Thursday, February 03, 2005

Blogosphere Ascendant

Click here for AmazonIf you happened to miss it, Eason Jordan*, the chief news executive of CNN, recently accused the US Military of assassinating journalists. Seriously. But the interesting part is not the fact that a major media exec made some outrageous, anti-American remarks. It's how the rest of the mainstream media is ignoring the story, to their continued detriment.

Here's a report from the World Economic Forum, the venue in which he made these statements:

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. 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.

Due to the nature of the forum, I was able to directly challenge Eason, asking if he had any objective and clear evidence to backup these claims, because if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park... Eason seemed to backpedal quickly, but his initial statements were backed by other members of the audience (one in particular who represented a worldwide journalist group). The ensuing debate was (for lack of better words) a real "sh--storm".

Charles at LGF made a quick observation, which is not only true, but also has ramifications for the future of the media:

Good luck finding any mention of this story in mainstream news. It’s being deliberately ignored.

This vacuum of coverage, this banal acceptance of crackpot viewpoints from media royalty -- without ever reporting them -- is helping to reshape the mediasphere as we watch. A simple analysis will indicate that consumers will gravitate towards sources that deliver interesting, worthwhile news. We can rule out the dimwits at CNN, who are destined to continue their catastrophic ratings slide, so long as they employ dullards such as Jordan.

The MSM's insistence on ignoring these big stories is equivalent to strapping on a weight-belt while learning to swim.

* If you're looking for additional information about the Eason Jordan affair, Hugh Hewitt has some of the best coverage and link-farms going.

Eason Jordan's Troubled History:

Eason Jordan is also the same executive who admitted that CNN regularly covered up stories of Iraqi torture and atrocities, a Faustian bargain designed to keep the Baghdad bureau office open. It was all about money -- blood money, rather -- earned by CNN in return for its silence on crimes against humanity.

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk. ...

Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for "crimes," one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home.

I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.

Of course, during that same period of time, Jordan was lying through his teeth in interviews like this:

BOB GARFIELD: I'm sure you have seen Franklin Foer's article in The New Republic which charges that the Western press is appeasing the Iraqi regime in order to maintain its visas -- to be there reporting should a war ultimately break out. What's your take on that?

EASON JORDAN: The writer clearly doesn't have a clear understanding of the realities on the ground because CNN has demonstrated again and again that it has a spine; that it's prepared to be forthright; is forthright in its reporting.

Taranto asks one of the best questions about this episode, “What are CNN and other news organizations failing to tell us about other thuggish regimes, from communist Cuba to the Palestinian Authority?”

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