February 11, 2005

Where's Eason?

Posted by Jeremy Brown

We're all news junkies here, right? And, while you might not be a big fan of CNN as a news source, you do browse the CNN news site fairly frequently. Fair to say? So if CNN's exectuive vice president were to resign after causing a scandal (that'll teach him to ruffle the feathers of conservative bloggers like Barney Frank) then you wouldn't have too much difficulty spotting the headline about said resignation on the aforementioned CNN homepage. True?

Well, you tell me. I have posted a facsimilie of CNN's homepage as of about ten o'clock on Friday February 11th. I promise you the story link is there. Advice: do what you need to do first -- bathroom, sandwich, smoke a cigarette -- then settle down in a comfy chair. OK? Now click here.

Posted by Jeremy Brown at February 11, 2005 07:57 PM
Comments

Ya know, once upon a time, the political/media wisdom was: bury bad news on a Friday evening when no one will notice, and it will be old news by the Sunday talk shows. Rush Limbaugh pointed out that trick a decade ago, and he probably wasn't the first.

But that was before the 24-hour news cycle, and before the Rush-inspired growth in talk radio, and before the blogosphere. Do they really think that trick will still work?

Oh, to answer your question: no, it's not fair to say that I visit CNN.com frequently. We at blogoram.com stopped reading CNN.com as a matter of principle after Mr. Jordan admitted that he may have contributed to specific deaths in Iraq in order to ensure that CNN would have access to let them NOT report deaths in Iraq. But given this announcement, we may lift that embargo. We still won't believe what they say without a lot of filtering; but at least they're no longer employing a possible accomplice to murder.

Posted by: UML Guy at February 11, 2005 08:12 PM

I give up. Where's the link?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 11, 2005 08:14 PM

Nevermind, I found it. Sheesh. What a lame place to put it. Kinda funny, though, if you think about it...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 11, 2005 08:15 PM

It really is funny. So much so that you'd swear it was a joke. I don't think CNN finds this especially funny, though. Oh, but I bet more than a few of the bottom rung reporters are enjoying a few giggles with each other over drinks.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 11, 2005 08:25 PM

The article is in the ... Entertainment section...

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/TV/02/11/easonjordan.cnn/index.html

Anyways, here is an excerpt:

> 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."

Bureau in Baghdad. Hmmm. This guy has a very thick skin! Just search for his name and the string "the news we kept to ourselves"... And he has the nerve to talk about integrity!

Vilmos

Posted by: Vilmos Soti at February 11, 2005 08:27 PM

Showbiz/TV? Wow, talk about burying a story. I accurately predicted that the blogging community and its allies in the new media would ultimately win this fight. The old media dominate in the short run, but the new media will win in the long run---if they have the facts on their side.

Posted by: David Thomson at February 11, 2005 09:33 PM

That's better than "Where's Waldo".

Now for the hard-edged blog proprieter gloat comment:

Nobody brought Jordan Eason down except himself -

And the self-regulating market provided with enough information to function correctly, of course. I agree with Instapundit on this; the board got a look at a solid transcript or even the video and instantly realized that any more damage control would only make the release of the source material more damaging to them than it already was.

Maybe Eason and Arnett can get a gig doing PR for Kim Jong Il. I understand he's in the market in a big way.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 11, 2005 09:51 PM

They put it in the Entertainment Section?

Under Fiction Dept maybe?

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at February 11, 2005 10:12 PM

It kind of makes sense. Jordan probably thought he was entertaining European leaders with stories of the US murdering journalists.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at February 11, 2005 11:21 PM

I'd love to have the story of what happened behind the scenes to caused the Davos folks to stonewall on the video.

Unfortunately, now that the head has rolled, we'll probably never know what happened behind the scenes.

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 11, 2005 11:33 PM

Why is it that only the blogosphere seems to care about Eason and Gannon- and each 'side' only about one?
It's a measure of how out of touch poliblogs are w the real world, since both tales rate little more than a page 17 story in the papers, and barely any mention in the MSM.
We have a war, Soc Sec hijinks, runaway deficits that will impoverish our grandchildren and a cowardly news producer who won't stand behind his words and a sicko pervert Right Wing shill are BIG stories? Mama Mia! DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at February 12, 2005 06:01 AM

"sicko pervert Right Wing shill"

Uhhh... Okay.

I assume you're talking about Gannon? I've seen that story covered on a lot of rightwing blogs actually.

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 12, 2005 07:30 AM

Dan – CNN buried their shame in the entertainment section. It’s - you know, funny, in an arrogant-CNN-being-lame-again sort of way.

Posted by: mary at February 12, 2005 08:41 AM

Did anyone really expect that CNN would report this as 'news'?
Another 'objective'success story brought to us by my least favourite members of society.Having gotten rid of one of the 'syptoms'of the problem,the real effort should be on using Jordon's disgrace to further harm his employer(and the rest of the band of journalist brothers).
We need to see the TAPE from Davos.

Posted by: dougf at February 12, 2005 09:04 AM

The blogosphere should write about the war more? Oh, I suppose Dan is saying we should write about the evil of the war more. And we shouldn't worry ourselves over powerful people in the news buisness fabricating stories. I guess that really does make sense. The moral of the story: write about the war as an evil imperial, genocidal neocon enterprise, and don't tolerate anyone criticizing you for inventing your 'facts.'

Sorry, not interested.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 12, 2005 09:10 AM

LOL. Dan is on a mission :

http://www.oliverwillis.com/comment/reply/1890/16645

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 12, 2005 09:16 AM

Sure the news is sometimes interesting, it's sometimes informative, but ultimately, it's about entertaining the masses of unthinking, couch potatos that have overrun the American citizenry.

It is not necessary for television news to exist. In fact, television news, more easily than print, seems able to be twisted and modified into partisan BS. Relying on any TV news source is questionable at best, in my opinion.

I would say that the entertainment section is entirely appropriate, because that is all CNN, FOX, MSNBC etc etc etc are, they're just entertainment. Unfortunately, most people seem to look at Network News as my uncle looks at the WWF. Sure, its all real and not about the ratings, keep telling yourself that. Maybe one day, you can watch Hannity take a barbwired bat to Combs.

