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February 10, 2005

Comments

Oh, and about the test Sebastian posited:

Yes, I had heard about it and it failed the LGF filter. If Charles Johnson goes all frothy, I will safely ignore it in the secure knowledge that it is either irrelevant, untrue or a good thing.

Bender: A lot of what Anne says (actually pretty much all of it) reads TERRIBLY, but if you see the delivery its kind of comical.

I have managed to avoid Ann Coulter until I found a flyer in my mailbox several days ago, advertising a book club calle "American Compass." On the front were pictures and quotes from three of their recommended books, one being Coulter's HOW TO SPEAK TO A LIBERAL... Here is the quote: "I am often asked if I still think we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The answer is: Now more than ever." I cannot imagine any delivery that would make that line funny to me!

Sebastian -- I've been gone all day but wanted to tell you that I see your point about where and how he clarified. And I agree with the point that it was a stupid thing to do, no matter how he feels, because things are chaotic enough in Iraq without unsubstantiated allegations making their way into a public forum like that.

The Ann Coulter defense --- She's only kidding.

IOW --- The military shouldn't target journalists but wouldn't it be funny if they did.

Maybe the reason all the fuss is being made over Eason Jordan is to distract attention away from the far more serious issue of Jeff Gannon?

To directly answer the original question: I read most of the big lefty blogs, and the most I've seen of it was this piece at Language Log. I recommend said piece, by the way, for its attempt to unravel the various things that Eason might have meant.

That story really annoys me -- that it didn't get traction until the gay angle came out. It should be news that the White House is handing out press credentials under a phony name to some guy who works for a pretty-much nonexistent 'news' organization so he can feed them softball questions. That he also has a couple of gay prostitution related sounding domain names really doesn't add anything to the story. (Not that I think there was anything wrong with publishing the fact -- the domain names you have registered are public information.) That the last fact was necessary to get the story to take off just annoys the heck out of me.

Lizardbreath brings up a point that needs to be emphasized because of the way the RW blogs will use it, and in fact are already using it.

1. The Left couldn't give a rat's ass about 'Gannon's' social life, what he does in his spare time, who he does it with. That he's unmasked as a hypocrite is small beer: there are so, so many high-profile RW moralists who get caught with their pants down it's axiomatic by now.

2. No, what infuriates us on the Left is that 'Gannon' was a fake journalist. He has no degree in journalism, no prior experience in journalism, and his only journalist 'credential' is attendance at a workshop hosted by a RW think tank which focused on how to aid and assist Bush Admin propaganda. He was apparently created for the express purpose of being a useful idiot for the Bush Admin.

3. What also infuriates us is that 'Gannon' was a very useful idiot in the Plame matter as well, in that he was apparently given access to the classified material that exposed Plame and played a role - so far undefined - in exposing her.

4. Now, here's the kicker: the RW blogs leaping to his defense address none of the issues in #2 and #3. No: instead, it's the RW blogs who are focusing on 'Gannon's' private life, esp. his trolling-for-gays websites; and they're saying that's the reason the Left is angry. They're calling us homophobic bigots for attacking 'Gannon.'

5. And the MSM/SCLM are following their lead (and their lede :), concentrating on the seamier side of the story and overlooking the substantive matters. Why? Because that way, 'Gannon' can be portrayed as a 'victim of hypocritical bigotry by the Left.' When, no, it's not about that at all.

The way the RW twists the story to suit their own agenda - and, not incidentally, to distract attention from the main issue - is wearisomely typical of the RW blogosphere: distortion and trivialization of important points, distortion and magnification of minor points.

If I say "Eason Jordan CNN Scandal", do you know what I'm talking about?

Well yes, I don't expect anyone to be surprised. I see that felix in the first comment tried to change the subject and no one objected. Color me unsurprised.

I do wonder why Eason hasn't demanded the release of the video tape though.

Sebastian, for your test purposes, I identify as a leftist (and my reading material generally reflects that bias), and I hadn't heard of Easton's remarks.

That said, I'm worried about the number of journalists who have been killed in Iraq. It almost scares me more that the deaths may have been accidental rather than targetted.

I don't know how to phrase this right so as not to be jumped on. During earlier conflicts, Americans weren't as aware of regional media outlets, I think. I also suspect that fewer American media outlets employed regional nationals or emmigres as reporters or stringers. I guess what I'm proposing is that the deaths of journalists--who might vaguely resemble, to a scared and overexcited US soldier, the insurgeant population--have become more visible to the domestic polis.

This worry doesn't fit into neat categories, left vs. right, now vs. then, but I hope we can all get behind the orange Media vest and protection of those who wear it. At the very minimum, killing media reps (on purpose or on accident) is very bad PR.

JM, the old-time War Correspondents were very visible, and celebrated, precisely because they were going into danger and 'weren't even soldiers!' Which points up 1) how rare they were; and 2) how their readers, and they themselves, considered risking their lives to cover the war an honorable thing.

Now, I'm thinking mostly of the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam when I think about legendary War Correspondents. That's significant, because those were wars that were about the Fate of the Nation, the Fate of the Free World or (in Vietnam's case) mattered because they were so polarizing the whole country was up in arms, pro- or anti-war, in a constant, years-long, noisy debate.

I think it's also significant in that the reporters in those wars were not media stars to start with, were not products of a 'media industry.' Most of them came up in the ranks the hard, old-fashioned way. There was an entirely different kind of ethic at work; even a different philosophy of journalism. I really doubt that kind of ethic/philosophy still drives most of today's journalists. (A shining exception being Christiane Amanpour, who has SFAICT pretty much dropped out of sight.)

I should note here that I'm referring to American journalists. I don't know enough about non-US news media, what drives it, what kind of passions or professionalism shape it. I imagine that Arab journalists have the fervor that once motivated US war reporters, esp. since it's their world and society at the heart of the conflict.

The 'embedded journalist' thing was a spike through the heart of old-style war reportage for the US new media. Embedding reporters with the troops changed the way the war was experienced, perceived, and reported. It was useful for the Admin, useful for the media conglomerates, and probably safer for the journalists. But I don't think it made for better reportage. Quite the opposite, actually.

LizardBreath: That the last fact was necessary to get the story to take off just annoys the heck out of me.

Yeah.

CaseyL: The way the RW twists the story to suit their own agenda - and, not incidentally, to distract attention from the main issue - is wearisomely typical of the RW blogosphere: distortion and trivialization of important points, distortion and magnification of minor points.

Exactly. It ought to worry all regular journalists (and everyone who cares about the debasement of the MSM) that this guy Gannon was apparently granted a White House day pass for the specific purpose of being able to take the heat of McClellan (and through him, off Bush) by asking nice easy questions, loaded towards the Bush administration's PoV.

But I've seen no major explosion of wrath from the MSM or from the right-wing blogosphere about it - instead, they're all over Jordan Eason's saying something possibly inflammatory, about a very important topic, that he apparently almost immediately corrected himself on and restated in a much more factual manner.

Exactly. It ought to worry all regular journalists (and everyone who cares about the debasement of the MSM) that this guy Gannon was apparently granted a White House day pass for the specific purpose of being able to take the heat of McClellan (and through him, off Bush) by asking nice easy questions, loaded towards the Bush administration's PoV.

It ought to worry them more that this guy had access to classified CIA memos. And it ought to make you wonder why the White House is lying about it - they claim Guckert was given a press pass because the company he worked for was regularly publishing news stories. The White House is lying. When he was first given access, the company he was working for had only been in existence for 4 days.

Felixrayman: It ought to worry them more that this guy had access to classified CIA memos.

Oh, but that's part of the Plame Affair, and the general tendency of the right-wing blogosphere, whenever the topic of someone senior in the Bush administration betraying the covert identity of a CIA agent comes up, is to promptly change the subject to the public actions of the CIA agent's husband.

So I can understand why the right-wing blogosphere is ignoring that aspect of the Gannon story: they don't want to think that someone senior in the Bush administration is most likely guilty of treason, and if they looked at that aspect of the Gannon story too closely, they'd have to think about that.

"Perhaps so many members of the Washington media have been impersonating reporters over the years that they're not troubled to discover an imposter in their midst."

- James Wolcott

Sebastian: I am by American standards a lefty and had heard about it from 'body and soul'. I allready heard allegations about the targetting of journalist long ago though; there were/are quite a number of suspicious incidents that should have been properly investigated.

