One of the most common complaints I hear from our troops is that the media rarely report on the military’s good deeds.
A simple column I wrote last month lauding the humanitarian efforts of our men and women in the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, for example, resulted in an avalanche of mail from military members and their families expressing astonishment and relief over a bit of positive press.
“I cannot tell you how much that it meant to myself as well as several of my shipmates to be praised,” wrote Mariano Gonzales, a member of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 aboard the Lincoln. “Sometimes it seems that in today’s world, it is just not fashionable for someone in a position to influence public opinion to admit that the U.S. military’s role in the world involves more than just war and bloodshed.”
Well, with folks like powerful CNN executive Eason Jordan in charge — a man who clearly has issues with the U.S. military — it’s no wonder our troops so often feel smeared and slimed.
For the past week, Internet weblogs (“blogs”) around the world have been buzzing about outrageous comments regarding American soldiers reportedly made by Jordan, the head of CNN’s news division, at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland. (My reporting on the controversy, with extensive links to other bloggers, is at http://www.michellemalkin.com.) According to several eyewitnesses, Jordan asserted on Jan. 27 that American military personnel had deliberately targeted and killed journalists in Iraq. (Jordan has since disputed the characterization of his remarks.)
Why wasn’t this headline news?
Forum organizers have stonewalled citizen attempts to gain access to a videotape or transcript of the Davos meeting. But American businessman Rony Abovitz, who attended the panel Jordan participated in, reported immediately after the forum that “Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-U.S. crowd) and cause great strain on others.”
Another panel attendee, historian Justin Vaisse, wrote on his blog that Jordan “didn’t mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalists in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and were made deliberate targets by ‘both sides.'”
On Monday, journalist and presidential adviser David Gergen, who moderated the panel, told me that Jordan indeed asserted that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military “on both sides.” Gergen said Jordan tried to backtrack, but then went on to speculate about a few incidents involving journalists killed in the Middle East — a discussion Gergen cut off because “the military and the government weren’t there to defend themselves.”
Panel member Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., also told me that Jordan asserted that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military and that Jordan “left open the question” of whether there were individual cases in which American troops targeted journalists.
Finally, panel attendee Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., issued a statement in response to my inquiry that he “was outraged by the comments. Senator Dodd is tremendously proud of the sacrifice and service of our American military personnel.”
Jordan’s defenders say he was “misunderstood” and deserves the “benefit of the doubt.” But the man’s record is one of incurable anti-American pandering.
Jordan’s the man who admitted last spring that CNN withheld news out of Baghdad to maintain access to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was quoted last fall telling a Portuguese forum that he believed journalists had been arrested and tortured by American forces (a charge he maintains today). In the fall of 2002, he reportedly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel “on numerous occasions.” He was in the middle of the infamous Tailwind scandal, in which CNN was forced to retract a Peter Arnett report that the American military used sarin gas against its own troops in Laos. And in 1999, Jordan declared: “We are a global network, and we take global interest[s] first, not U.S. interests first.”
Now, who is more deserving of the benefit of the doubt? Eason Jordan or our men and women on the battlefield?
I support the troops.
(Malkin is a contributor to Fox News Channel, which competes with CNN.)