Don't forget that today news was brought to you by , Velveeta Cheese, Baco-Bits, Armor Treat, Oleo and Soy Milk.

Our motto is: "Just like the real thing, without any actual taste, content or value."

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord
:)

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at February 12, 2005 09:40 AM

It is not necessary for television news to exist. In fact, television news, more easily than print, seems able to be twisted and modified into partisan BS. Relying on any TV news source is questionable at best, in my opinion.---Tosk

So which sources of 'news'are then useful?The 'news'as presented on TV is not magically mutated by the very fact that it is presented on TV.It is distorted and degraded by the people who do the the presnting.
TV news is of course less 'cerebral'than print news,simply because it employs image rather than speech in order to communicate.But the point of this specific story has virtually nothing to do with visual vs.written communication.It has to do with a member of the 'information'media,for apparently no other reasons than because he could and it reflected his personal biases, making unsubstantiated and incredibly damaging statements about the US military.We expect tendentious propaganda like this from the Arab satellite channels and their mouthpieces;we should not have to tolerate a member of the MSM doing this anywhere,at any time,in front of any audience.
The fact that CNN refuses, or more likely is unable, to see the BIG picture here is the story,not whether you might consider TV news to be 'entertainment'.I personally consider the NYT's to be high-grade fish wrap,but that is largely irrelevant to the question of whether they are also essentially a propaganda organ rather than an information distributor.

Posted by: dougf at February 12, 2005 10:24 AM

Cable eNtertainment Network - I didn't know they changed their name.

Posted by: Brian at February 12, 2005 11:43 AM

Here is an interesting point. I pasted the same opinion as I did into this blog into about a dozen other blogs- liberal and conservative- pro and anti war, and the results were predictable.
The left railed about Gannon's subversion of the media, while the Right railed against Eason's bias perverting the media.
Yet, Presidential ringers have been around since the dawn of the Republic. It's just easier to prove now, and gutless folk who shoot their mouths off, then fold their cards have been around longer. This is old news in new wrapping, as well as a great bit of sleight of hand distraction from the war, Soc Sec, and the deficit.
That bloggers, rt and left, are so easily manipulated, is the real story, yet just as old. DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at February 12, 2005 02:45 PM

Gannon was a grunt for puny Talon News. Jordan was responsible for directing CNN's global news operation.

Dan, you, Kos, and everyone else claiming equivalence of impact make yourselves look stupid.

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 12, 2005 03:09 PM

I agree with Mark. With Eason Jordan and Dan Rather it was the little guys taking on the big guys. With Gannon, it's the big guys taking on the little guy. How nice. I have a feeling the Gannon thing is going to blow up in the left's face.

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 12, 2005 03:30 PM

Why is it that only the blogosphere seems to care about Eason and Gannon- and each 'side' only about one?

Dan,

maybe it's because Ganon is a nobody and won't be missed? He's small fry. He's nobody. Watching the Loonbats work on Gannon like watching an old episode of Wild Kingdom.

They're jumping all over this guy that practically no one has ever heard of -- and in fact, they go out of their way to prove how insignificant he is -- and they somehow think that this is in any way relevant to world affairs, or that anyone on Earth cares whatsoever. They're just like a pack of jackals who attack the weakest member of the herd. They can't get the big buck, so they take down a limping fawn with a birth defect. A spectacular triumph!

Posted by: Carlos at February 12, 2005 03:54 PM

Dan Schneider says, "This is old news in new wrapping, as well as a great bit of sleight of hand distraction from the war, Soc Sec, and the deficit. That bloggers, rt and left, are so easily manipulated, is the real story, yet just as old."

Dan, in case you haven't noticed, the blogs take on just about any story, big or small. We're not "distracted" by this Eason Jordan story. We're simply paying attention to it.

I could just as easily say that you're "distracted" by the same story with your little experiment of posting the same comment to numerous blogs.

Posted by: likwidshoe at February 12, 2005 07:36 PM

With Gannon, it's the big guys taking on the little guy. How nice.

Gannon's size isn't the point. The fact that he is a creation of the White House exclusively for the purpose of manipulating the news cycle is.

I've long said that the major press organizations should simply stop sending reporters to White House briefings. Nothing useful is ever revealed there, and the White House has made it abundantly clear that they view the briefings as an opportunity to mislead the press, not as an opportunity to inform. At that point, why give them a podium?

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 12, 2005 09:50 PM

Ummm, yeah. If I were Karl Rove, Talon News is exactly the organization I'd look to if I wanted to manipulate the news cycle. Uh huh.

But Kimmitt, point me to the evidencs of Gannon being a pawn of the Whitehouse, instead of just some guy with sexual proclivities that in other circumstances you would most certainly defend. I REALLY want to know.

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 12, 2005 10:11 PM

FYI, I've never even heard of Talon News, let alone this Gannon character.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 12, 2005 10:20 PM

MJT:

"FYI, I've never even heard of Talon News, let alone this Gannon character."

That's because you're right wing. Or left wing. Or something.

I'm confused. Dan, is Michael one of those easily manipulated right-wing folks, or one of those easily manipulated left-wing folks?

I'm also confused about something else, Dan:

"Yet, Presidential ringers have been around since the dawn of the Republic. It's just easier to prove now, and gutless folk who shoot their mouths off, then fold their cards have been around longer. This is old news in new wrapping, as well as a great bit of sleight of hand distraction from the war, Soc Sec, and the deficit.
That bloggers, rt and left, are so easily manipulated, is the real story, yet just as old."

So ringers and loud mouths are old news, and thus not the real story. But manipulated bloggers are just as old, and yet they're the story?

Dan's just too deep for me. But maybe if I read his comments repeated on yet one more blog, he'll finally make sense to me.

Posted by: UML Guy at February 12, 2005 11:25 PM

But Kimmitt, point me to the evidencs of Gannon being a pawn of the Whitehouse, instead of just some guy with sexual proclivities that in other circumstances you would most certainly defend.