About the Gannon case: not being American I have not really followed it intensively, but I find it weird that the White House would take such an unusual step since their strategy so far seems to be more in line with 'sponsoring' preferred journalists.


"that he apparently almost immediately corrected himself on and restated in a much more factual manner."

We don't know this because they won't release the tape. Which is really the whole point.

We don't know this because they won't release the tape. Which is really the whole point.

Is it really the whole point? Assume he said the most aggressive thing you think is compatible with the stories you've heard -- what results do you think should flow from that?

If a CNN head said to a group of the most powerful people in the world that the US was targeting journalists AND his 'back-off' explanation was only a retreat from 'offical policy' (especially if he had an unofficial policy insinuation) but can't bring evidence of it, it should be brought to light because it would shed light on his news choices.

Sebastian: We don't know this because they won't release the tape.

You do appear remarkably willing to take eyewitness evidence providing it's negative, but unwilling to accept eyewitness evidence that shows Eason in a positive light. Why's that?

Which is really the whole point.

You're not in the least interested in why US forces have killed so many journalists - the "whole point" for you is exactly what Eason said about US forces having killed so many journalists? I think that shows a certain misplaced moral outrage.

I'm being a noodge here, and I apologize if it's annoying, but "shed light on his news choices" is still pretty vague. Would you consider it evidence that Jordan was likely to cause CNN to publish false information to defame the United States? That Jordan is motivated by malice toward the United States, and so is likely to to work to cause us harm in other ways? If you believe either of those things, I think you're mistaken.

It appears that Jordan thinks US soldiers have done some very bad things (what, exactly, is not determined), and is angry about that. I (and you, and lots of other people posting here) think that US soldiers have done some very bad things (different ones from the ones at issue here) and am very angry about that. This does not make me (or you, etc.) disloyal to the US, nor does it mean that my contributions to public discourse are wrongfully calculated to injure the US. Likewise, Jordan's belief in US bad acts doesn't say a thing about his loyalty to the US.

Even further -- I'm an American patriot. I do not consider that there is any requirement that, to be the head of CNN's international news reporting, Jordan must be an American patriot. Say, for the sake of argument, that he isn't -- that his anger about journalist's deaths has led him to a general emotional bias against America (I seriously doubt that this is true). Still, what of it? We are one country in the world -- we can complain if false news coverage of us is published, but complaining because not all news is published by those biased in our favor seems insane.

I can't see Jordan's words as any evidence that he is not trustworthy as a newsman, and I don't see why you do.

"You do appear remarkably willing to take eyewitness evidence providing it's negative, but unwilling to accept eyewitness evidence that shows Eason in a positive light. Why's that?"

I do no such thing. I note deeply conflicting eyewitness accounts about what happened. I note that some of those criticizing Jordan are not of a poltical persuasion that typically overreacts to attacks on American character. I note that gives some additional credence to their accounts. I note especially that a lot of this could be cleared up IF THEY WOULD RELEASE THE TAPE.

"You're not in the least interested in why US forces have killed so many journalists - the "whole point" for you is exactly what Eason said about US forces having killed so many journalists? I think that shows a certain misplaced moral outrage."

There is a difference between 'killed' and 'murdered'. Jordan's initial comments seem to have implied 'murdered'. ('Seem' because I'm not allowed to see the tape). He may or may not have backtracked from that at the time. I'm not particularly worried about the fact that journalists are killed in war zones. Many people in the West seem to have ridiculous assumptions about 'pinpoint' accuracy in wartime. I would be worried about journalists murdered by US soldiers. That is a very serious charge.

"Would you consider it evidence that Jordan was likely to cause CNN to publish false information to defame the United States?" Of course. If Jordan is willing to privately tell some of the most powerful leaders in the world that US soldiers murder journalists even though he apparently has no evidence of the same he is apparently quite willing to act directly against American interests by communicating falsehood.

"Jordan is motivated by malice toward the United States, and so is likely to to work to cause us harm in other ways?" I don't care at all what is motivations are. If he, as head of one of the largest international news services, is willing to tell some of the most important people in the world--without evidence--that the US is murdering journalists, that would strongly tend to suggest that he is willing to work to harm us in that particular way and probably in other ways.

"I (and you, and lots of other people posting here) think that US soldiers have done some very bad things (different ones from the ones at issue here) and am very angry about that." There is a context here that you seem to be ignoring: I am not the head of CNN International, you are not saying that the US murders journalists, neither of us are were at the Davos conference. Those are three very key distinctions that you aren't giving any weight to.

Not to bring up a sore point, but I really am beginning to understand how you could not think that Amnesty International could give more weight to anti-American stories if you don't even want to admit that the head of one of the largest news services has enough wieght on journalist issues that he ought not accuse the US of murdering journalists without proof. The AI case--not as clear. This one--pretty much crystal.

so much for confidentiality . . .

since SH seems to feel so strongly that capital letters are appropriate, here's my view: THIS ISSUE IS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY BREACHING THE PROMISE OF CONFIDENTIALITY, NO MATTER WHAT CONSERVA-BLOGGERS FEEL ABOUT CNN.

francis

I don't care at all what is motivations are. If he, as head of one of the largest international news services, is willing to tell some of the most important people in the world--without evidence--that the US is murdering journalists, that would strongly tend to suggest that he is willing to work to harm us in that particular way and probably in other ways.

You keep on coming back to this "without evidence" thing. Of course there's evidence that journalists were killed by soldiers aiming at them -- I mentioned some of it, Jesurgislac linked to other bits of it -- and by virtue of his position Jordan probably has some evidence that wasn't publishable. This isn't proof that the US military had a general policy of murdering journalists, but no one's asserting that Jordan made that accusation.

He may have alleged that some journalists were deliberately killed by soldiers who knew they were journalists. Again, there is at least some evidence of that that I'm aware of, and Jordan may be aware of more. If he had an evidence-based belief in the truth of his statement, why was it wrong for him to say?

Is the standard that you are applying that it is always wrong for anyone affiliated with a news organization to express a personal belief based on evidence that doesn't rise to the level necessary to support publication? Or wrong only to express such a belief when it's against the interest of the US? I think these are both unreasonable standards.

Something that I can't pin down about your posts (I thought I had, but now I'm unsure again): You sometimes seem to be saying that Jordan's words were wrongful because he was lying -- he didn't really believe what he was saying, or he knew that he had absolutely no basis in fact for it. Your "without evidence" comment, the earlier "he now doesn't want to back up the statement at all" both lend themselves to this interpretation. I'm just not sure if this is fundamental to what you think about the situation. As I said above, if you're convinced he's lying to slander the US, I completely understand your outrage, although I don't see the factual basis of your position. If he's not lying -- that is, if he is relying on the evidence that Jesurgislac drew your attention to and whatever other evidence he has, and, based on that evidence, is convinced of the truth of his words, do you still consider his words wrongful?

"He may have alleged that some journalists were deliberately killed by soldiers who knew they were journalists. Again, there is at least some evidence of that that I'm aware of, and Jordan may be aware of more. If he had an evidence-based belief in the truth of his statement, why was it wrong for him to say?"

But he doesn't have such evidence, or at least he is completely unwilling to share it.

"As I said above, if you're convinced he's lying to slander the US, I completely understand your outrage, although I don't see the factual basis of your position."

If he said what I think he said, I doubt it was for the purpose of slandering the US maliciously. I would personally speculate (please note the word) that he did it because he knew that it was the kind of thing that his audience wanted to hear. It was the kind of thing that would let him soldify his place in that group of powerful people

C.S. Lewis, in what I think is one of his most insightful speeches "The Inner Ring": says:

...I believe that in all men's lives at certain periods, and in many men's lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside. This desire, in one of its forms, has indeed had ample justice done to it in literature. I mean, in the form of snobbery. Victorian fiction is full of characters who are hag-ridden by the desire to get inside that particular Ring which is, or was, called Society. But it must be clearly understood that "Society," in that sense of the word, is merely one of a hundred Rings and snobbery therefore only one form of the longing to be inside. People who believe themselves to be free, and indeed are free, from snobbery, and who read satires on snobbery with tranquil superiority, may be devoured by the desire in another form. It may be the very intensity of their desire to enter some quite different Ring which renders them immune from the allurements of high life. An invitation from a duchess would be very cold comfort to a man smarting under the sense of exclusion from some artistic or communist coterie.

