Monday, February 14, 2005

Jordan Eason: And The Beat Goes On

I haven't blogged about this before. Many other blogs were covering this more completely than I could. Easongate has been keeping the ball moving.

My thoughts on the subject were basically that Mr. Eason and the World Economic Forum should have released the tape and/or complete transcript so that we could see exactly what was said and in what context. We are adults and we are capable of deciding what Mr. Eason meant. I believe that, if it was as innocent as he claims, the tape would have been exculpatory and the entire issue would have died a quiet death, maybe chirping a little from the sidelines.

By his silence and the silence of the Forum, he gave the impression that there was something wrong and it was not as clear as Mr. Eason's explanation.

This morning I caught Fox & Friends. They were interviewing Reese Schonfeld, co-founder of CNN and author of "Me And Ted Against The World".

I haven't seen a transcript yet so what I am about to say is based on my memory of the interview (which was at appx 6:00 AM CST). I forwarded my notes and my email that I forwarded to fox&friends regarding Schonfeld's comments to several of the bloggers listed and will post it below. In brief:

  • Jordan Eason did not say or mean to say that US forces were targeting journalists
  • 63 Journalists were killed in Iraq by both "friendly fire" and through deliberate targeting, mostly by insurgents.
  • Eason wanted to bring attention to this fact
  • Eason should shut up
  • There was an incident at the Palestine Hotel where a tank fired on and killed reporters standing on the balcony.
  • No one knows why that happened.
  • There is no official investigation (his tone implied that the military had something to cover up)
  • He then brought up Pat Tillman and the controversy around the details of his death and how many times the military changed their story (implying that the military could and would cover something up)
  • Eason got himself in trouble over the editorial two years ago where he indicated he and CNN had suppressed information from Saddam's Iraq in order to insure his employee's safety.
  • Schonfeld also said in the article that Eason HAD reported something of the problems to the CIA in Amman, Jordan.
  • Schonfeld then said that Amman was like a sieve and this information was leaked back to Saddam's regime.
  • Some of the people working for CNN were subsequently picked up and tortured (possibly murdered) (I do not have the complete Op Ed piece. When I attempted to look it up, all that was available on the page was an "abstract" and I could not verify that Eason actually wrote that he had reported things to the CIA and subsequently, people were picked up and tortured or killed. The abstract does indicate that Eason talks about people being picked, tortured and killed, but again, there is no information about whether he actually did report something to the CIA preceeding these incidents. If anyone has the complete article and can validate this, I'd appreciate it)
  • Schonfeld says directly to Brian Kilmeade that journalists should not attack each other
  • I believe he makes a comment about bloggers and the lack of control on the blog world and how the blogs are "ruining" people's lives inappropriately. (sorry, no exact quote, I was trying to get on line to email).

  • I immediately jumped up and ripped off an email to Fox & Friends, commenting that Mr. Schonfeld made two mistakes:

    1) There were many witnesses at the Davos incident and the word "target" was used and was imbued with "malicious intent" and was blogged about from the own conventions blogger, Rony Abovitz;

    2) Someone knows about the Palestine Hotel incident because they were there and Mudville provides the excerpts from the book "Thunder Run" by David Zucchino which provides a thorough view of the incident and why the hotel was mistakenly "targeted".

    I really didn't feel the need to blog on this subject before, but this is becoming even more serious of an issue. Instead of standing for the truth, whatever that truth may be, as we have been enjoined to believe is the special domain of professional journalists, they have implied their own inability to stand by that ethic in the face of their own scandal.

    My last thoughts are, when you are the entity that is the arbiter of truth and transparency, given an awesome responsobility through the first amendment to our constitution in the bill of rights it is the real truth that should be reported, regardless of the pain it may inflict, even on your own, your ability to be considered that sole owner and entity is greatly damaged by your refusal to adhere to the same standards of truth and transparency.

    As I noted in my email that you may find under "onward to the inner sanctum", as a consumer of the media, I want the unvarnished truth, not the truth as someone believes it to be nor the truth that someone wants me to believe. I want the facts.

    Mr. Eason got into trouble because he made statements that are not supported by facts and then he tried to change his story. Just like the many politicians he and journalists like him claim to keep in check with their free press. They wouldn't let a public official get away with it, why should they be allowed to do so?

    The media, even those with their own blogs, continue to denigrate blogs as lacking ethics and editorial process. They are saying that blogs, regardless of their ability to link to and organize multiple sources to validate their comments, lack integrity.

    This sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, don't you think?

    When or if the full transcript from this morning's show is available, I'll link to it so you can read for yourself what he said.

    To whom it may concern:

    I caught the segment with Reese Schonfeld this morning. In it he claims that no one knows what was really said at the conference. That is mistake number one. The Forum where Eason spoke sponsored some one to blog the forum at Rony Abovit was there and heard the comments. He blogged about it. Just because no one will release the tapes so we can hear exactly what Mr. Eason said AND in context to the discussion, does not mean he didn't say it. The truth would have been clear had the tapes or complete transcripts been released.

    Secondly, Mr. Schonfeld continues in the way of many in the media that is very perplexing to the bloggers. And that is that, while first stating he thought Mr. Eason was discussing friendly fire incidents and deliberate attacks by INSURGENTS, he then goes on to perpetuate the myth that "no one knows" what happened at the Palestine Hotel, leaving open the possibility that it was a deliberate targeting and including the comments about the military saying they thought it was a possible sniper even though it was a man with a camera. He also stated that there was no official investigation by the military.

    I am not sure what the military did, but, by the words of David Zucchino, reporter from the LA Times and the author of "Thunder Run", detailed the entire incident in the book. In a discussion about accuracy in the media on his blog,, a soldier in Iraq posted the relavent excerpts from the book.

    I suggest that you read it and tell Mr. Schonfeld, before he continues to spread this pernicious misinformation, he might take some time from writing his own books and read it too if he is going to continue to speak on the subject with any authority.

    It was an egregious accident that these reporters were killed. But, it does not excuse anyone from continuing to make allegations without supporting facts and THAT is what got Jordan Eason into trouble.

    This is the power of blog information. It is diseminated easily and easily varifiable. What blogs want is the unvarnished truth. What I want as a consumer of the media is the unvarnished truth. I do not want a reporter to decide what the truth is or what I should believe it is.

    In the words of Detective Friday, "Give me the facts, just the facts".

    Thank you for your time.



    Bigandmean said...

    It's frustrating to me that my local paper, The Houston Chronicle, has become a propaganda tool of the left. I'd like the news reported and not have to be forever be concerned with separating the real news from the efforts of some misguided journalist to construct his latest line of propaganda.

    Jamie said...

    I've stopped subscribing to our local newspaper. If and when I do buy a paper, its to read the section on local news in my immediate area -Shelby County. I prefer to get REAL news from various sources available on the internet.

    Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

    The left owns print, the right owns talk radio, and both are represented on TV and in the blogosphere. Let the games continue.