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A deafening silence


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Article published Saturday, February 12, 2005

A deafening silence

WHEN the web logger Laer (Cheat Seeking Missiles) called to cancel his 25-year subscription to the Los Angeles Times last Monday, he was made an extraordinary offer. The circulation service rep, detecting that he was fed up with the paper's liberal bias, offered to sell him the newspaper without the news sections. Laer was thunderstruck.

"How often must the beleaguered circulation department be dealing with calls like mine, for them to come up with a special like this?" he wrote. (On Wednesday, an L.A. Times exec wrote back, denying that the Times offers to sell partial copies of the paper, but thanking Laer "for bringing this to our attention.")

Hundreds of readers canceled their subscriptions to the Philadelphia Inquirer during the election campaign, and the circulation department there is making its editors call to try to lure them back.

Since the primary reason given for the cancellations was the Inquirer's 21 straight days of editorials praising John Kerry and attacking President Bush, it's doubtful those who wrote the editorials will be effective wooers.

A controversy you've probably heard about, and one that many people haven't, illustrate why readers cancel subscriptions.

"It's fun to shoot some people," Lt. Gen. James Mattis said at a conference in San Diego Feb. 1. "You go into Afghanistan, you've got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. Guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway, so it's a helluva lot of fun to shoot them."

General Mattis' remarks caused conniption fits throughout the news media. Typical was the Miami Herald, which said General Mattis should have been given a tougher punishment than the verbal reprimand he received from the commandant of the Marine Corps. "His callous remarks make light of the terrible toll of war," the Herald whined.

General Mattis - arguably our most effective combat leader - already has been ably defended by my friends Ralph Peters and Mac Owens. But I enthusiastically second his sentiment. If I were still a young Marine, I would take enormous pleasure in personally sending Islamofascists to hell.

Journalists who got their panties twisted over General Mattis apparently see nothing newsworthy about having the head of news for CNN accuse the U.S. military of deliberately killing journalists.

CNN's Eason Jordan told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that "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 (D., Mass.), who was there, and demanded proof, which Mr. Jordan could not supply.

The Davos confab ended Jan. 30. Many journalists were there. Yet in a column published Feb. 5, I became the first "mainstream" journalist to mention Mr. Jordan's remarks.

The silence is puzzling. If what Mr. Jordan said were true, it would be a bigger scandal than Abu Ghraib, about which we in the media have made sure you have heard. And if CNN's top news executive slandered U.S. troops, that also is - or ought to be - news.

Washington Post media analyst Howard Kurtz finally wrote something on Feb. 7. Mr. Kurtz omitted eyewitness testimony from Mr. Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn); reported panel moderator David Gergen as saying something quite different from what he told columnist Michelle Malkin, and skipped over suppression of a videotape of the discussion.

Mr. Kurtz also failed to mention he has a show on CNN. "If a PR agent or damage control spinner produced a piece designed to try and save CNN exec Eason Jordan's job, it would be the piece Kurtz wrote," said web logger and former Democratic political operative Mickey Kaus.

It goes without saying that CNN has yet to report on the controversy. ABC, CBS, and NBC have so far ignored it, too.

The editor of the Post-Gazette recently held a discussion with staff about the future of the news business, and the topic of web logs naturally emerged. The consensus seemed to be that we needn't worry much about them, because we report the news and bloggers only offer their opinions. But the Eason Jordan story was brought to our attention by a web logger, and it was other bloggers who uncovered earlier remarks by Mr. Jordan in the same vein. Seems like reporting to me.

The earth rumbles, and we think it's our big feet, stomping the Lilliputians. But what if it's an earthquake about to swallow us up?

Jack Kelly is national security writer for The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Contact him at: jkelly@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1476.


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I don't see anything wrong with what the General said. He specifically talked about the enemy.

I mean it's ok to shoot and kill the ememy, but you can't talk about it?

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It's the contrast which is so befuddling. We have a guy from CNN who claims that US forces INTENIONALLY fire up and have killed journalist , and nary a word is said about it. Then you have a LT Gen who simply states the fact that it's fun to kill the enemy. It's the enemy who has killed a good portion ( not all deaths in Iraq are due to combat ) of our sons and daughters, and the only language the enemy knows is the use of force. Kill enough of them and we'll save lives of OUR soldiers as well as the civilians over in Iraq. Kill enough enemy so the fighting will stop, and our soldiers all get to come home. THAT is what this guy is talking about, and NOT the 'joy of killing' for mere entertainment value. The press KNOWS this , but instead wishes to promote their political /anit-American agenda.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is about Mr Jordan who resigned from CNN

Blogger Who Challenged CNN Exec Jordan's Comments in Switzerland Talks with Bill

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


•A CNN Exec is Forced to Quit...

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, an eyewitness to Jordan's comments. Joining us now from Miami is Rony Abovitz , who was at the Jordan event in Switzerland and challenged the CNN executive almost immediately. Mr. Abovitz is the co-founder of the Mayco Surgical Corporation.

Let me set this up for the folks: You're over in Davos. You're getting an award. And they asked you to write Internet articles on whatever you want. You show up at the Eason Jordan (search) event, and you hear Jordan say what?

RONY ABOVITZ, ATTENDED WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: Well, the discussion was talking broadly first about journalists being killed around the world. And he had described that he had recently been in Iraq and was, you know, even thinking about pulling CNN reporters out of Iraq, because it was getting so dangerous.