...

It would be polite and charitable, and in view of your age reasonable too, to suppose that none of you is yet a scoundrel. On the other hand, by the mere law of averages (I am saying nothing against free will) it is almost certain that at least two or three of you before you die will have become something very like scoundrels. There must be in this room the makings of at least that number of unscrupulous, treacherous, ruthless egotists. The choice is still before you: and I hope you will not take my hard words about your possible future characters as a token of disrespect to your present characters. And the prophecy I make is this. To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still-just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naif, or a prig-the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play: something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which "we"-and at the word "we" you try not to blush for mere pleasure-something "we always do." And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man's face-that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face-turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.

The gathering at Davos is one of the most exclusive Inner Rings in the world. I would be unsurprised--though I admit this is speculation--that Jordan said what he said not out of malice to the United States, but to soldify his position in a ring he wanted to impress. That is my speculation on motivation--but I find motivation a completely separate issue from the apparent fact that Jordan was soldifying bad beliefs about America, using his position as head of a journalist firm, without proper evidence.

(BTW I firmly believe that the Ring problem described above is one of the ways that practices like torture start running out of control in closed societies like the CIA.)

Sebastian Holsclaw: If a CNN head said to a group of the most powerful people in the world that the US was targeting journalists AND his 'back-off' explanation was only a retreat from 'offical policy' (especially if he had an unofficial policy insinuation) but can't bring evidence of it, it should be brought to light because it would shed light on his news choices.

Wouldn't his news choices shed light on his news choices? Seriously, you are putting a lot of energy into trying to uncover this one little bit of video while this guy's news organization is pumping 24 hours of video into your home. Why do you need this smoking gun to prove some sort of anti-American bias? Is his actual work not enough? Is the real goal here simply to humiliate CNN? What other purpose could be served by digging up this footage, airing it for the whole world to see, then saying "Shame, shame, this is sending the wrong message to the world!" I've got no love for CNN, but this sort of blood thirst is kind of astounding.

This "release the video" call sounds an awful lot like the John Kerry "sign Form 180" mantra of months ago. Regardless of its content, the only thing the video will do is give the story more momentum, moving this from being a right-wing blog hobby horse to a Dean scream endless loop for the Fox News pundits to rail against. Now we've got more than just hearsay, we've got video to show! It doesn't matter what is on the video, the worst parts will get airtime and the explanatory context will not, and if CNN or Jordan have any pull in this regard, they are wise to simply ignore all this howling. CNN is not a government institution, so FOIA doesn't apply, and no crime or ethical breach has been committed, has it? So if a few folks are fishing for something, anything to use against CNN, what purpose could be served in taking the bait?

I note especially that a lot of this could be cleared up IF THEY WOULD RELEASE THE TAPE.

Cleared up where? Here, on Obsidian Wings? Sure. But anywhere else? Lets say the official record shows that Jordan really did misspeak and promptly corrected himself. Is LGF going to make a big to do about how wrong they were? Are the likes of Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt going to apologize? Should CNN really worry about clearing stuff up on a handful of reasonable blogs, when so many of the other, more widely read and viewed outlets will simply pick apart the transcripts or video to suit the predetermined narrative? Releasing the video would be a lose-lose scenario even if confidentiality agreements weren't involved.

And Sebastian, if you are surprised that a couple of liberal Democratic congressmen are willing to fall all over themselves to avoid even the appearance of tolerating anti-American comments, where have you been the past four years?

I would personally speculate (please note the word) that he did it because he knew that it was the kind of thing that his audience wanted to hear.

So you think David Gergen's take on it is wrong? (see liberal japonicus @ February 10, 2005 06:28 AM) Can you give us a reason to side with your speculation over his?

Oh, and in the service of the original question, if I had heard about this "scandal" I must have promptly forgotten it to make room for useful information.

"Regardless of its content, the only thing the video will do is give the story more momentum, moving this from being a right-wing blog hobby horse to a Dean scream endless loop for the Fox News pundits to rail against."

Noted. And may be used against you in the future. :)

"And Sebastian, if you are surprised that a couple of liberal Democratic congressmen are willing to fall all over themselves to avoid even the appearance of tolerating anti-American comments, where have you been the past four years?"

Umm, ok. Barney Frank isn't just a random liberal Democratic congressmen and neither is Dodd. But this leads us to ken's:

"So you think David Gergen's take on it is wrong? (see liberal japonicus @ February 10, 2005 06:28 AM) Can you give us a reason to side with your speculation over his?"

Can you give any reason to side with Gergen over Dodd? Of course you can't. The question is completely reflexive. There are two very conflicting interpretations of what was said and we don't have deeply compelling reasons to believe either side. However there are two bits of evidence that I think are circumstantially revealing-- A) the witnesses who complained are not pro-Bush right wingers who can be accused of making it up on that grounds, B) the tape (which could easily clarify things) is not being released. That doesn't PROVE that the more damning interpretation is correct, but it does somewhat suggest it.

Sebastian: it may be that my reaction to this was colored by the fact that the WaPo article was one of the first I read on this subject, and it contained this:

"Gergen said Jordan had just returned from Baghdad and was still "deeply distraught" over the journalists who have died in Iraq. "This was a guy caught up in the tension of the moment," Gergen said. "He deserves the benefit of the doubt." "

But that, rather than the inner ring hypothesis, is the one I find most plausible, for several reasons. First, I tend to trust David Gergen. I don't agree with him on everything, but in my experience he's a decent guy who plays fair. Second, I don't know whether you have been anywhere near a war zone -- I haven't been in one, but I've been in somewhat analogous places, like a countryside where a civil war is going on generally, though no firefights at that particular moment, so I'm extrapolating a bit from that experience -- but my sense is that when people come back from one, especially into a comfortable place full of sleek powerful people (like Davos), one reaction is to sort of want to shake everyone and say: there are these horrible, horrible things going on; how can you all just sit there so calmly? Or (minor variant) to turn into something like the Coleridge's Ancient Mariner: grabbing people on their way into a wedding, fixing them with your glittering eye, and bearing witness to the horrors you have seen. It can make you just want to shake people out of their complacency.

(Not entirely unrelated note: when I came back from living in Israel, I was, for a month or so, absolutely unable to watch normal TV because of this: whenever commercials with happy bouncy families etc. would come on, I would be unable not to think about all the things that had to be in place in order for them to be so happy and bouncy -- the missiles just offscreen, the people elsewhere who were desperately trying to claw their way into the world of that commercial, and who had to be kept out, and so on and so forth. It's a state of mind in which you have lost some sort of psychological skin that enables you to function in the world without going mad.)

Anyways, when I read the story, and especially Gergen's account, I just assumed that something like this was what was going on. It struck me as entirely understandable, though also entirely unfortunate.

Can you give any reason to side with Gergen over Dodd?

I guess I missed where Dodd speculated about Jordan's motivation. As for your speculation vs. Gergen's, even leaving aside the fact that he was there and you weren't, I'll stick with the more understanding interpretation until proven otherwise, because that's just the kind of guy I am.

"since SH seems to feel so strongly that capital letters are appropriate, here's my view: THIS ISSUE IS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY BREACHING THE PROMISE OF CONFIDENTIALITY, NO MATTER WHAT CONSERVA-BLOGGERS FEEL ABOUT CNN."

And this is FAR LESS IMPORTANT than the Gannon/Guckert matter, which so far only people on the left side of the spectrum have mentioned (and people on the right side HAVE ENTIRELY IGNORED).

Sebastian: I do no such thing.

Oh, come off it. You certainly are - I note you're now extrapolating accusations of murder, when not one eyewitness claims Eason used that word. What's this thing the right-wing blogosphere seem to have against Eason? This is the second time they've seemed determined to distort what he said out of all recognition. Why's that?

I'm not particularly worried about the fact that journalists are killed in war zones.

Did you feel differently when an American journalist was killed? Or is your "not particularly worried" exclusive to non-American journalists being killed?

If Jordan is willing to privately tell some of the most powerful leaders in the world that US soldiers murder journalists even though he apparently has no evidence of the same

Nor do you have any evidence - except your willing bias to believe ill of Jordan Eason - that he said anything of the kind. Your claim to be unbiased is looking more and more shaky.

