2/12/2005

Eason Jordan Resigns

Eason Jordan's slander against the U.S. military appears to have caught up with him.

The red-faced news chief of CNN, Eason Jordan, resigned yesterday after making outrageous claims that American troops deliberately tracked down and killed certain journalists in Iraq.

Jordan put his foot in his mouth two weeks ago during a panel discussion at a world economic summit in Davos, Switzerland.

He startled his listeners when he said he believed that several journalists who were killed by coalition forces in Iraq had been deliberately targeted.
This story's been percolating in the blogosphere ever since Mister Jordan initially made his remarks. It went under the radar of the mainstream media for quite some time until Howard Kurtz broke the silence in his Washington Post column. CNN tried to spin his statements, and the organization that hosted the event refused to release a videotape of his remarks.

Mister Jordan was probably just trying to score a few points with what he thought was an audience that would be receptive to such remarks. Indeed, some of the people who were at the event said that some members of the foreign press congratulated Mr. Jordan for his "bravery". In pandering to the audience in the room, Mister Jordan apparently never considered that someone might repeat his comments to a wider audience.

I think it's important to differentiate between what Mr. Jordan did and the dustup over Ward Churchill. It's appropriate that Mr. Jordan step down as head of CNN, because he presented his assertions as facts - he claimed to have specific knowledge of the U.S. military deliberately targeting journalists. A news organization's primary currency is credibility, and Mr. Jordan damaged his organizations credibility. Ward Churchill, on the other hand, was expressing an opinion. It was a repugnant opinion, to be sure, but I think that universities should be places where you hear opinions that don't necessarily dovetail with your own (it would be nice conservative opinions were given a warmer reception on campuses, but that is a rant for another time).

In short, Mr. Jordan lied, while Mr. Churchill merely said something that I disagree with. I don't hold either of them in high regard, but I will begrudgingly defend the latter while gleefully kicking the former down the stairs.

*boot*