Thursday, February 10, 2005

More sunlight to disinfect CNN?

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant" is an old saying that means open records will cleanse corruption in government or business -- let everyone look at the records and the government will thereafter police itself because it will not want to be subjected to the outcry that comes with revelations of corruption. This is why every state and the US government have Open Records/Freedom of Information Acts.

The saying also applies to the "marketplace of ideas" -- a full and fair exchange of ideas will end up exposing those that have no merit and will eradicate them.

Now, sunlight may finally be disinfecting CNN's anti-military bias as more commentators and newspapers discuss the slanders Eason Jordan made. Here is a snipet of the panel discussion on Fox News' Update with Brit Hume last night, courtesy Johnny Dollar's Place:

[MARA] LIASSON [NPR]: Two people, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, who are liberal Democrats, both said that he said this. David Gergen said that he seemed to walk it back, and a BBC executive who was there said that he seemed to clarify his remarks on the spot. The best thing to do would be to release the videotape and see what he said.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER [Washington Post & syndicated COLUMNIST]: Look, Dodd and Frank are not liars. They heard him say that American targeted journalists.

[BRIT] HUME: Do you mean that they're not liars, or do you just mean that they're not liars about this in your opinion?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well generally speaking. I know Frank and I think he actually, when he got into his scandal you remember some years ago, he was incredibly honest about it.

HUME: He told the truth, yeah.

KRAUTHAMMER: And that's why everybody gave him a pass. And they wouldn't have a reason to lie about this. And that they were, obviously, genuinely shocked. And what was shocking was this accusation. So when I, the crime here I think is intellectual cowardice on the part of Eason Jordan. I mean, if he said this and then he tried to walk it back, he wasn't trying to explain it, he was trying to undo it. But then he says in a statement that has been released, he never has believed that American troops have deliberately attacked journalists. Well, if he doesn't, why is he spreading a rumor that he believes is false, malicious, libelous, and will endanger American troops? I mean, you don't truck in rumors like that. He essentially says, now he was just reporting what others are saying. If he thinks it's a falsehood, why is he repeating it? So I think that is the real problem here, and I think as Mort indicated, he did, he's admitted that in the past he's sort of covered up and suppressed news in Iraq because he didn't want to, say, endanger his employees. Well, if you're going to give our news shaded by Saddam Hussein and essentially censored, you ought to either get out of Iraq, or say it openly on the air: the news you are now hearing is approved by this regime, so everybody will know it's not honest news. There's dishonesty here which I think is the real problem.

But wait, there's more. First, Joe Scarborough joins the "Fire Jordan" chorus [Hat Tip].

Next, the Miami Herald reports how Rony Abovitz (who is NOT a right-winger by any stretch; see his blog, which we linked in our entry here) broke the story. Here is a short description of how Abovitz became involved:

At the center of the media hurricane is Abovitz, a mild-mannered 34-year-old specialist in computer-assisted surgery. He was invited last month to the World Economic Forum, a meeting of global movers and shakers, to pick up an award for technology developed by his company. While there, organizers invited Abovitz to write up his impressions of the forum for its blog.

And check out this great quote from's Jack Shafer in the Herald article:

"When thinking people, especially journalism professionals, say something like that -- that U.S. troops might be war criminals -- and can't substantiate it, you've got to follow it up," said Jack Shafer, media critic for the influential website "Blogs always seem to ask much tougher questions of a powerful media figure than Time magazine or The New York Times or Newsweek do."

Last and least is this piece from Bret Stephens that gives Jordan a pass by calling Jordan's direct statement of fact a "defamatory innuendo", but confirms both Abovitz's account AND shows how Jordan tried to get out of trouble with the Western media instead of backtracking completely and denying his own assertion that US troops targeted journalists.

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