Eason has, at least, the evidence of 12 dead journalists, noncombatants, killed by US forces. (Further, as Hilzoy has pointed out just above, he was just back from a war zone, which I think gives anyone some excuse for speaking hastily.)

You are sitting comfortably at home, apparently willing to believe anything negative said about what Jordan Eason said, but desperately unwilling to believe anything positive said about what Jordan Eason said. Since you have no evidence either way, why are you tilting towards the negative? Why do you want to think badly of Jordan Eason?


"I guess I missed where Dodd speculated about Jordan's motivation. As for your speculation vs. Gergen's, even leaving aside the fact that he was there and you weren't, I'll stick with the more understanding interpretation until proven otherwise, because that's just the kind of guy I am."

Why are you focusing so much on unprovable motivational issues? I speculated on it only because so many on this thread seem very interested in suspected motivations. That isn't what I was talking about. I was talking about conflicting reports of what was said. Dodd and Barney say one thing, Gergen says another. They are very different reports of what was said. That conflict is a factual conflict which is easily resolved.

"THIS ISSUE IS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY BREACHING THE PROMISE OF CONFIDENTIALITY, NO MATTER WHAT CONSERVA-BLOGGERS FEEL ABOUT CNN."

Then Jordan should waive the 'promise of confidentiality'. Journalists ask public figures to do that all the time. Jordan should be quite familiar with the concept.

Sebastian Holsclaw: Noted. And may be used against you in the future. :)

Feel free. I have no illusions, for instance, that Bush would have gotten any benefit from releasing his NG records.

Though I hope you recognize that the governance (and even private enterprise where the public interest is clearly concerned) calls for a different standard of openness. Cheney's energy task force meetings are an entirely different ball game than what we are talking about here.

Can you give any reason to side with Gergen over Dodd? Of course you can't.

I'm not siding with anyone on the actual events. Conflicting eyewitness accounts are par for the course. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable. That said, Frank and Dodd are elected officials. They have constituencies, and they owe not only their jobs, but their level of influence in those jobs, to a political process. I don't think they would lie about such a thing, but they are probably more anxious to distance themselves from Jordan's comments and get out ahead of any controversy than Gergen would be.

Jesurgislac. Daniel Pearl was not inadvertantly killed. He was murdered. Do you understand the distinction? I fully expect that journalists in war zones--both American journalists and non-American journalists--will get killed. When I hear that a US soldier 'killed' a journalist, it isn't the same as if I hear that he targeted and killed a journalist. It isn't the same because "targeted and killed" strongly implies 'murdered'.

I specifically made the distinction between inadvertantly killed and murdered. You then link to Daniel Pearl's murder, label it 'killed' and insinuate that I only care about him because he was an American. Do you understand the distinction and are ignoring it, or do you have trouble with the distinction?

Sebastian: When I hear that a US soldier 'killed' a journalist, it isn't the same as if I hear that he targeted and killed a journalist. It isn't the same because "targeted and killed" strongly implies 'murdered'.

And it seems clear that the journalists who were killed were "targeted and killed" - if not as journalists, at least as individuals, noncombatants. They're not alone in this, of course: other noncombatants have been targeted and killed by US forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan. You're the one calling that murder: if you think it's murder, I suggest to you that it's inappropriate to target your anger at the person who talks about it in public, rather than the people who would prefer to ignore it happening.

Do you understand the distinction and are ignoring it, or do you have trouble with the distinction?

I find it difficult to understand the distinction you're making. You know that US forces target and kill noncombatants in Iraq, both journalists and others: if you're as avid a reader of the news as you've asserted in the past, you can't possibly have missed stories like these from April 2003 onwards. If you call this murder, what's your objection to Eason Jordan saying, however he said it, that it happens?

Sebastian-

I agree with you that motivation is unimportant (and I've always been fond of the Lewis speech you quote). What I thought of as the operative word in my earlier post "lying to slander the US" was "lying", rather than "slander".

Assuming Jordan said that journalists were deliberately targeted by US forces, I see two possibilities:

(A) He does not believe that this is true, and said it anyway for reasons of his own.

(B) He believes, based on evidence that he finds convincing, but that does not meet CNN's standards for publication, that it is true.

(The third possibility, that there is evidence that does meet CNN's standards, seems to be ruled out by the fact that CNN has not broadcast such allegations.)

As I've said before, I comprehend your outrage if you believe he's lying -- I'm just not sure why you think so.

If situation (B) is the case -- he has an evidence-based belief in the truth of what he said -- why do you think he was wrong to say it? (You have said a few times that he had no evidence. I assume you are speaking loosely: again, Jes has linked to some evidence. You may (I am sure you do) regard it as insufficient, but it is some evidence. Further, he may have more evidence which does not meet CNN's standards for publication, but which nonetheless he finds convincing.)

OK. I am truly & totally stunned to learn that this is what right-wing blogs are all up in arms about today. This blows me away.

Is there seriously nothing more important going on in the world?

People are being killed in Iraq every day, Americans and Iraqis and others, and nobody has been held responsible for the f*ckup there. People are being tortured in Iraq, and nobody has been held responsible for that. People in Gitmo have been there for almost 3.5 years without ever seeing a lawyer -- and nobody has been held responsible for that.

People with real power are destroying real people's real lives. Day in, day out, every day. And nobody is being held responsible.

And the only thing the right cares about is whether or not one person -- with no power -- expressed an OPINION, which may or may not be true, and which might somewhat damage the reputation of the United States? It is now critical that this JOURNALIST be held RESPONSIBLE??

For what? For undermining the reputation of the United States?

You have got to be kidding me. You have got to be f*cking kidding me.

If the United States wants a better reputation, why not, you know, actually GIVE SOME PEOPLE A F*CKING TRIAL at Gitmo? Why not STOP TORTURING PEOPLE and justifying it? Why not stop committing war crimes -- and start holding responsible the people who did?

Our reputation in Europe does not, believe me, hang in the balance over unconfirmed reports that the U.S. may or may not be targeting journalists.

If we're targeting journalists, that is only another in a long line of war crimes being committed.

If we're not targetting journalists, then I understand the outrage, sort of. I mean, hell, there are real war crimes we are committing, every day. It's just unfair to make up extra ones.

From the declaration of the International Federation of Journalists with their annual report over 2004:

after one of the worst years on record for the killing of journalists, the International Federation of Journalists today launched its annual report on media deaths with a renewed call for the United States and other governments to take seriously their responsibility to investigate media killings. “Too often governments display a heartless and cruel indifference to the suffering endured by the victims and their families,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Too often so-called investigations into the killings of our colleagues are merely a whitewashing exercise.”
“There tends to be a few meaningless words of regret, a cursory inquiry and a shrug of indifference,” said White. “It is inexcusable in an age when the world relies more than ever on media to tell the story that many governments fail to bring the killers of journalists to justice or excuse themselves when their own people are involved.”

The IFJ says that the investigation by the US government into the killing of two journalists at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on April 8 2003, which was issued last November, was a tragic example. “Here was an incident where soldiers fired on media in broad daylight, yet the military exonerate themselves and fail to take responsibility. It is denial of justice on a shocking scale.”

The IFJ says that the unexplained killing of media staff and journalists in Iraq, involving 12 of the 69 violent deaths since the war began, shows why new international rules are needed to force independent investigations of media killings. The Federation plans a worldwide protest over the failure of the US to carry out such inquiries on April 8th – the second anniversary of the Palestine Hotel attack.

There is more about other counries too, I just quoted the bits about the USA.

Kent: OK. I am truly & totally stunned to learn that this is what right-wing blogs are all up in arms about today. This blows me away.

But if they weren't up in arms about Eason Jordan, they might have to pay attention to Jeff Gannon - a much more serious issue, if we're talking about integrity in the media.

(If the issue is journalists being killed by US forces, then Eason Jordan is an inappropriate target.)

I might have heard about it allready in May. I found the IFJ made a statement that day about the killing of journalists in Iraq too:

“The grotesque term friendly fire cannot hide the reality that media staff have been cut down and no credible, independent investigations have taken place. It is an affront to democracy.”

The IFJ has issued a report – Justice Denied on the Road to Baghdad – about seven killings, most at the hands of American troops during and immediately after the Iraq war. A further four media killings, again by US soldiers, have taken place in recent weeks.

“All of these deaths must be properly and independently investigated,” says the IFJ. “If not, the suspicion of gross negligence or, worse, targeting of media staff will remain.”


