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« The News & Record | Main | More 'Anti-Terror' Madness by Municipal Authorities »

February 13, 2005



It surprising. I commented/blogged this issue. I called it "..Its Autocratic in nature" on my blog posting Here

and you mention it as "..aristocrats and functionaries "


I think he should have moved on a long time ago:$1991
(This is Eason's letter to the New York Times in which he admitted withholding information in order to maintain access to Sadaam.)

I'm probably not the only one that lost respect for him a long time ago.

Lance Knobel

I moderated a discussion over dinner with Larry Summers in Davos a number of years ago, when he was deputy treasury secretary.

Before the dinner, I asked him if his comments were to be off the record. He replied that the first thing he learned in Washington was that whenever there was more than two people, any discussion would become public. I agree that off the record makes no sense in Davos particularly.

Summers, incidentally, clearly continue to learn that Washington lesson.

Jozef Imrich

Jay Rosen made a similar point as Lance when he observed that 'web-born news has its merits and that comparisons with traditional media aren't necessarily relevant: It's like comparing a public park to a living room

"The Internet is wonderful, but it has created a vast diaspora of the unengaged, the isolated and the cynical. These are not people interested in building bridges or communities. They are about tearing down, and trashing anyone they don't like on some petty, personal level." They are the other side

bertrand pecquerie


Not a lot of people are defending Eason Jordan in the US today. From Paris, France, I would like to share four comments:
1) What Eason Jordan has - presumably - said about U.S. forces targeting journalists in Irak is just UNAUDIBLE for a majority of Americans. After the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004, a new attack on the role of US army cannot be accepted anymore. I have in mind this sentence of the BBC news chief, Richard Sambrook: "American media were failing the public by wrapping themselves in the American flag…" It was true six months ago and it is still true.
2) In that sense, the Jordan case doesn't reveal a clash between bloggers and mainstream media... because nobody in mainstream media tried to really defend Jordan. In that sense too, I'm convinced that the main question to American journalists and citizens is: how patriotism interfers with journalism?
3) The whole Jordan's story is now reduced to the release of the videotape of his remarks. But who can believe this is the real issue? Even if the CNN executive said U.S military had aimed at journalists, where is the scandal? International news organisations as Reporters without Frontiers and a lot of Arab media - Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya - told the same thing, asking for international and independent enquiries about the death of nine journalists killed by American forces.
The real crime of Eason Jordan was to say what Arab media claimed and, today, in America, nobody can have such a beheavior.
4) The Eason Jordan affair is compared to the Dan Rather dismissal. Because of the role of non mainstream media in the process. But there is another comparison, much more convincing: Eason Jordan is a new Peter Arnett, this well-known journalist accused in 2003 to be a "traitor" becase he talked on a Iraki television. The same arguments gave the same results: Arnett was sacked from NBC and Jordan obliged to dismiss!
5) What's wrong with what was said on the blogosphere between the 28 January (first posting on Jordan's speech) and the 11 February 2005, date of the Eason Jordan resignation? Seen from Europe, it is very surprising that the only question was about "truth" and "facts" about the Jordan's words. But who cared about "truth" and "facts" regarding the death of journalists in Irak? I'm not saying that the only goal of bloggers was to sack a mainstream journalist, I'm just surprised by how it is easy in the blogosphere to forget real issues. Instead of asking the release of the Jordan's videotape, why nobody asked for an international and independent investigation on the journalists' death? Surprisingly, this question was totally forgotten, even if it is the main conclusion of Jordan's remarks.

As we say in French, "l'arbre cache la forêt", maybe someting like "you can't see the wood for the trees". Indeed the Eason Jordan case issue is much more than the question of a videotape!

And sorry for my English.

Dan Gillmor

Bertrand, if the "coalition" forces were specifically targeting journalists, knowing they were journalists, that would be a HUGE scandal and a huge story. What's the evidence for this? I haven't seen any.


Bertrand...Very good points and observations, especially #5.

Hiawatha Bray

I was wondering when you'd comment on this, but it was worth the wait. I agree with every word you've written. And much as I'm impressed with the Blog police, I worry that they might be getting a little too full of themselves. This ecalphunting could get a little out of hand.


Dan writes: "the aristocrats and functionaries who run the World Economic Forum control the video and refuse to let it loose."

It's worth noting that the WEF is a privately owned for-profit corporation. Nothing more. Not a world body, not an NGO, not a legitimate international forum.


One of the first and biggest on this whole story, Ed Morrisey of "Captain's Quarters", made the same point approximately a week ago, and posted a letter he intended to send to Congress asking for just such an investigation. In fact, from what I have read, that has been the point of the whole thing: Mr. Jordan needs to produce the evidence supporting such an accusation because, if true, an investigation needs to take place.

