CNN’s Chief News Executive a Fabricator?

I am forced to conclude that CNN’s Eason Jordon lied at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where he appeared at a public forum entitled, “Will Democracy Survive the Media?”

This discussion, moderated by David Gergen, the Director for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, also had on the panel U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut. Those in the audience were mostly journalists and quite a few Arab World Economic Forum attendees.

Rony Abovitz of The World Economic Forum Weblog was also attending and he reports that during the forum, Eason Jordon of CNN claimed that he personally knew of 12 journalists who were not only killed by US forces in Iraq, but were targeted for assassination by those US forces. Is this not shocking news? If true can you imagine the world of predatory journalism keeping such a story under the radar?

Granted, Mr. Abovitz went on to report that Mr. Jordon spent a little time backpedaling and trying to diffuse the claim. But Jordon did not disclaim the central point that he thinks US armed forces have been used to hunt down and kill journalists in Iraq, again according to Abovitz.

Now, I have to conclude that Eason Jordon is just plain lying about this claim. After all, why would the world of journalism keep such a damning story quiet? And after Jordon finally let the story out into the public why have they still let it go unnoticed? And, US media aside, by what compulsion would the rest of the world’s media keep this story quiet? It can’t be said that the world’s media is so cowed by the US government that they would keep the story under wraps. It certainly cannot be said that foreign media outlets are so pro-USA that they would keep it quite so as not to hurt the USA’s reputation in the Arab world as Jordon’s claim is sure to do.

And Eason Jordon is not generally considered some wild eyed nut to journalists. From the CNN website: “Eason Jordon is executive vice president and chief news executive of CNN. He chairs the CNN Editorial Board, is a member of the CNN Executive Committee and provides strategic advice to CNN’s senior management team. Jordan’s global portfolio includes managing CNN’s editorial relationships with international affiliates, governments and major newspapers. He oversees CNN’s World Report Conference and the CNN International Professional Program. Jordan travels the world both as a CNN executive and a working journalist.”

That would be the resume of a man of standing as far as journalists are concerned. Not some man pounding out conspiracy stories on a hand cranked mimeograph machine in his basement, I’d suspect.

So, how can he appear at this public forum at which people form all over the world are in attendance and make such crazy statements? It is true that the rest of the world’s journalists are not now and have not taken this story up to prove or disprove it. But if this was a totally unknown story until Mr. Jordon blurted it out in Switzerland and if this bombshell story has still not been investigated by anyone in the world, much less an American journalist, we simply have to assume that Jordon was making the story up out of whole cloth. It simply must be an untruth.

A falsity.

A lie.

If it weren’t every newspaper and TV reporter in the world would be all over this story. Yet Jordon’s claims have been ignored. And now I am forced to revisit Jordon’s status as a legitimate journalist. Maybe he is a wild eyed conspiracy nut after all?

By Warner Todd Huston

Copyright Publius Forum 2001