rosen is telling us is Eason Jordan is a diplomat for CNN. Diplomats know the impact of their words, and clearly Mr. Jordan understands the impact of the use of the word "target", which implies purposeful action. Is Mr. Jordan invoking his diplomatic immunity by refusing to answer questions or release the tape? Absent of action, Mr. Jordan certainly gives the appearance evading this issue.

It appears Richard Sambrook, CNN email form letters, CNN blog spamming robots - everyone but Eason Jordan - are the remedy to this problem, at least according to CNN and Eason Jordan. Where is Eason Jordan on this issue? Release a copy of the Davos tape and a transcript forthwith. This is the only way to resolve these serious questions.

An Aside:

Professor Rosen believes the timing of Easongate is wrong, that we have jumped into the fray too soon: "Prematurely, I think, there is now a blog, Easongate." A week has passed since Mr. Jordan™s comments at Davos, and the mainstream media still will not address this issue in a meaningful way. The staff of Easongate contends it is the timeliness of the mainstream media that should be questioned, not ours.

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