Gannon's sexuality is completely irrelevant to me; as matter of fact, the distraction it causes is enormously frustrating.

Look, if you don't know by now that the problem is that Gannon is an uncredentialed journalist who was granted credentialed access -- and access to CIA docs that no other journalist got -- then you weren't following the story at all, so why would anything I say make any difference? If you cared, you'd go to Americablog, which has been more or less obsessive on the subject. The NYT has finally picked it up.

FYI, I've never even heard of Talon News, let alone this Gannon character.

Not terribly surprising; it hasn't hit the mainstream media channels very hard yet. I hope it will soon.

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 13, 2005 01:40 AM

“FYI, I've never even heard of Talon News, let alone this Gannon character.

Not terribly surprising; it hasn't hit the mainstream media channels very hard yet. I hope it will soon.”

I live in Houston, Texas---and I’ve never heard of Talon News! This “scandal” is so silly. It shows just how desperate the radical Left is to find some sort of dirt on the Bush administration. Come on, can’t someone do better than that? I demand the right to at least be entertained.

President Bush’s poll numbers are high. The stock market is going up. Iraq is already a success story. It must be tough being a Democrat. When will Joseph Lieberman become a Republican? I expect this to occur before the 2006 elections.

Posted by: David Thomson at February 13, 2005 06:30 AM

The fact that blogs take on any story, regardless of import or credence is precisely the point. There is no discretion practiced, in posts, much less comments, and thus the descents into rabbit holes of irrelevance.
Go ahead, ask around at the mall, or the barbershop- that meeting place of ideas from yore, and quizzicality will greet these names.
It is amusing, however, to see the Pavlovian nature of the form, and how quickly its reached the Lowest Common Denominator it so rails against the MSM.
National Enquirer, anyone? DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at February 13, 2005 07:10 AM

This "scandal" pretty much confirms the MSM is in bed with the Left. Who went after Gannon? The Boston Globe and Lefty blogs. And why not, they have the same interests at heart.

Gannon's crime? He wasn't a Liberal. And he didn't ask questions that Liberals on the MSM ask. In other words, he was promoting a conservative agenda, instead of a Liberal MSM agenda. Let's be honest, Press corps questions are usually just statements disguised as a question. They are Lib MSM journalists who went into the business to "try to make a difference". And when a Lib wants to make a difference, watch out! So when Gannon tried to make a difference of his own, he outed himself as a renegade. Did you think it's his "qualifications" that have them up in arms? So the Boston Globe and Lefty blogs went after him and his sexuality, ala Lynn Cheney. I'm sure it's all supposed to reflect so badly on Bush. I still don't know why.

Libs have such small fish to fry these days.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 07:19 AM

There it is: "CNN Executive Resigns Over Remarks".
In the Entertainment section, where it belongs.

What was so difficult about that?

Posted by: Fcb at February 13, 2005 07:50 AM

Kimmit, I've read most of the allegations and hype on the leftie blogs. Once you cut through all the hyperbole and innuendo, you find out that Gannon worked for Talon News who is owned by a rightwing "activist". Oh, and maybe he's gay.

Let's assume the "worst" and say that the evil Bushies gave Gannon a press pass because of his openly PRO-Bush agenda. So what. It's not like they weren't giving out press passes to openly ANTI-Bush reporters as well. If Gannon goes because he's pro-Bush, shouldn't Helen Thomas go because she's anti-Bush?

This whole thing is just riduclous. One conservative reporter in a sea of liberal reporters, and guess who the sharks go after. If you want to go after someone, go after someone famous like Bill O Reilley. There's a guy even I would like to see taken down a notch.

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 13, 2005 08:10 AM

Back to the topic....

Eason refused to back up his purported comments, and resigned. Is there any reason to think he was wrong?

Can you come up with any reason to suppose the US military would not be targeting journalists? Why wouldn't they? Wouldn't it be incompetent of them not to?

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 09:18 AM

Eason refused to back up his purported comments, and resigned. Is there any reason to think he was wrong?

J Thomas,

it sounds to me like the answer to the question you posed in your second sentence can be found in the first.

Where's the evidence? Back it up. Or resign.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 09:25 AM

Can you come up with any reason to suppose the US military would not be targeting journalists? Why wouldn't they? Wouldn't it be incompetent of them not to?

This is another new low for the lunatic fringe.Now we are expected to agree that cold-blooded murder is SOP for the evil empire,and morover are advised that we must come up with reasons why that would not be true.
Please for everyone's sake, --- Get Help !!

Posted by: dougf at February 13, 2005 09:29 AM

President Bush’s poll numbers are high.

C'mon, let's try to get away from the provably false statements, shall we?

If Gannon goes because he's pro-Bush, shouldn't Helen Thomas go because she's anti-Bush?

Shouldn't the reporter's professional background -- and not his or her political views -- be the determining factor in granting press passes? I understand that the very concept of nonpartisan competence is foreign to the Right these days, but there are other qualifications for being a journalist than merely "writes what the Administration wants written," or "doesn't write what the Administration wants written."

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 13, 2005 09:57 AM

Shouldn't the reporter's professional background -- and not his or her political views -- be the determining factor in granting press passes?

Well if this is just about Gannon's "qualifications", then why didn't you just say so?

bwahahaha! His "qualifications"! Good one Kimmit.

If "qualifications" made a good reporter then Dan Rather, Eason Jordan and Jason Blair would still have their jobs.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 10:30 AM

J Thomas: Can you come up with any reason to suppose the US military would not be targeting journalists?

Can you come up with any reason to suppose that Howard Dean isn't an axe murderer?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 13, 2005 10:51 AM

Carlos, I'm not a journalist and I have no obligation to report true news and only true news. I'm a blogger and an op-edder it's perfectly respectable for me to come up with reasonable hypotheses that I can't yet prove.

If the US military was targeting journalists, and if they were reasonably competent at it, the surviving journalists wouldn't have proof. The ones who could give the proof would be dead.

However, I think you guys are doing a knee-jerk reaction and you haven't thought it out. The US military wouldn't be targeting american journalists. American journalists know that the insurgents are targeting them. So they essentially never go out and get significant news. They're irrelevant.