Jesurgislac, first you link to Nick Berg as an example you parallel to accidental killing and now you link to another accidental killing as something I should think of as murder. It is clear you aren't interested in making moral distinctions. Therefore I'm done.

"If situation (B) is the case -- he has an evidence-based belief in the truth of what he said -- why do you think he was wrong to say it?"

Then he should say it now, even if it would not normally meet CNN's standards. I think B) is highly unlikely. If he had evidence he would now provide it.

"“Too often governments display a heartless and cruel indifference to the suffering endured by the victims and their families,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Too often so-called investigations into the killings of our colleagues are merely a whitewashing exercise.”"

Welcome to the dangers of war. Frankly the IFJ is revealed as dangerously naive in this quote:

"“It is a sorry tale of incompetence and lack of political will, made worse by the absurd notion that journalists can only protect themselves by taking up guns,” said White. “This is precisely the sort of abdication of governmental responsibility that will only make life even more dangerous for journalists.”"

Once again welcome to the dangers of war reporting. Governmental responsibility my behind. Take some personal responsibility. The people who suggest reporters should have guns are noticing that you can't wait for the police to arrive when you are being kidnapped by terrorists. Civilians die in wars. Journalists are a non-special class of non-combatnat for most purposes. If the US is intentionally targetting and killing non-combatants that is a problem. If that is the case, I want to know about it. But journalists put themselves into dangerous places. The fact they they get killed sometimes while doing that is unsurprising. You may notice that Marines get killed too. That isn't shocking. You may notice that Marines sometimes get killed by other Marines.

That is very different from saying that Marines are targetting and killing other Marines.

People who don't make that distinction aren't bringing anything to the discussion.

Sebastian: If the US is intentionally targetting and killing non-combatants that is a problem. If that is the case, I want to know about it.

Not by the evidence available, you don't. I linked you to one of the initial examples of US soldiers intentionally targetting and killing non-combatants: if you want a still earlier example, the use of cluster bombs in built-up areas amounts to the intentional targetting and killing of non-combatants: and you're right, it is a problem, but I've not seen that you want to know about it.

Dutchmarbel has cited you some further independent evidence that this is not just Jordan Eason mouthing off: that twelve journalists have been killed by US forces - not as "collateral damage", as they were in the area when a bomb went off, but apparently intentionally shot at by US soldiers, just as brutally as if they were Iraqi civilians - is something that is of widespread concern to journalists around the world. It doesn't do any good to stick your head in the sand and pretend that if Eason isn't allowed to talk about it, the problem will go away.

Jes: Sebastian is probably best placed to know what he does and does not want.

Hilzoy: Sebastian is probably best placed to know what he does and does not want.

If someone says to me "I want chocolate!" and I offer them chocolate and they turn me down and say "That's not what I want!" and then say "I want chocolate!" again, I have to argue that while they may say they want chocolate, by their actions they evidently don't want chocolate.

Similarly, Sebastian may say he wants to know about US forces deliberately targeting noncombatants, but his actions throughout this thread have been the reverse.

Then he should say it now, even if it would not normally meet CNN's standards. I think B) is highly unlikely. If he had evidence he would now provide it.

If this is your position, than I think this is an idiotic tempest in a teapot. There is evidence that's publicly available. You talk about some of it in the rest of this post. You find it unconvincing. Jordan apparently finds it convincing enough to support his statements (whatever, again, they were).

On the subject of whether he should come forward with additional evidence that he may have that doesn't meet publication standards, I think you are lacking in self-knowledge if you believe that, e.g., a string of suggestive anecdotes in this regard would make you any happier with Jordan. I am absolutely certain that offering such soft evidence would inflame, rather than resolving, the issue generally.

If you have a hard time believing that anyone with a negative belief about the actions of the US holds it honestly, you should grow up. People believe bad things about the US for lots of reasons other than holding or catering to anti-American bias. Sometimes they believe bad things because they're true.

And all this argues against releasing the clarifying tape because?

Jesurgislac, you seem utterly unable to distinguish between unintentional killing and murdering--a moral failing I can't understand, but it makes it impossible for me to talk to you about the issue at hand because the issue is that Jordan accused US soldiers of one and you are offering evidence of the other. Killing is a broad category. Murder is a subset. Evidence of the broad category is not evidence of the subset.

Sebastian-

I'm a soldier, in a city with civilians in it:

1) I see you pointing a gun at me, and I shoot you. Intentional killing, not murder. That's war.

2) I mistakenly think I see you pointing a gun at me, and I shoot you. Still intentional killing, justified by a mistake of fact. A tragedy, but not murder.

3) Out of caution, I decide that I'm going to shoot anyone I see moving, in case they're going to shoot me. You (a civilian) move, and I shoot you. Murder? By the definition you seem to be using, yes. Certainly a targeted killing of a civilian.

Do you think this kind of thing doesn't happen? If so, I think you're wrong -- several of the stories Jes has linked indicate that it does happen. I think your suggestion that Jes can't make moral distinctions for bringing it up is, to say the least, misplaced.

Sebastian Holsclaw: And all this argues against releasing the clarifying tape because?

Why do you believe the tape would clarify anything? This story isn't news. It is gossip. It is the domain of shouting pundits, not journalists. You might as well ask Angelina Jolie why she doesn't release documentary evidence proving she didn't break up Brad and Jen's marriage. LGF and company have their narrative all plotted out, and releasing the video (if such a thing is even possible) just means they have a picture to point to while they talk about what an awful, awful man this Jordan fellow is.

You don't make a pest go away by feeding it.

""THIS ISSUE IS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY BREACHING THE PROMISE OF CONFIDENTIALITY, NO MATTER WHAT CONSERVA-BLOGGERS FEEL ABOUT CNN."

Then Jordan should waive the 'promise of confidentiality'."

The promise of confidentiality is not entirely Jordan's to waive. If you are seriously suggesting that everyone who was at that conference will waive their right to confidentiality to satisfy your concerns, I think we need to revisit the issue of your naivite.

Can you give any reason to side with Gergen over Dodd?

Dodd and Franks were in the audience while Gergen was the moderator of the panel (and therefore presumably attending more closely to what the panelists were saying)

Sebastian: you seem utterly unable to distinguish between unintentional killing and murdering

No, I don't think so. LizardBreath conveniently outlined three kinds of killing that can happen when you're a soldier fighting in a war like the one in Iraq: I generally agree with them.

I also think that, demonstrably, US soldiers in Iraq have been rather too jumpy and making too many mistakes, killings of the kind LizardBreath categorized under (2). I don't think this is (necessarily) the fault of the soldiers in question: it's very much the fault of the Bush administration, who decided to fight a ground war in Iraq without enough soldiers to do it competently, and without doing the proper planning. But the effect on the noncombatants killed is just the same: they're dead.

"The promise of confidentiality is not entirely Jordan's to waive. If you are seriously suggesting that everyone who was at that conference will waive their right to confidentiality to satisfy your concerns, I think we need to revisit the issue of your naivite."

Nope, I'm suggesting that Jordan waive confidentiality for his speech only. That doesn't violate anyone else's.

"3) Out of caution, I decide that I'm going to shoot anyone I see moving, in case they're going to shoot me. You (a civilian) move, and I shoot you. Murder? By the definition you seem to be using, yes. Certainly a targeted killing of a civilian."

If you or Jordan think a journalist has been killed under 3, we should know about it. If you don't, he was being misleading.

2) is indeed an expected and unfortunate part of war, and would not normally be described as "targeting civilians".

As such the same is true of journalists. If 1 or 2, I don't really care. If 3, we should know about it. But even that isn't targeting journalists, that would be targeting civilians who happen to be journalists. Targeting journalists would be finding out that someone is a journalist and killing him for being a journalist. If I say that the mafia is targeting informants, I'm not talking about the physical act of using a target scope to kill them with a rifle, I'm talking about the process of identifying an informant and killing him. That is the regular usage of the phrase, and the other interpretations offered of the phrase are torturous.

I get the impression many reporters believe that they were targeted by Americans. Even before the war reporters had been warned off being independent, they were repeatedly warned they could get hurt, that using sat phones could get them killed. Was that one round just adding a little extra zing to the threat, maybe some soldiers thought it was funny.

