Roger L. Simon

Kurtz Speaks on Mr. Jordan

Breaking a curious ten-day silence on the most important recent story on his beat, WaPo media analyst Howard Kurtz has written a carefully crafted, linguistically bland semi-defense of CNN News chief Eason Jordan against charges he accused US troops of “targeting” 12 journalists. Kurtz seems to accept the extremely debateable assertion that Jordan’s remarks were “off the record” and relies in great degree on excerpted statements made to him (or someone) by David Gergen that seem to track somewhat differently from what Gergen told Michelle Malkin. He also characterizes Jordan’s critics as “conservative” bloggers, by which I take it Kurtz means those who supported the war in Iraq, a journalistically sloppy generalization. Kurtz does not acknowledge his own professional ties to CNN in the article, nor does he dwell on the uncomfortable fact that, as of now, the World Economic Forum is not releasing video tape of these proceedings. Until they do, this controversy will not be resolved. It will remain a he said/she said with most choosing to reference the witnesses that support their side. Kurtz, of course, omits testimony from several of the bloggers who were there, emphasizing instead some equivocal (when was he otherwise?) statements by Gergen. All in all, this is not an article, more of a place holder, with very little real digging done, despite another writer, Lisa de Moraes, being credited as a contributor at the end.

Of course, the reason this issue is of paramount importance is that we are in the midst of asymmetrical war. In such a situation, where propaganda determines victory, the power and significance of journalistic bias increases exponentially.

UPDATE: A much more rigorous account of this controversy here by Roderick Boyd of the NY Sun. Gergen, interestingly, did not return Mr. Boyd’s call.

MEANWHILE: The stonewall from Davos is formalized – no video of the session will be revealed to the public. The hoi-polloi on the outside is locked out. Think about that — the World Economic Forum has decreed that if the murder of journalists by US Troops was discussed at one of their conferences, we the citizens are not mature enough (or something) to hear about it.

UPDATE: An excellent point by frequent commenter Thibaud: “Jordan and the [the BBC’s] Sambrook are playing the Arafat game,” that is talking one way to one side and then preaching the real truth to the choir.

MORE: From Soxblog, an interesting comparison between Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.

UPDATE: It has been noted in the comments that Kurtz did acknowledge his association with CNN at the bottom of the article. I did not notice. I apologize for over-looking that and retract that part of my post above.

AND: Proof that flattery will get you somewhere.