The journalists who're going out and getting news are iraqi journalists, and occasionally other arab journalists.

So OK, here's some arab who's looking over a US military operation, and he has a camera, and he's communicating with various people. Is he a journalist or is he a spy? The only difference is that spies give their info to the enemy, while journalists give it to the world. And the US military has had plenty of examples to make them think that foreign journalists and the world they report to are the enemy.

So are they going to detain the arab journalist/spy and decide which he is? Or are they going to just kill him?

Well, we have evidence that sometimes they detain arab journalists, and some of those have actually been released afterward. But really, what's the difference between an arab spy with a press pass versus a journalist?

See, the only thing that makes this an argument at all is that to journalists, arab journalists look like journalists. But to the US military and the US public, arab journalists look like arabs.

It's just in the way it got stated. If somebody told you that the US military targets arabs who observe US bases and operations, who take photos and take notes and interview iraqi civilians and insurgents, wouldn't you agree that it's right and proper? Would you ask for proof that it happens?

What makes it controversial is the implication that the US military might be targeting american and european journalists.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 10:51 AM

"Shouldn't the reporter's professional background -- and not his or her political views -- be the determining factor in granting press passes?"

If journalists were actually able to divorce themselves from their political views, then yes. Until that day comes, not as much.

There has to be someone in that room asking the questions conservatives want asked. Besides, standing up and asking a question does not take a college degree. So yeah, I imagine that is what the Whitehouse was shooting for - balance. I'm fine with that.

Ironically, you can think of Gannon as an example of affirmative action by the Whitehouse.

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 13, 2005 11:02 AM

Jeremy, great catch!

Posted by: Asher Abrams - Dreams Into Lightning at February 13, 2005 11:21 AM

Dougf, if the topic of conversation was about who's delusional, I doubt you'd come off very well. Of course the US military does rational target assessment. Why wouldn't they? It's only that you chose to label it with loaded words.

First, remember that when there's a firefight they're going to take out anybody who looks like a spotter for the enemy. Our journalists found out about that during the fall of Baghdad if they hadn't known before. Journalists should know better than to point binoculars at far-off forces that might be american, or TV cameras that bear a distant resemblance to rocket launchers.

Second, remember the recent business about assassination squads? Did you think that was new, apart from publicly proclaiming it? Of course the US military does assassinations. But only of people that somebody somewhere along the chain of command thinks are obstacles to the mission. They don't kill just anybody at random, they kill people who look like they're in the way.

I don't see why you choose to hype the emotion and pretend it isn't happening. Are you concerned it would look bad to foreigners? Well yes, it does, but pretending we don't know about it isn't going to help.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 11:32 AM

First, remember that when there's a firefight they're going to take out anybody who looks like a spotter for the enemy.

J Thomas,

then they are targeting enemy spotters, not journalists.

Eason said, and you seemed to agree, that the U.S. military was targeting journalists. And please spare me the wordplay that's sure to follow. I think we all know what the word "targeting" means.

Quit before you make more of a fool out of yourself.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 11:58 AM

Hey Kimmitt, please read this:

Now Why Did They Listen To The Daily Kos?

A pretty good shelacking of the source of most of the Gannon Tempest in a Teacup. Seems like the NYTimes, among others is relying on the Kos site for lot's o' their reportage, and Kos' site has been displaying it's usual respect for the Truth.

Ah, but the NYTimes has a great professional reputation, doesn't it?

I understand that the very concept of nonpartisan competence is foreign to the Right these days...

It's just that we see so little of it from the major outlets, we've kind of forgotten what it looks like...

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 13, 2005 12:31 PM

Carlos, give J Thomas some more time. He's actually doing a great job of arguing himself out of his own positions.

He's already gone from targeting "journalists" to targeting "Arab journalists". Now he's down to targeting "anybody who looks like a spotter for the enemy".

He is one post away from getting it right I think.

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 13, 2005 12:38 PM

LOL!

that was funny.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 12:41 PM

"Carlos, give J Thomas some more time. He's actually doing a great job of arguing himself out of his own positions.
...
He is one post away from getting it right I think."
-------- Mr.P

My new mantra---------- Give me a break for crying out loud !! I'm just one post away from getting it right.

LOL.

Posted by: dougf at February 13, 2005 12:44 PM

J Thomas:

If the US military was targeting journalists, and if they were reasonably competent at it, the surviving journalists wouldn't have proof. The ones who could give the proof would be dead.

Laughed out loud.

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 13, 2005 12:52 PM

Mark,

LOL! the second reading was so much funnier.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 12:58 PM

J Thomas: If somebody told you that the US military targets arabs who observe US bases and operations, who take photos and take notes and interview iraqi civilians and insurgents, wouldn't you agree that it's right and proper?

No.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 13, 2005 01:03 PM

The left railed about Gannon's subversion of the media, while the Right railed against Eason's bias perverting the media.

Dan, if you wrote that with a straight face, and don't understand the difference, you might as well give up.

And thus, the left proves yet again that they really don't get it.

Posted by: TomB at February 13, 2005 04:31 PM

Carlos, Dougf was arguing that the US military does not do cold-blooded killing. Well, of course they do. They kill the enemy and people who appear to be aiding the enemy.

Now take that one step farther -- if they find an unembedded journalist, what's the chance he's on the US military side versus the other side? What's the chance he'll send in stories that support the US military versus stories that are critical of the US military? If he was on our side he'd be embedded.

Isn't it plausible that to US soldiers, unembedded journalists are aiding the enemy? Particularly if they're arab journalists?

And if they're aiding the enemy, and you can shoot them and nobody finds out just what happened, why not do it?

I have to respect Michael Totten's view that it isn't right, but we're at war and we do lots of things that purists wouldn't think is right when we're fighting a war.

But we mostly aren't targeting american or european journalists. They mostly don't go anywhere important or see anything important, and they can be ignored.