Al jazeera being hit was no surprise, Americans had complained frequently about their showing of gruesome images of war and their showing of captured soldiers. Would soldiers enjoy killing reporters who they felt responsible for their fellow soldiers shame and humiliation?

I don't find that a great stretch of imagination.

America has always been arrogant but the Bush admin has taken this to new heights, their contempt, (mirrored on blogs) for so many things including the media has permitted a climate where differing points of view are seen as major dissent, treasonous or terrorist sympathizing. The Bush admin and their mouthpiece Fox has been encouraging hatred, it's not harmless rhetoric it's extremely dangerous. People are following it's lead and the acceptance of demonizing rather ordinary, harmless people is extremely ugly to watch. I think a lot of people jump to their defense, not necessarily because they think the person is completely innocent but because the reaction is so over the top to the supposed crime. Reading the blogs is a bit like watching lynch mobs in action or the old western posse.

"Nope, I'm suggesting that Jordan waive confidentiality for his speech only. That doesn't violate anyone else's."

No you're not, as you want the Q&A session, too. The confidentiality right typically runs to all participants, both speakers and audience.

Targeting journalists would be finding out that someone is a journalist and killing him for being a journalist.

We killed two journalists on the roof of the Palestine Hotel, occupied by journalists. We killed a journalist in Al Jazeera's Baghdad headquarters. It could have been accidental -- we don't have signed confessions -- but there is some reason to believe that US forces were at least aiming at places where journalists were known to be. I don't ask that you find this convincing, but you really do have to admit that the allegation isn't simply out of the blue.

"I get the impression many reporters believe that they were targeted by Americans. Even before the war reporters had been warned off being independent, they were repeatedly warned they could get hurt, that using sat phones could get them killed."

Gee, could it be that we knew the insurgents were using sat phones and were trying to lock onto those? Seems like a prudent warning, not a threat to target. Sheesh.

And the Palestine hotel was situation 2 correct?

Aiming at places where journalists are known to be isn't a problem when the place where journalists are known to be is the same place that Iraqi soldiers were. That is why it was bad that Iraq was placing their people in civilian areas--the war crime underreported by Amnesty International if I recall our discussion on the issue.

Sebastian: Aiming at places where journalists are known to be isn't a problem when the place where journalists are known to be is the same place that Iraqi soldiers were.

Which wasn't the case with the Palestine Hotel. Or with the bombings of the al-Jazeerah offices. So why bring it up?

Nope, I'm suggesting that Jordan waive confidentiality for his speech only. That doesn't violate anyone else's

It wasn't a speech, it was a panel discussion. Perhaps I'm projecting, but I'm assuming that Davos is like an academic conference, where the meetings are often just an excuse for talking to people outside of the meetings.

Also, as Melissa points out, the opinion probably is held by many journalists. The whole embed philosophy was debated in this light. The US spokesmen were saying 'there is no way we can guarantee your safety if you are independent' was taken by journalists as a warning.

Also, hilzoy's point about just returning from Iraq, if what Gergen says is true, is something that should be underlined. CNN depends on stringers more than a traditional news operation and if this is a result that he is distraught about his employees, well, I wish everyone were as responsible for the people they were sending there.

Here is a few link of interest
here and the comments are interesting for the fact that the idea surfaces that MSM folks can't report on this because they would go on a blacklist because Jordan has so much power, which thus justifies their reporting. Also interesting is the accusation of log-rolling, though Rosen's blogging seems to be balanced (of course, it is the balanced ones who are the most dangerous :^)).

Here's a few more a 2nd Rosen link (which notes the silence of the WSJ, even though their reporter was present, suggesting that there are rules for attendance and the WSJ is not going to break them or they will find themselves disinvited in the future) There are a number of other interesting points, but the organization is not there, so please dig around.

One of the other interesting charges, made in passing here, but that I have seen elsewhere, is that Howard Kurtz, because he works for both the WaPo looking at the media and for CNN, is in the tank. Of course, this has long been a meme of the left, so it is interesting that it has been picked up by the right.

The links to the interviews and other things are also worthwhile. The interview is notable in that it probably has exactly what Jordan said (because what you say impromptu is usually something that you have written before) It is:

We're working two very, very big stories right now that have a couple of things in common. One is they're enormously costly, but more importantly or more worrying is that they're both exceptionally dangerous, because we've seen something in both places that I thank God happens very rarely, and that is that in both places journalists are not only being killed but they're being targeted. There are combatants in both of these conflicts who are trying to kill journalists, and that is unusual and a very nightmarish situation.

Here's a del.li.cio.us page set up by someone to bookmark news stories. (apropos to nothing, I would love to see the ObWi folks set up their own del.icio.us pages so we could peer more deeply into their minds)

I also like this point that links to the blogger's <http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/000215.php>code of ethics. Interesting story, interesting times.

apropos to nothing, I would love to see the ObWi folks set up their own del.icio.us pages so we could peer more deeply into their minds

You sick, sick bastard...

The top post at Rosen's blog is quite interesting

Especially the discussion of CNN and Fox at war, and Scarborough's quote that there is "a cancer growing on CNN". You can't make this stuff up.

Anarch
(●-●)

(Japanese smiley of someone in dark glasses i.e. 'who, me?')

Sebastian: one more point. I also assumed two things from the WaPo article (or somewhere, but I think it was that. At any rate, I had these two assumptions somehow...). First, that Jordan did not say what he did as part of a prepared speech, but in response to someone else's use of the phrase 'collateral damage'. This makes a difference to me, since obviously one has the chance to be much more careful in any prepared remarks.

The second is that what I read suggested that what happened was that Jordan said something that was ambiguous between two claims:

(a) the army is (deliberately killing) people, some of whom turn out to be journalists (where 'deliberately killing' means something like: trying to kill, not trying to do something else and inadvertently killing someone.)

(b) the army is deliberately (killing journalists), where this means: it's not just that they are killing people on purpose; they are targeting journalists as such.

There are all sorts of ways in which one could intend to say (a) and have it come out sounding like (b), especially if one were speaking off the cuff. This would explain the gasps, the backtracking, and the ultimate understanding of what he said. Maybe I just tend to look for such explanations because I spent lots of my youth being one of those people who always said things that came out wrong, and as a result I'm allergic to taking things wrong myself, but for whatever reason, that's the explanation that I ended up with. (Possibly it helps that I saw the WaPo article before the blog comments on the episode.)

Anyways, that's why I don't think it's an indication of anything dire, though I do think it's a pretty unfortunate thing said in a pretty unfortunate venue. -- I should add that I don't think I have any investment in defending CNN; except for Aaron Brown, I don't like them at all.

This view into my psyche provided (a) so that you (Seb) can get some sense of how someone could not think this was a big deal, and (b) to LJ, since I don't know what a del.icio.us page is, and don't really see how much more exposure my puny little thoughts could stand anyways.

Since I mentioned it, I should explain it. A del.icio.us page is basically a public list of bookmarked webpages that is kept on a central server and available to anyone. You can also create a set of tags so that you classify your bookmarks into categories. If you plan your tags carefully, your tags can be the same as other people's tags, and you can search. It could be a rather embarassing look into your psyche, so forewarned is forearmed. The rival service http://www.furl.net (which looks a lot slicker so I am therefore more suspicious of, but does some very neat things like export bookmarks as Bibtex or MLA citations.

Here is the about page for del.icio.us. As they note, the system is pre-pre-alpha, but because it is not running on your computer, the risk you run is only in losing things you have bookmarked and I feel sure they are backing things up, so you should never lose everything. Here is a beginner's guide to the service.

From Australian newspaper 'the age' (registration, www.bugmenot.com helps):

The first detailed analysis of the coalition air campaign by the commander of US air forces, Michael Moseley, also reveals a heavy emphasis on psychological operations; 32 million pro-coalition leaflets rained down on Iraqis during the campaign and 610 hours of anti-Saddam Hussein propaganda were broadcast.

There were 10 authorised strikes against "media facilities", including the Baghdad office of the Arabic TV news channel al-Jazeera, in which a reporter died.

More than 240,000 cluster bombs were dropped on Iraq, the report shows. Australia refuses to use these weapons, which were said by doctors to have caused injuries to children during allied bombing raids.

Humanitarian organisations want cluster bombs banned because their hundreds of grenade-like explosives scatter as far as half a kilometre, sometimes over urban areas where they can lie undisturbed for years and then explode. During the war, Central Command in Qatar began investigating reports that cluster bombs had killed 11 civilians in Hillah, in southern Iraq, and admitted in April that, while aiming for Iraqi missile systems and artillery, it hit Baghdad suburbs with cluster bombs.