And then he went on to say that basically, it wasn't just Iraqi rebels or terrorists who were killing reporters; it was U.S. troops, and they were targeting both American and foreign journalists.

And when I heard this, I was in great shock. I thought this was going to be the biggest story, much bigger than Abu Ghraib (search). I was amazed. And he went on, and he seemed quite convinced and passionate about this.

O'REILLY: But did he actually say -- did he actually say that American troops killed journalists?

ABOVITZ: He was saying the U.S. troops had targeted both American and foreign journalists, and that at least 12 had been killed -- Under that...

O'REILLY: Really?

ABOVITZ: Under that. And that more had been killed overall not targeted by American troops. He talked about -- I don't know if it was 30 or 40 that had been killed overall.

O'REILLY: Yes, I know. I know. But the important thing is here we have an international audience -- here we have an international audience just looking for this kind of stuff, and this...

ABOVITZ: Not just international. I mean, you're talking about Arab journalists, people that want to hear this kind of thing.

And one part of my brain was thinking he's telling the absolute truth, this is shocking. This is horrible. This is really bad for the United States. And the second part of my brain was thinking, my God, is this just feeding this audience what they want to hear?

O'REILLY: So you asked him a question.

ABOVITZ: My challenge to him was tell...

O'REILLY: What did you ask him?

ABOVITZ: I basically asked him, you know, you just made a horrendous charge against the United States, its military, and its troops, and what's the truth? You know, do you have objective data, evidence, anything to back up what you just said in front of an audience, which and I said it there. -- This is not a very friendly audience right here. This is a lot of people who have a bone to pick with America. And is what you said true?

Because I mean, I was hoping that he'd have a response, which was, "Yes, I'm the head of CNN. I've got all this data. I've got these -- this team that is going to put this giant report out."

But what we got was sort of waffling and backing down and evasiveness. And -- I just left that discussion confused about what was really going on.

O'REILLY: Did he -- did he -- All right. But he didn't say, "No, I don't have any backup for it, and maybe I misspoke"? Or he didn't apologize or anything like that?

ABOVITZ: He started to say first he did believe it, then he didn't believe it. Then someone else told him and he didn't think it was true. But then other people in the audience started talking about this, as if, like, you know, keep going with what you originally said. Then he started going back and forth... And you really didn't know what to think anymore. It really looked like he got caught...

O'REILLY: All right. So he didn't correct himself on the record by saying, you know, that comment wasn't accurate. He didn't correct himself right away?

ABOVITZ: I don't think it was correct. And I think people there didn't think it was corrected.

O'REILLY: All right.

ABOVITZ: And there's a tape of the whole thing.

O'REILLY: Now you had Barney Frank, the liberal congressman from Massachusetts, who was on the panel, too, correct?

ABOVITZ: Yes. He's sitting right there, watching this.

O'REILLY: And what did Frank say to Jordan?

ABOVITZ: Well, I believe David Gergen, who was the moderator, brought Frank in and said, look, you're representing the United States government here. What do you have to say?

And Frank just looked aghast, like, "Oh, my God, I can't believe what the guy said." And he said that his briefings from the Pentagon basically were that it was all collateral damage, and he had never heard about this.

But let's give Frank credit. He did offer to investigate. He said, you know, "Eason, if you can give me any real data, I'll go lead a congressional investigation into this."

O'REILLY: What did Dodd, senator from -- Democratic senator from Connecticut, what did he say? He said something to you, Dodd, right?

ABOVITZ: He came over to me after the session, and he shook my hand. And he said, "Thanks for standing up and for basically, you know, defending the United States in this case, because the guy made outrageous claims. And you know, you're the only one who took him on right there. And you took him on hard."

O'REILLY: All right. So both Frank and Dodd were skeptical of Jordan. That's good to hear.

Now you put your article, then, out on the Net, and all hell broke loose, right?

ABOVITZ: Yeah, I came home, and that night I posted it. I was just invited to write whatever I felt like. I was an attendee. I'm not a journalist. I'm not right or left wing. I just wrote what I saw, what I thought.

And the thing just blew up all over the Web. And it's been just incredible the power of the blog here...

O'REILLY: You bet.

ABOVITZ: ... on how it's really shaped the media.

O'REILLY: Well, listen, sometimes it takes guys like you, Mr. Abovitz, to, you know, pin down. You can't be saying, running around, if you're the president of CNN or any other news organization, that American troops are killing journalists. Because you know that's going to be used for propaganda against us. We already have enough problems from throughout the rest of the world.

So nice job. We appreciate it. And thank you for appearing tonight.


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This is about Mr Jordan who resigned from CNN

Blogger Who Challenged CNN Exec Jordan's Comments in Switzerland Talks with Bill

To quote Bill O'Reilly as a news source is... sorry, there are no words.

Bill O'Reilly


Well, the quotes were directly from an interview w/ the individual who was squarely involved w/ the story. It doesn't get much more direct than that. Exactly what are your reservations about that ? Plase, lets see them.

Oh, nice try at the bait and switch though. Won't deal w/ the substance of the story because...because...ooooh, that Bill O'Reily sure is a bad journalist, right ?


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OOPS got caught..

While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the U.S. military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that U.S. military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been.

I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise. I have great admiration and respect for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, with whom I have worked closely and been embedded in Baghdad, Tikrit, and Mosul, in addition to my time with American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Arabian Gulf.

I think he just called Dodd, Franks, and few hundred others liars here.

What a Moron...But hey, the LEft will grasp at any straw to further their often silly believes.

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