Please understand, this is not meant to criticise anyone here for wondering why that side of the issue hasn't been addressed. Merely an assurance that yes, it has been.


Crazy how this is posted today, and I just saw "Control Room" for the first time last night. If anyone remembers (I certainly didn't until I saw the movie, and researched it just now), the Baghdad offices of Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV were both hit by US bombs on April 8, 2003. Also, the Kabul office of Al Jazeera was destroyed by a US bomb in November 2001.

As Dan said, there is no direct evidence that these offices were specifically targeted. But it does make one wonder. If I were a US strategist, I don't know if I could come up with a better plan- just a few "errant" bombs to maintain plausible deniability.

Carmi Levy

I think it's appropriate that you posted this immediately after the Greensboro blog entry. I think the gulf between old media and bloggers - which I agree is wide and growing - can be addressed by a mutual understanding of each medium's relative strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, all media complement each other. A smart consumer recognizes this, and builds a consumption strategy that incorporates all media types. Content providers - both professional old media hacks and paid/unpaid bloggers - would do well to keep that in mind as they continue to bat each other over the head over who's better than who.



Thank you, Bertrand, for focusing on the main issue.

Is there any evidence that the U.S. military has targetted journalists? If so, let's hear it.

If not, why would Eason Jordan say such a thing? Is he a coke head? Is he having a nervous breakdown? Was he trying to ingratiate himself with an anti-American audience?

All such explanations are possible, but arguably none of them is on the face of it more plausible than the idea of American GIs, royally pissed at the negative coverage they're getting, aiming a little bit over in that direction.

Whatever the truth, we should know. How will we find out?


Dan:>" What's the evidence for this? I haven't seen any."

Why would you expect to? Is the American military an open organization? Do they make public all their actions and intentions?

Of course not. The military keeps most of what it does highly secret, and the notion that bad behaviour would be outed by concientious soldiers is naive in the extreme, especially in these days of the all volunteer military.

The trouble with excessive secrecy is that it leads the public to doubt. Rightly so.


Conspiracy theorists aside, who takes seriously the thought that an illegal campaign targeting journalists could be undertaken without word getting out?

Um-m-m...I said the same thing about secret incursions into Cambodia and Laos, about assasination squads, about secret programs funding anti-communist drug lords, about Americans engaging in torture. Funny how our scale of reference for "unbelievable" acts changes as our government goes the way of other powerful governments. I hope to God this isn't true, but I guess I'm too old to be surprised what people are capable of when protected by the dual shrouds of patriotism and secrecy.

Hiawatha Bray

Um, Owen...the fact that you know about these things is precisely the point. The government couldn't do them without word getting out.

By the way, I still don't buy the "CIA sold drugs" claims, but the other examples you cite are proven facts. They serve as a reminder that in the US, it's darn near impossible to keep anything secret for long.

If soldiers were ordered to kill reporters, don't you think a few of them would object, refuse, and then blow the whistle? I have no doubt of it. Which is why I don't believe it happened.

If Eason Jordan knows better, he has an obligation to provide evidence. Otherwise, he should shut up about it. Which, I suppose, he will now do.

Mike Butcher

This kind of event makes me think that the "Blogosphere" is so far largely an American space rather than a broad, global grouping. This story went largely unnoticed in Europe, blog or no blog.


Hiawatha, my point was not that facts on these things wouldn't emerge, which obviously happened. It was that the underlying acts took place in the first place under an assumption that they would NOT emerge.

The burden of proof is clearly on Jordan to prove the allegations or at least give specifics that can be tested; the reaction in some quarters to his remarks is that such allegations are too ridiculous to be true and should be suppressed or ignored, which is a dangerous presumption.


a spanish journalist was killed in iraq. it has been a top news item ever since in spain because it is felt generally in the country that he was deliberately targeted

tele5 madrid was the channel he worked for

Nick B.

This flap was inevitable in the new environment with blogs overlooking the shoulders of the legacy leftist media.

"Not a lot of people are defending Eason Jordan in the US today."

That's because what he said was indefensible. This is not only not the first time he's made the statement (at least once before), and he's made the same unsupported claim about the Israeli army targetting journalists, too. This is merely the first time that Blogs had the critical mass to actually affect him. If he had any data to support it, he would have trotted it out and all would have been forgiven. What he was doing was trying to inflame his audience with unsupported rhetoric. This is not the sort of behavior we want in a line journalist, much less a chief of operations.

Face it, the SOB should have been canned after it was revealed that he was giving Saddam's atrocities a bye in order to "maintain access". Funny how what's good for the media inevitably seems to be supporting dictatorships and tyrants everywhere. I remember when it used to be the other way around.

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