Commander Moseley's assessment of the campaign is based on military records from March 19 to April 18. Called Operation Iraqi Freedom - By The Numbers, it has not been publicly released but is available to military experts. An unclassified version has been obtained by The Age.

"There are combatants in both of these conflicts who are trying to kill journalists, and that is unusual and a very nightmarish situation."

I hate statements like this. You're a freakin journalist, report. Are you talking about Iraq? Say so. Are you talking about insurgents trying to kill you? Say so. Are you talking about the US trying to kill you? Don't freaking use innuendo, say it.

"This would explain the gasps, the backtracking, and the ultimate understanding of what he said."

But it doesn't explain why even after the backtracking Democrats like Frank and Dodd still left the conference with the impression that Jordan believed the US was targetting journalists. That for me is a really revealing detail that nobody here seems to want to even try to explain away. Except Jesurgislac who typcially thinks 'of course the US targets journalists', which even if correct is something I would want actually REPORTED not thrown to people with cheesy innuendo in Davos.

"This view into my psyche provided (a) so that you (Seb) can get some sense of how someone could not think this was a big deal" I have an excellent sense of how someone could think it isn't a big deal. I'm ok with other people having other priorities. I'm getting annoyed here because I'm being piled on as a complete freak for thinking that when someone says something that even Democratic Congressmen interpret as anti-American even after the backtracking that there might have been something serious said even after the backtracking.

As for the video, Jordan could request a transcript of the portion of the talk in question with other people's names not revealed. He won't, of course, but we don't need to pretend that it is impossible to both protect general confidentiality and get to what he actually said.

Apparently Eason Jordan has resigned.

Jordan's resignation is quite telling. He never personally called for the release of the videotape, which would have settled this thing one way or the other. If he thought the videotape would have exonerated him, he would have called for its release a week ago. He didn't. And during this period, he obfuscated and was not forthcoming. A simple apology at the outset would have defused this whole sorry episode. Instead, he dropped a cone of silence over his head and he let a passel of webloggers step into the breach and call him on his statements. Given his history of monumentally poor judgments, good riddance. CNN could do better.

Apparently Eason Jordan has resigned.

Which, regrettably, proves nothing. Thanks for the update, though.

Since we xposted, Bird Dog: irony, thy name is juxtaposition...

Sebastian Holsclaw: I hate statements like this. You're a freakin journalist, report.

He should report while he's being interviewed about a story in progress? How about he reports when the story is actually finished?

But it doesn't explain why even after the backtracking Democrats like Frank and Dodd still left the conference with the impression that Jordan believed the US was targetting journalists. That for me is a really revealing detail that nobody here seems to want to even try to explain away. Except Jesurgislac who typcially thinks 'of course the US targets journalists', which even if correct is something I would want actually REPORTED not thrown to people with cheesy innuendo in Davos.

And except for the two other commenters who gave reasons why Frank and Dodd might have reacted more strongly.

Apparently Eason Jordan has resigned.

And, the fifth column having been vanquished, I expect the insurgents to lose all hope and unconditionally surrender any moment now.

Bird Dog: Jordan's resignation is quite telling. He never personally called for the release of the videotape, which would have settled this thing one way or the other. If he thought the videotape would have exonerated him, he would have called for its release a week ago.

How do you know this? Be specific please.

I'd suggest that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. Jordan suggests in the interview I linked to that they are working on two 'enormously costly' and 'extraordinarily dangerous' stories. If one of these is what he is mentioning, him resigning is a strategic withdrawal. I really have no idea, but the 'blog swarm' to use Hewitt's phrase, is quite amazing. I also think that the term is more accurate that some on the Right might care to admit. If we think of a swarm like an exercise in raw computing power, the optimal solution is to devote resources to semi-plausible smears that, as they say, may 'stick'. I think some here who could point to the literature that questions whether this kind of approach actually merits being labeled 'intelligence'. I assume that Seb's title 'this is a test' meant that it was dipping his toes into the water, which is the one tiny silver lining of this, that at least he hesitated a bit before jumping on the bandwagon.

I actually don't know what to think about the resignation at this point. I think it adds some circumstantial evidence that there was something in the tape that would have been damning, but I'll admit that it isn't conclusive.

Inferences that the resignation suggests something bad for Eason--you typically don't resign over a scandal where you believe you are innocent even before it really breaks. Despite the fact that there was clamor on conservative weblogs, it really hadn't broken into the wide-audience media very much.

I can't think of a really good reason to walk away from that job if the statements at Davos weren't bad--if you are super-honorable perhaps you could suggest that the mere hint of controversy was going to hurt CNN. I'm loathe to ascribe that level of honor to very many people, and even then it would typically be employed only if you thought you were at least slightly culpable.

I think a resignation at this point--if he didn't say what has been alleged--would be unfortunate because it is likely to leave the question unresolved. If he did say what has been alleged it makes sense to me.

if you are super-honorable perhaps you could suggest that the mere hint of controversy was going to hurt CNN.

Or, conversely, that CNN's high-ups are too chickensh** to weather the flak they knew was coming. As I said, the resignation proves nothing.

Sorry to interrupt the post-facto rationalization of the hounding of a man out of his job for possibly expressing an unpopular view, but now seems like an appropriate time to pay respects to the author of "The Crucible."

God knows it doesn't hurt to balance out this monstrous post at RedState.

Please note that it is in the diaries of RedState. In a precise mirror of the diaries at dKos we don't exercise editorial control of non-front page items.

This is just speculation, but seeing how the Rather scandal played out, if there were a big story in the works, and I were Jordan, I would get myself out of play.

Sebastian Holsclaw: In a precise mirror of the diaries at dKos we don't exercise editorial control of non-front page items.

I guess it's lucky for Thomas that he isn't a bigwig at a major news network, huh? Them guys, you can put a hurt on.

Ahh, I see. Want me to criticize him? He's an ass. And interestingly that is likely to have almost the same effect as my criticism of Eason Jordan. I also seem to think that those in high positions tend to attract more criticism. You may have heard criticism of George Bush? You may have engaged in some youself? Uh-huh.

Bitter, table of one.

Please note that it is in the diaries of RedState. In a precise mirror of the diaries at dKos we don't exercise editorial control of non-front page items.

Seb,
A small correction. I believe that there is some control of diaries, but it is exercised over a longer period than one diary entry. I'm not a dkos member, so perhaps someone could chime in, but from the FAQ, because they are getting over 200 diaries a day, it is not possible to keep watch over diaries. This is slightly different that 'not exercising editorial control'. I'd be curious how many diaries Redstate is getting. A count of 11 Feb suggests about 5-10 a day while at dkos, there were about 250.

Also, there is this:
A dKos tradition for dealing with trolls' diaries is to post recipes on them, rather than address the substance of the post. This has caused a number of trolls to stumble off the board in confusion, as well as distributed some delicious food ideas.

from the community guide page.

This doesn't mean that nasty stuff is stopped (there is a Buck Fush diary, and I am sure you could find lots of things that I would not really accept, which is why I have signed my practially exclusive contract with ObWi), but this belies the claim that Redstate is a 'mirror' of dkos.

Ahh, I see. Want me to criticize him? He's an ass.

Just pointing out the irony of the grossly disparate spheres of influence and responsibility, in perhaps an excessively snide manner. And FYI I was using the plural "you", in direct response to "we don't exercise editorial control..." I do realize you are only a fraction of RedState and don't really hold you personally responsible for anything that goes on there outside your own contributions.

Bitter, table of one.

The idea of hounding journalists out of their jobs for ideological reasons is starting to really raise my hackles, yes. Dan Rather, he stepped in it, sure (or his producers did and he failed to catch it). But this guy (who I don't know from Adam) finds himself unable to continue in his job for the simple crime of phrasing something imprecisely, and off-the-record at that. And Bob Novak still gets his paycheck after compromising a U.S. intelligence agent. Sorry, but that's some deep bullsh*t right there.

"But this guy (who I don't know from Adam) finds himself unable to continue in his job for the simple crime of phrasing something imprecisely, and off-the-record at that."