So, 49 media professionals known killed in iraq in 2004. Not counting iraqi stringers.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/01/26/news/press.html
Three Reuters journalists have been killed since the start of the war. One died after a U.S. tank shell struck the press headquarters at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, and the other two were shot by American soldiers while filming. "We had very tough safety measures in place when all these people were killed," Moody said. "Unfortunately in modern warfare, because of the shifting lines, I don't think it's possible to be totally safe."

"Why are more journalists dying?" said the institute's director, Rodney Pinder, a former foreign correspondent and news executive for Reuters. "Increasingly, there's been a general loss of neutrality for journalists in conflict. The old days when a reporter could float above the conflict are gone. Journalists are increasingly seen as part of one side or the other. Also, the immediacy of 24-hour satellite news endangers journalists in that the reports they file come back instantly to the people they're reporting about."

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 05:35 PM

“And thus, the left proves yet again that they really don't get it.”

The Left is a joke. Nobody halfway rational takes them seriously anymore. I will make another prediction: Howard Dean’s chairmanship will persuade many American Jews to leave the Democratic party. The Deaniacs are hostile toward Israel. We still have another ten months before this year ends. It should be most interesting.

Posted by: David Thomson at February 13, 2005 05:42 PM

"Increasingly, there's been a general loss of neutrality for journalists in conflict. The old days when a reporter could float above the conflict are gone. Journalists are increasingly seen as part of one side or the other.

J Thomas,

I hate to be this blunt, but that's bullshit. The primary reason why combat journalism is getting more dangerous is because of the nature of the enemy we are currently fighting. He isn't in uniform, he's an irregular and he tries to blend in with non-combatants. He endangers everybody around him, purposely, including journalists. Thus, a journalist holding a camera at a distance isn't distinguishable from an insurgent holding a rocket launcher. When said journalist enters the combat zone, he assumes the risk. That is the future of combat journalism. Therefore, if he wants to minimize the risk, he had better be embedded with our troops, or go home, or stop whining and making outlandish accusations.

That's the harsh reality. They may be dying, but not because they are journalists. It's madness to accuse our GIs of intentionally targeting them. Have you Lefties no shame at all? Are there any limits to what you will say? Your conspiracy theories are boundless and limitless. It's self-parody. It is purely an attempt to slander our GIs and our country, just to get at Bush. Your Bushitler hatred has turned you into monsters. And not surprisingly, it comes exclusively from the Left. Surprise. I hope you pay a heavy price for slandering the very troops that have guaranteed the freedom you now use to slander them.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 06:09 PM

If the US military was targeting journalists, and if they were reasonably competent at it, the surviving journalists wouldn't have proof. The ones
who could give the proof would be dead.

Laughed out loud.

I agree that biased sampling is funny, but this example is such a simple obvious mundane one, I'm surprised it struck you that hard.

Offtopic, I have a lot of examples. EG, a few hundred years ago there was a swedish farmer who wanted to improve his wheat crops. So he carefully selected the largest wheat kernels to plant. In only 7 years he had a wheatfield where each plant had four giant kernels per head.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 07:39 PM

Carlos, I understand you want to believe what you want to believe, with no evidence whatsoever.

I won't argue with you.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 07:41 PM

Carlos, I understand you want to believe what you want to believe, with no evidence whatsoever.

J Thomas,

feel free to do the same. But please come back when you can offer even a shred of evidence of your own. And then we can keep arguing. So far you've offered nothing but sound and fury.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 07:56 PM

Well, what sort of evidence would you accept? I have some things through Seymour Hersh. Would you reject those because of the source?

I have some things from arab journalists who were arrested and interrogated despite their press passes etc, but they weren't killed.

Suppose for a moment that it wasn't just that US soldiers kill people who seemed too inquisitive, which most of us agree would be an acceptable sort of killing. Suppose that the US military was sending out hit teams specifically to target particular journalists. One way to get evidence about that would come if a member of such a hit team decided to publicly confess. (None has, yet. It could be interpreted as treason to do so.) A second way would come if the military kept detailed records about it (as highly classified as the people involved could arrange), and those records got out. (None has, yet.) Is there some way the journalists themselves might get evidence? Perhaps if they fought back and drove off the hit team which left behind a wounded american assassin? Hmm. Journalists beating special forces. Not likely.

If it's really happening it seems implausible that I'd get evidence this year, but each succeeding year would make it somewhat more likely.

On the other hand, if it really isn't happening there's no obvious way to prove it isn't. How do you prove a negative? One approach might be to count the number of journalists in iraq and the number of dead journalists, and compare. If 0.1% of random iraqi civilians got killed by US troops and 0.1% of journalists got killed by US troops, that would seem to imply that mostly journslists weren't getting targetted. At least it would be plausible. Though you might split the journalists up into pro-US and anti-US journalists and see whether a surplus of anti-US journalists were killed. That's actually an easier test, do that one first since the stats for deaths of random iraqi civilians is very shaky.

http://foi.missouri.edu/jouratrisk/wounded.html

Here's a normal report. The american-employed journalists were filming near a US base. The americans said they had signs up to tell people not to film. The survivor said the americans fired on them without warning, but the americans said they fired at least 3 warning shots which the journalists ignored. "He acknowledged these were only preliminary reports of the incident, which he said often turn out to be incorrect."

"You are somehow suggesting that coalition forces intentionally went out of their way to kill them. That hasn't been proven," Kimmitt replied to another question.

This looks like a normal SNAFU, we kill innocent people every day this way completely independent of whether they're journalists.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 10:14 PM

On the other hand, if it really isn't happening there's no obvious way to prove it isn't. How do you prove a negative?

You can't. But more importantly, why do you feel such an urge to? Clearly, your attachment to slandering the troops is an emotional one. I guess it a Leftist thing.

Posted by: Carlos at February 13, 2005 10:36 PM

Carlos, your idea that it's slander is revealing too.

Don't we have a consensus that it's OK to do whatever furthers the mission? If we can create a democratic iraq faster with death squads, we will. In fact we'll try it and hope to figure out later whether it's making the victory come faster. This isn't controversial.

And the death squads are supposed to kill the people who're obstacles to the mission. If killing al Sadr or Sistani makes the difference between a peaceful democratic iraq and a quagmire, surely it's the right thing to do.

