First let’s get into the Wayback Machine for a brief jaunt into the very recent past. February 8, 2005 to be precise, when Howie Kurtz ( Capo di Tutti Capi of Beltway hacks) penned for Pravda Eason Jordan, Quote, Unquote CNN News Chief Clarifies His Comments on Iraq
All the “burgeoning” was, needless to say, done on the right. The left simply held its collective breath in something close to amazement. And here’s why:
And thus in a life devoted to mediating spin, a tiny sliver of truth leaks out.
Naturally, damning up said leak becomes the next important bit of business.
Or as Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion said in The Wizard of Oz “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I DO!
Or more to the point “I could have taken more care with my words and maybe this could have been avoided.”
Gergen’s nothing if not fastidious about his hackery.
“He clarified this comment to say he did not believe they were targeted because they were journalists, although there are others in the media community who do hold that view (personally, I don’t),” Sambrook wrote. “They had been deliberately killed as individuals — perhaps because they were mistaken for insurgents, we don’t know. However the distinction he was seeking to make is that being shot by a sniper, or fired at directly is very different from being, for example, accidentally killed by an explosion.”
And this at the time was the heart of the matter. A precise transcript of what Jordan said could potentially “clairify” the matter (ie. get him of the hot seat) once and for all. But none was forthcoming, therefore leading to the inevitable —
“Why would Arab members of the audience come up and congratulate him for having the courage to speak the truth?” asked Jim Geraghty of National Review Online. “One of the most senior news execs in the world tells a crowd of dignitaries from around the globe that the U.S. military targeted a dozen journalists for death, and there is no [mainstream media] coverage of that?” wrote radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Edward Morrissey of the Captain’s Quarters blog urged his senators in Minnesota to hold public hearings “to establish once and for all whether the U.S. military has a policy of assassinating and torturing journalists, in Iraq or anywhere else, and correct the terrible damage Mr. Jordan may have inflicted on our image abroad.”
You see, it’s all a matter of images, folks. Not reality –which of course would only serve to back up what Jordan said before backtracking.
At the World Economic Forum, participants say, the only specific case cited by Jordan was the April 2003 incident in which U.S. forces fired a tank round at Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel, killing a cameraman employed by Reuters and another for the Spanish network Telecinco. Military spokesmen said the troops were responding to sniper fire from the hotel, which was known to house about 100 foreign journalists, and defended the shelling as “a proportionate and justifiably measured response.”
Surely a common . . . .uh. . . .mistake.
No guts, no glory, no nothing.
Jordan’s comments have sparked controversy before. He drew widespread criticism in 2003 for saying in a New York Times op-ed piece that CNN had withheld information about some of Saddam Hussein’s abuses out of concern for the network’s Iraqi employees in Baghdad. “Withholding information that would get innocent people killed was the right thing to do, not a journalistic sin,” Jordan told his staff in a memo.
See Chris? He’s kissed assed big-time before, why not forgive him now? It as just a slip-up, wasn’t it?
Or maybe Jordan suffers from a soupcon of moral conscience.
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.”
Jordan conceded that his remarks at the January 27 World Economic Forum were “not as clear as they should have been.” Several participants at the event said Jordan told the audience U.S. forces had deliberately targeted journalists — a charge he denied.
For speaking the truth is no longer allowed in the “mainstream.”
Precisely who made this decision and what governmental authority was involved in has not been made clear — a situation unlikely to change in the forseable future.
“While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the U.S. military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that U.S. military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been.”
and so forth.
CNN News Group President Jim Walton said that under Jordan’s leadership, the news group “literally circled the globe with bureaus, from Baghdad to Johannesburg to Havana to Sydney to Hong Kong.”
“The regard in which he is held by people from every walk of life in virtually every corner of the world has added incalculably to our ability to cover such historic events as the Gulf War and the war in Iraq, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the crackdown in Tiananmen Square and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,” Walton said in a written statement to colleagues.
The controversy over Jordan’s remarks gained steam last week, with bloggers posting their accounts of what transpired at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an event attended by political, economic, academic and media figures from around the world.
Well as we were all warned by Ari Fleischer some time ago, “Watch what you say.”
And thus deep-six the whole matter.
But Jordan strongly denied that he had made such a suggestion and said he did not believe journalists had been deliberately targeted.
In his letter to staff on Friday, he said he had “great admiration and respect for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces,” noting that he was embedded with them in Baghdad, Tikrit and Mosul. He said he has also spent time with U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the Persian Gulf.
“I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise,” Jordan said.
He added, “As for my colleagues at CNN, I am enormously proud to have worked with you, risking my life in the trenches with you, and making CNN great with you.
“For that experience, and for your friendship and support these many years, I thank you.”
“God Bless Captain Vere!”
And I’ll bet you thought this story was over, right? Well think again !
“The Americans and Italians knew about (her) car coming,” Pier Scolari said on leaving Rome’s Celio military hospital where Sgrena is to undergo surgery following her return home.
“They were 700m from the airport, which means that they had passed all checkpoints.”
The shooting late on Friday was overheard by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s office, which was on the phone with one of the secret service agents, said Scolari. “Then the US military silenced the cellphones,” he charged.
“Giuliana had information, and the US military did not want her to survive,” he added.
When Sgrena was kidnapped on February 4 she was writing an article on refugees from Fallujah seeking shelter at a Baghdad mosque after US forces bombed the former Sunni rebel stronghold.
Sgrena told RaiNews24 television Saturday a “hail of bullets” rained down on the car taking her to safety at Baghdad airport, along with three secret service agents, killing one of them.
“I was speaking to (agent) Nicola Calipari (…) when he leant on me, probably to protect me, and then collapsed and I realised he was dead,” said Sgrena, who was being questioned on Saturday by two Italian magistrates.
“They continued shooting and the driver couldn’t even explain that we were Italians. It was really horrible,” she added.
Sgrena, who was taken to hospital with serious wounds to her left shoulder and lung after arriving back in Rome on Saturday before noon, said she was “exhausted because of what happened above all in the last 24 hours”.
“After all the risks I have been running I can say that I’m fine,” she said.
“I thought that after I was handed over to the Italians danger was over, but then this shooting broke out and we were hit by a hail of bullets.”
The chief editor of Sgrena’s left-wing newspaper Il Manifesto Gabriele Polo meanwhile branded Calipari’s death a “murder”.
“He was hit in the head,” he said.
Calipari will be given a state funeral on Monday.
Hey — does this mean that Eason Jordan can get his job back?