He wasn't 'a' journalist, he was the head of CNN International. If the CEO of my company said something that misguided in his area of expertise I would be unshocked to find him hounded out of the position. By the accounts of such well known conservative hacks as Rep. Barney Frank and Sen Dodd, he didn't clarify on the alleged backtrack.

I'm not thrilled by this outcome, because now I don't know if what he said was really that bad, and I'll probably never know. But that isn't my fault. And he hadn't gotten hounded yet, the story was just barely in the mainstream media.

Let's sum up:

Jordan, according to the strongest argument, claimed the United States military deliberately targeted journalists. If the links above are accurate, the United States military according to its own reports has in fact targeted broadcast facilities in at least 10 separate instances and killed journalists in the process. Jordan is out of a job.

Ann Coulter said she wants the US military to kill American journalists. Coulter still has a job and a huge audience.

Someone claiming the US targets journalists? Unforgivable, whatever the truth may be (and, as we have seen on this thread, there is no need to wait to find out what that truth might be). Someone wishing the US would target journalists? Unremarkable (or even amusing), for some.

Consider the test failed.

"Jordan's resignation is quite telling."

Yeah, because resignations are always voluntary. Why, about half of the President's cabinet felt a hankerin' for the private life right after the election, right?

Why, about half of the President's cabinet felt a hankerin' for the private life right after the election, right?

60% of the cabinet, actually. And if they had been able to find a candidate for Treasury who was both smart enough to be a viable candidate and moronic enough to take the job...

Felixrayman: Consider the test failed.

Indeed. I'll bear in mind this thread next time Sebastian claims he wants the MSM to raise its standards: it looks as if he means "no criticism of the US allowed, not even when backed by facts".

If he thought the videotape would have exonerated him, he would have called for its release a week ago.

I think you can retire the Karnak Award, because this is enough to award it to yourself for the rest of history. I can think offhand of about ten dozen scenarios under which Jordan could both think the videotape would "exonerate" him (I use the scare quotes because he isn't accused of a crime), yet still not call for its release. That you can imagine no such scenarios is quite stunning, actually.

He didn't. And during this period, he obfuscated and was not forthcoming. A simple apology at the outset would have defused this whole sorry episode.

Riiiiiiiiiight. I'll tell that to Trent Lott, James Ryan, and Dan Rather.

"I can think offhand of about ten dozen scenarios under which Jordan could both think the videotape would "exonerate" him (I use the scare quotes because he isn't accused of a crime), yet still not call for its release."

I'd love to hear just three.

Ok, people I've said upthread that the resignation does not PROVE that he made the statements. But can we admit that quick resignations before the story has even broken tend to lend some circumstantial evidence could fairly lead someone to believe that there was something to the story? People typically don't just resign from positions like that for absolutely no reason. Is this just a purely confirmation instance where you are going to say (without evidence I may add) that it is MORE likely that there was nothing bad on the tape (though we cannot see it) but that CNN directors freaked out and got rid of him because of a growing 'scandal' that hadn't even really hit the big media yet? Is that a fair use of the evidence available?

Does this blog do new posts these days? And was there an update on Edward?

rilkefan
seconded. I thought it was just me who was worried.

lj, we can't both turn into my mom.

rilkefan: your wish is our command, at least as far as new posts are concerned. I have no news about Edward, which I'm hoping is actually a good sign.

"your wish is our command"

Ha ha ha - mine is the power to bind and to loose, to break and to build, to ...

", at least as far as new posts are concerned."

Shoot.

I'd love to hear just three.

Three? I would settle for one scenario in which the tape makes things better for CNN and Jordan (make that one that doesn't involve pixies or unicorns). I'll give you one scenario, then maybe you can return the favor.

Lets start with a historical analog, to head off any doubts about how such a PR fiasco can snowball from a simple misunderstanding. Remember how Al Gore "invented the internet"? First-hand accounts exonerate Gore of making such a claim, with blame falling on a careless reporter. This fact fails to kill the story, because the media likes it and Gore's opponents are more concerned with hurting him than they are with the truth. Ditto "Love Canal", "Love Story", etc. Folks who are too lazy to sort out the sordid details simply assume the truth is somewhere between "he's a liar" and "he's being screwed by a careless or malicious media" and so Al Gore is pegged as a serial exaggerator for comments he never made. The truth is available for all to see, but to no effect.

Now, I'm no media analyst, but I see this as the most likely scenario for Jordan: Fox's pundits could play the damning sound bite over and over, sans context. CNN might play the whole clip a couple of times as a rebuttal, but since the truth turns out to be a non-story, folks who believe Jordan's account will change channels out of boredom while folks who believe his detractors will keep watching Fox, get fired up, and flood CNN's sponsors with truckloads of angry letters (with addresses handily provided by right-wing bloggers). The tape could bear out Jordan's account, and the Michelle Malkins of the right-wing media would only slightly shift angle of attack and still pound away at Jordan and CNN for being insufficiently nationalistic (remember how she implied John Kerry intentionally wounded himself to get a purple heart, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and dozens of chances to correct herself?). Viewers who can't sort it out will split the difference -- maybe he didn't say that but surely he said something wrong. Airtime devoted to this story is money out the window for CNN, who is losing sponsors and viewers to Fox, and Jordan is still taking a beating from the lynch mob. Fox now has some rope, and even if it isn't a noose when CNN first hands it over, these folks are really skilled with knots.

And this is assuming the content of the tape is crystal clear, not subject to interpretation.

Now, what is your scenario in which getting this magic tape released helps CNN (i.e. causes them to lose fewer viewers or sponsors than they will by cutting Jordan loose now) or helps Jordan (i.e. right-wingers admit they were wrong and stop trying to get him fired) in the big picture?

I find this resignation unbelievably disturbing. I don't expect blogs to do journalism, exactly, but I had really hoped they would be good for something other than blacklisting journalists. It's one thing when they actually seriously breach journalistic ethics & do something really incompetent, as with the CBS Killian memos thing and with Raines (whose resignation I think had way, way more to do with internal politics at the Times than anything written on any weblog). It's still shows a disturbing lack of priorities to think the Killian memos are the biggest scandal in the last four years, but whatever. It's another thing when they say something stupid in a confidential forum--which they then, if David Gergen is to be believed, immediately clarify. I realize this is partly Jordan's or CNN's decision, and I suppose I blame CNN more than the blog noise machine. Instapundit, Malkin, Powerline, Hewitt, LGF, Belmont Club, the overwhelming % of the highest-traffic right wing weblogs--their entire raison d'etre is to bully people who criticize President Bush too much. But CNN is supposed to have a different purpose. One day, one cable network and one national newspaper are going to realize that there is nothing at all they can do, short of becoming knockoffs of Fox, the NY Post or the Washington Times, to please these people, and that there's plenty of room for an audience among the rest of the country, and stopped pulling their punches, and start showing some independence and judgement again and refuse to be bullied any long. But God, that day is nowhere in sight, and we seem to be getting further away from it. The New Yorker magazine, the few unintimidated reporters and columnists at the dailies & weeklies, NPR, PBS and the left-of-center weblogs (who have their own problems about prioritization--Gannon never should have had a press credential, but I agree with Dan Froomkin that's it's gotten too personal) can't break every story in the country worth covering. And even if they do, most of the country will never hear it through all the noise made by the right-of-center weblogs, TV news networks, and talk radio.

Wait. The head of CNN INTERNATIONAL? That is up there with the BBC as the best TV news coverage in the English speaking world.

I'm now twice as disturbed.

Sebastian--this is WHY the left half of the blogosphere wants less and less to even think about, let alone read or link to, most of the right half. I don't want to have anything to do with people who think that a much-better-than-average journalist making a single stupid remark (which was apparently immediately corrected, and possibly immediately corrected by Jordan himself) is a scandal, and extraordinary rendition is not. (They don't just ignore the latter--they actively deny it, or complain that it's getting too much press coverage, or actively defend it.) I don't want to waste my time listening to people go on about how something said by an idiot like Ward Churchill represents "The Left", while they are utterly unconcerned with what John Yoo's--a man so much more powerful than Churchill it's absurd to compare them--remarks to the New Yorker say about "The Right".

after writing this, I saw that Kevin Drum had said essentially the same thing in a more contemplative and balanced way.

What's funny is that ol' Bird Dog managed to finally get his rocks off on the Ward Churchill Affair just about the time you wrote that, Katherine. It's almost getting to the point where it's predictable.

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