Why is it slander to say we'd kill not only politicians who're in the way but journalists who're in the way? Where is the slander here? If they're working for the insurgents, why not kill them?

I guess the PC stuff has sunk really deep. We're not supposed to admit we torture insurgents to death when nobody doubts that insurgents torture their prisoners to death. We're not supposed to admit we're using cluster bombs and napalm in iraqi cities, when everybody knows we're using 2000 pound bombs. Is it OK yet to admit we're doing commando raids in iran and syria, which is technically an act of war? Why are we being so hypocritical? What good does it do anybody?

Posted by: J Thomas at February 13, 2005 11:15 PM

J Thomas,

"Don't we have a consensus that it's OK to do whatever furthers the mission?"

No, we don't. The consensus is, in fact, quite the opposite: that there are limits even in war. Some people may disagree, but the consensus is clearly on the side of limits.

Now what those limits are, and what constitutes a violation of those limits... Those are HUGE areas of contention. But except for a very small minority of folks, everyone but the Jihadis agrees that there are limits.

"If we can create a democratic iraq faster with death squads, we will."

The "death squads" label gets thrown around pretty casually. By "death squads", do you mean special forces troops who target terrorist command and infrastructure? Or do you mean the common anti-military usage of the term: a group of unaccountable killers who're no better (and often worse) than the terrorists themselves? The former can be very effective. The latter will backfire on us, more likely than not. And as far as my (limited) reading tells me, we're probably using the former, and won't be using the latter.

"And the death squads are supposed to kill the people who're obstacles to the mission."

Kill, capture, isolate... They have lots of creative ways to deprive terrorists of power.

"If killing al Sadr or Sistani makes the difference between a peaceful democratic iraq and a quagmire, surely it's the right thing to do."

Yes. But...

"Why is it slander to say we'd kill not only politicians who're in the way but journalists who're in the way?"

al Sadr and Sistani are terrorists, not politicians. That makes them legitimate targets. Politicians aren't legitimate targets. Neither are honest journalists. Should any journalists be PROVEN to be spies for the terrorists, then they'll become legitimate targets.

"Where is the slander here? If they're working for the insurgents, why not kill them?"

We don't target noncombatants (assuming you consider spies and forward observers and such to be combatants, which I do). Period. And saying that we do is, yes, slander.

"I guess the PC stuff has sunk really deep."

Nothing PC about it. Political Correctness was a movement that came out of liberal academia in the last couple of decades. PC said that it doesn't matter if a statement is factually true or protected speech; if the statement is motivated by or supports the wrong politics (i.e., conservative politics), then the statement is Incorrect, regardless of its factual nature or protected status. And Incorrect statements are to be suppressed.

Here, we're not saying that certain statements should be suppressed. We're saying that certain behaviors do not represent our principles, but rather are more consistent with the ways of our enemies. Despite what they may say in bad movies, the way to defeat our enemies is NOT to become just like them.

"We're not supposed to admit we torture insurgents to death when nobody doubts that insurgents torture their prisoners to death."

Admit, hell! We're not supposed to torture terrorists ("insurgents" is such a deceptive term), period. There are cases where some will argue this is a fuzzy grey line; and others argue that we have already crossed it. But the line is still there, and I'm not yet persuaded by those who say we've crossed it. (Abu Ghraib didn't cross it. Extraordinary rendition may cross it, and that concerns me a lot. But I can't find a clear smoking gun there yet. Still reading.)

"We're not supposed to admit we're using cluster bombs and napalm in iraqi cities, when everybody knows we're using 2000 pound bombs. Is it OK yet to admit we're doing commando raids in iran and syria, which is technically an act of war? Why are we being so hypocritical? What good does it do anybody?"

Hello, Moby! Not that your real views weren't obvious before, but your colors are really starting to show. You're pretending to support the targeting of journalists, hoping to get us to support you, so that then you can point to us as proof of your views that everyone here supports targeting journalists. Nice try, but we're not falling for it.

And you're trying to do so by assuming facts not in evidence. Links, please, or we'll have to believe you can't back up your inflammatory accusations.

Posted by: UML Guy at February 14, 2005 02:13 AM

UML guy, it appears you're making a subtle philosophical distinction. You say there are limits but there's no agreement about where the limits are. Well, OK.

The PC thing started in the '60's as I understand it. I mostly agree with you about what it meant. Statements that had the wrong implications were not supposed to be spoken independent of their truth. The actual term started out with some communist group, where from the outside it looked silly to watch those people struggle to find "correct" ways to say things. Then it got used to label a much bigger consensus where people went around trying to keep anybody from saying things that offended their sensibilities. It was considered wrong for example for racists to admit they were racists, they were supposed to pretend they were good liberals. For possibly several years the various unPC people suffered in amazed silence, unable to understand how their cherished beliefs had somehow become impolite. Then they rallied and accused the PC people of being PC, they pointed out how rude and wrong it was to be PC and that's where it's stood ever since. Now we have a reactionary PC going, where for example it's considered utterly rude to admit anything that might make the troops look bad regardless whether it's true.

"al Sadr and Sistani are terrorists, not politicians."

Well, no. Neither of them are terrorists. Neither of them are precisely politicians either, we told al Sadr he couldn't run for office because he was anti-US. Sistani is more a celebrity and student of religion. Both of them get in the way of US goals. Chalabi is a politician, he was our favorite until he double-crossed us, then we blamed the WMD FUBAR on him, we said he sent us a lot of spies who lied to us and we believed them. He admitted it but pointed out he wanted to free his country from Saddam and he'd do whatever it took. (Besides, Allawi's spies were telling us the same thing in general.) We accused him of spying on us for iran. I'd wonder why he's still alive but he has the reputation of being really good at forgery and also really good at blackmail.

I say again, the difference between spies and journalists is that spies report to the enemy and journalists report to everybody including the enemy. If a journalist sees something we don't want him to report, we have to stop him. That's only common sense.

