"US Soldiers target journalists for death!"

Ever wonder exactly how skewed your news might be? Well, imagine the chief CNN news executive saying that journalists are being purposely tortured and assassinated by US soldiers. How might such a belief frame how news in Iraq is covered? It’s another example of how extreme partisanship is corrupting your news coverage.

Eason Jordan resigns.

Mr. Jordan, speaking in a panel discussion titled "Will Democracy Survive the Media?" said "he knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy," said Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat of Massachusetts who was on the panel with Mr. Jordan.

In an interview with The New York Sun, Mr. Frank said Mr. Jordan discussed in detail the plight of an Al-Jazeera reporter who had been detained by American forces, was made to eat his shoes while incarcerated in the Abu Ghraib prison, and was repeatedly mocked by his interrogators as "Al-Jazeera boy."

A man who said he was a producer with Al-Jazeera at the network's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, said he was unaware of any such incident, "although we have had problems with American troops in and out of Iraq." The Al-Jazeera producer refused to give his name.

Mr. Jordan's comments - prompted by a broader discussion of the dangers of covering the war in Iraq, in which some 63 journalists have been killed - left Mr. Frank, usually an outspoken war opponent, speechless.

"I was agog," he said. "I took a few seconds and asked him to basically clarify the remarks. Did he have proof and if so, why hadn't CNN run with the story?" nysun.com

Of course CNN still has yet to release the video of the event, or even to have outlined exactly what Mr. Jordan actually said. Maybe that's because he and other CNN execs have made the same charges before.

"Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces," Mr Jordan told an audience of news executives at the News Xchange conference in Portugal. guardian.co.uk

Apparently at the same conference Chris Cramer, another CNN news executive spoke as well.

Chris Cramer of the US network CNN is honorary president of the International News Safety Institute (Insi).

He told hundreds of TV executives and journalists at News Xchange: "The death toll is three times higher than that of international humanitarian workers... This has been arguably the most terrible year for our profession - after I sat here and told you last year it had been the most terrible year."

By some counts, more than 1,200 journalists and media workers have been killed in the past 10 years, more than two thirds dying in their own countries.

"Most were deliberately targeted for seeking out the truth. And in more than 94% of those cases, no one has been brought to trial," Chris Cramer recalled.

...The media and the military "are separated by a large and at times fatal gulf of mutual misunderstanding", said Insi Director Rodney Pinder.

Other speakers at News Xchange noted that journalists and their assistants were equally under threat from armed groups and criminals.

In Iraq, one group had posted this threat on the internet against media they regarded as not being neutral enough:

"We swear to God that we will hunt all the workers in these news agencies and slaughter them like sheep if they stand beside the Americans and do not broadcast the truth about the number of soldiers killed in Iraq." bbc

That last quote is the kicker. Terrorists promise to slaughter journalists like sheep, but who do these journalists claim are 'targeting' them for death? The dictatorial regime of George Bush, of course, which is trying to silence all opposition.

Read more here, here, and here.

Posted by Eric Simonson at February 14, 2005 12:05 AM