Carol Platt Liebau: Eason Jordan update

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Eason Jordan update

The Eason Jordan episode goes on. Excellent analysis at TKS; Hugh Hewitt has been doggedly on the story; La Shawn Barber is a repository of all things Jordan.

Certainly the MSM is trying to kill this story, as witnessed by the Kurtz piece linked here yesterday. TKS thinks that to the extent the story has failed to get traction, it is because there are no visuals and because few Americans know who Eason Jordan really is (in contrast to, say, Dan Rather). And to some extent, that may be true. But it's really not that hard to run b-roll (file footage) of some part of the Davos meeting on TV while the story is being discussed, and it's not that hard to make it clear that Eason Jordan is the CNN counterpart to Dan Rather's journalistic boss.

No, I suspect that the reason there isn't more shock and outrage about the incident among "normal people" is the fact that many of them actually expect this kind of talk from someone like Eason Jordan. Unfairly or not, many Americans believe the press (and CNN in particular) is reflexively anti-military. Just look at the record: CNN's former reporter Peter Arnett broadcasting pro-Saddam propaganda about the alleged baby milk factories that were bombed during Gulf War I; the subsequently retracted Operation TailWind story (alleging without proof that the Air Force used sarin gas in Vietnam).

So I truly believe there is a ho-hum factor at work here -- a higher up at CNN is anti-military? Tell us something we don't know. Now, this perception may or may not be accurate (I know at least one former CNN "high up" who couldn't be a more patriotic, responsible journalist) -- but it is out there. And if there is anything that the Jordan coverage hasn't achieved, it's not helped people understand the ramifications of the remarks. On some level, it looks like one left-wing blowhard said something admittedly outrageous to a bunch of predominantly left-wing blowhards at a hoity-toity conference of "intellectuals" in Switzerland. In fact, to be honest, many people outside the "chattering classes" don't even know what "Davos" is, what it does, why it matters.

If anything's missing, it's a discussion about how such statements (made at such conferences) become propaganda tools for our enemies, and appear to confirm anti-American stereotypes throughout the world, and why that matters.

Incidentally,Hugh Hewitt opines that Jordan is the type of guy used to tailoring his message to appeal to his audience. I don't know about that -- actually, I think Jordan really believes what he said (originally). And at Davos, he thought he was in a "safe" place to say it.

Was he wrong? Can he get away with it? The jury's still out. We need to provide more context if we expect normal people to be outraged.


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