If you say we havn't crossed the line to torture you're just being PC. We called it torture when the russians did it. We called it torture when the north koreans did it. We called it torture when the chinese did it. They claimed it wasn't torture, that there was a line between those techniques and torture. Now we want to do what they were doing and we use their excuses. This sort of thing was against policy for the US military until 9/11. We didn't even teach the techniques except in a course that was officially supposed to teach soldiers to resist torture.

"You're pretending to support the targeting of journalists, hoping to get us to support you, so that then you can point to us as proof of your views that everyone here supports targeting journalists."

Ah! Now I understand! We still have some residual concern about what the rest of the world thinks so we don't want to admit what we're doing. It seems like some sort of propaganda coup if people on Totten's blog agree with things that people on LGF claim proudly. Well, no. If there was somebody around who didn't believe we have a bunch of insane right-wingers around I wouldn't try to sucker a few bloggers here into saying something that looked crazy so I could link to it. I'd just direct them to LGF and let them read about how we should nuke all the muslims now. If I was that sort of person, why would I fish in Totten's bucket when the LGF ocean is right next door?

Which of my facts do you deny? We've announced raids into iran. We just said we're about to do raids into syria, but we haven't said we're already doing them. We announce the 2000 pound bombs in iraqi cities; we more often use 500 pound bombs because they do more precise damage. We've been using military teams to pick off suspected insurgent leaders all along, now we're admitting to hiring iraqi hit teams.

Here's my point about that -- given what we say we do, what's the big difference between those and the things you want to deny? You seem to be treating it as some big moral issue, and I sure don't understand where you draw the lines.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 14, 2005 04:24 AM

J Thomas,

If you're arguing that "anything is possible", then fine. I agree. Martian could land tommorow, it's possible. But not all things that are possible are plausible. And if you can't offer even a shred of evidence that our GIs are targeting journalists, then why bother?

It's so implausible, that it says more about the people making the accusation than it does about our GIs. It becomes an exercise in J Thomas telling us he's not for peace, just for the other side. Standard Lefty stuff.

On the other hand, knock yourself out. I support Lefties being completely transparent. It's very helpful to us.

Posted by: Carlos at February 14, 2005 05:20 AM

Ratatosk: Sure the news is sometimes interesting, it's sometimes informative, but ultimately, it's about entertaining the masses of unthinking, couch potatos that have overrun the American citizenry

Tosk,

I like you, and I agree with the majority of your post, but how could you? That statement is indicative of the same elitest BS shared over wine parties in the uppper east side of Manhattan.

Granted that many, and possibly even most, Americans are largely ignorant of true politics and "real" media, but not because they're stupid lazy couch potatoes flipping between WWE "Monday Night Raw", and "Who wants to marry a gay millionaire with herpes" on Fox.

Most Americans work their asses off, take the kids to sports practices, make dinner, work a second job, go to school, go to the gym, make time for their spouse, help the kids with their homework, and try to find some downtime to remain sane. Keeping knowledgeable about current events is about as far as it goes for most people; and the operative word is "Knowledgeable" because it's subjective according to what each individual determines as "Knowledgeable".

Most of us here are simply fortunate enough to have the time to be "knowledgeable" about not just current events, but world politics, history, economics, philosophy, polemics, foreign policy and the like. We are also fortunate enough to have the time to be discerning of where this knowledge comes from. That Eason Jordan was a CNN employee and held such opinions is not much of a shocker to us, but to most Americans they don't know who he is, or why it's a big deal that he held a upper level position at a new organization. Same deal with Gannon, or whatever his real name is.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 14, 2005 07:06 AM

J. Thomas,

I don't believe for a minute that you empathize with our soldiers and their frustrations with the Media, let alone support them in targeting and killing journalists from "the other side"; especially not if you're reading and quoting IHT.

The soldiers that I know, my friends that is, don't enjoy killing. They don't enjoy watching killing. The only time they are willing to take action that might result in them having to kill someone is when someone is trying to kill them. Unfortunately for several journalists in this conflict, many times they have found themselves in the crossfire. It makes their job especially risky when the news organization that employs them is in contact and collusion with enemies of the U.S. Military; "Embedded" on the other side if you will.

I've been told that it’s also particularly difficult to tell the difference between the Arab cameraman from Al-Jazeera standing next to his "insurgent" guide trying to get footage of attacks on U.S. convoys; and two "insurgents" filming propaganda footage of an I.E.D. ripping apart a humvee and an Alabama Nat'l Guardsmen who was trying to earn money for college while he figured out what he wanted to do with his life that just ended.

War is hell, accidents happen, people die; sometimes they are war correspondents, cameramen, reporters and so on. For anyone to purposely target journalists in a conflict zone it is pure evil, which, by the way, Eason Jordan apparently thinks the U.S. Military is. I do not. Evil men and women infiltrate each and every organization, be it news military, business, religious or otherwise. Those evil people do evil things, but their acts are not necessarily indicative of the organization as a whole. I believe this to be true of the U.S. Military and therefore DO NOT believe that there is, was or ever has been a collective effort on behalf of the U.S. Military to target and kill journalists.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 14, 2005 08:18 AM

Carlos, this is a side issue but I'm not a leftist.

I'm not left or right, I'm forward.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 14, 2005 08:31 AM

I'm not left or right, I'm forward.

J Thomas,

you mean "progressive."

(transalted: Leftist).

Posted by: Carlos at February 14, 2005 08:39 AM

Mike, entirely apart from the reasons that people watch TV "news", still there is a big market for it and it's basicly entertainment. It tells a simple story and promotes a simple moral. It isn't anything I'd consider news, and people who depend on it for things like choosing how to vote are basicly lost.

I agree with you that it isn't their fault they're stuck that way. Still, the media does stick it to them.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 14, 2005 08:42 AM

Mike, I don't think you're qualified to judge the limits of my empathy.

It's silly to say I can't empathise with US servicemen just because I google IHT. That's like saying I can't empathise with the Holocaust just because I read holocaust-denying websites. (Incidentally, one of those sites presented convincing evidence that some of the places that got represented as cyanide gas chambers were not actually cyanide gas chambers. I had read independently that the use of cyanide was not very extensive. They were much less persuasive arguing that fewer people were killed, perhaps as few as 4 million. They could be right but the difference between a 4-million holocaust and a 13-million holocaust is not that important to me. The Red Cross has the meticulous german records but it refuses to release them to anybody.)

Of course I sympathise with the soldiers who can't tell the difference between press and insurgents. For that matter it's very hard to tell the difference between civilians and insurgents. The press in iraq have body armor that has PRESS on it in big letters, but they don't like to use it because they tend to believe it makes them a target to both sides.

I sympathise with the press too, of course.

And with the strategists who have to decide what ROE to use, knowing that the troops won't always follow them regardless. And they have to keep the ROE secret or the enemy and the civilians will game it; they'll do everything short of getting shot. Better if everybody outside the military believes there aren't any ROE so they'll be cautious.

And I sympathise with the poor saps who have to try to make the whole thing palatable to public opinion. Targeting the occasional journalist is the least of it for them. It's a hard job but if they do less than their best we lose the war. If cccccthey lie to the press or lie to congress unconvincingly then it hurts the war effort. They have to take a wartime situation and present it as if our guys are out on a boy scout trip and just happen to occasionally have to shoot back at people who shoot at them.

And then there are the poor Ba'ath guys. They'd have a hard time getting elected in a democracy after they massacred people. But we told them they couldn't even run, that we were going to lock them out of government forever. If it's a democracy where do we get off deciding that? If I was them I'd fight even if I knew I couldn't get back to a one-party rule. Tell people they can't be part of the democracy and what do you expect?

And the salafis. We said it was going to be a democracy and they couldn't run. If somebody did that to me I'd think it was a puppet government.

And the sadrists likewise. We offered iraqis a way to publicly discuss the government they wanted and choose it without violence, and then we told them they couldn't be part of it. Every big group of iraqis that's fought us, we told them they couldn't run for office before they started fighting. Maybe they would have fought anyway but I can sympathise the way it happened. Democracy is a powerful concept and it calls up powerful feelings.

And the civilians. Sometimes when the insurgents stage an attack they tell the civilians ahead of time so they can clear out. Sometimes they don't. We never do, unless you count Fallujah. I think if I was a civilian in iraq outside kurdistan now I'd feel nostalgic for Saddam. He killed people who were critical of his regime, but he at least kept the economy limping along despite sanctions. People were reasonably safe if they avoided politics.

And the reconstruction workers. We didn't know what we were getting into. We had money to spend but it mostly had to be spent in america. Understaffed and undertrained because the experts didn't want to do reconstruction in an active war zone. Spend money without enough controls and it looks like you're embezzling, and the people you spend it on might actually steal it. Put in the controls and everything slows down to the point practically nothing happens.

I see a whole lot of people doing the best they know how, pretty often following their training, and it isn't working. I don't see much evil involved except the Zarqawi guys. I don't know whose side they're on. It's pretty suspicious though that bin Ladin hasn't disowned them, maybe they're on bin Ladin's side. But then I don't know whose side he's on either.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 14, 2005 09:43 AM

I don't see much evil involved except the Zarqawi guys.

Finally, in the midst of it all, some clarity.

Posted by: Carlos at February 14, 2005 10:02 AM

Carlos, if progressive means leftist then I'm not progressive. I'm not left, I'm forward.

Left and right have mostly lost their meaning. Bush isn't on the right, he's a borrow-and-spend big-government PR guy.

And I'm not on the left. I'm an appropriate-government type. Resolve social issues at the smallest practical level. (We still have dry counties and we ought to have them just as long as we have counties that want to stay dry.) Avoid foreign entanglements big enough to get the citizens' attention. Free trade means nobody gets to manipulate our currency; we do not have that worked out yet and we can't afford it until we do. We need to work out a way to tactfully incorporate mexico into the USA. They need our investment under our laws, we need it too. We can't do it without working out about spanish/english, hispanic culture etc. So we can't do it fast but we need to be getting started. We need a new synthesis on ecology, we don't have the will to set aside land for simple preservation but we do need to preserve stuff. We need to find out how to design ecosystems. And of course we need workable alternative energy pretty quick.

Ideally we'd have a political party with a combination of libertarian and green ideas, plus some new stuff. Not left or right. Forward.

Posted by: J Thomas at February 14, 2005 10:08 AM

J. Thomas: Mike, entirely apart from the reasons that people watch TV "news", still there is a big market for it and it's basicly entertainment.

I agree on that point, I just took offense to Ratatosk's generalization of "Lazy Americans", because most Americans aren't lazy.

J. Thomas: Mike, I don't think you're qualified to judge the limits of my empathy.

It's silly to say I can't empathise with US servicemen just because I google IHT

Fair enough, I made an assumption I shouldn't have based on the information I had. And I agree with a lot of what you have to say in regards to your empathies, some of it is very perceptive. However I do not, and without hard evidence, will not believe that our military targeted and killed journalists; regardless of any justification short of them actually fighting us alongside the enemy.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 14, 2005 11:27 AM

Mike, one of the great things about our military is their can-do attitude. They don't just moan about their problems and say they need more money, they go out and do whatever it takes.

The trouble comes when they're given a problem with no solution. Rather than admit there's no solution they tend to try increasingly implausible solutions until relieved of duty. This is not exactly a bad thing -- after all how can we be sure there's no solution until we've tried them all -- but it can be a problem.

Relations with the media have been a problem since vietnam, call it 40 years. Our military has tried lots of approaches but nothing seems to work as well as persuading the press that it's just too dangerous to get the story.

Our military does things the correct legal etc way whenever that works. They don't do war crimes unless they can't win without them. We're losing in iraq and we'll try everything before we admit we're losing. Would we kidnap a few journalists, pretend to be al Zarqawi and make videos of killing them? Only if the real terrorists don't do it for us. Would we spread untrue rumors that the US military targets journalists? If it got them off our back? Sure. Would we actually kill a journalist who was trying to get a story that would hurt the war effort? Yes. Definitely. It's war. If we were winning to the point that the story was no threat, then no.

You want to believe in an army that never breaks any rules. But our can-do army gets the job done however it has to. Within the rules if possible.

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