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February 8, 2005
Eason's Fables Not An Isolated Incident For CNN

Slublog's Peter Cook, who has done some remarkable sleuthing on the Eason's Fables scandal, finds out that Eason Jordan isn't the only CNN executive that spreads rumors about deliberate targeting of journalists for death by US military forces. Chris Cramer, who Jordan hired away from the BBC as CNN International's managing director, gave this speech in November 2003 to the International News Safety Institute (INSI) meeting in Budapest. Towards the end of the speech, he recommends a particular book for the journalists, Dying to Tell the Story by Nik Grower:

I want to commend to you the very sad, very traumatic and very important book which INSI has backed from the start.

It’s a first of its kind.

A detailed tribute to each and every one of our colleagues who died or went missing.

Important contributions from the freelance community.

From the security industry.

From Nik Gowing on the worrying trend of journalists who died at the hands of the coalition - in the crossfire - through screw ups - however you want to portray it.

"However you want to portray it"? It doesn't sound to me like Cramer has much of a handle on the facts, nor does he expect his colleagues to actually find and report them. Instead, he sounds more like someone who wants to push a particular spin without substantiation, just as his boss Eason Jordan did a year later.

And what of Gowing? What exactly is Gowing's contribution to the issue that Cramer so heartily and emotionally recommends to INSI? Peter found this article in Gulf News that explains Gowing's assertions in fairly bold language:

Official stonewalling and a reluctance to investigate a growing number of unexplained incidents compounds the suspicions. It suggests one of three ominous trends, or some combination:

Either by default or failure actively to investigate and discipline military personnel, a culture of eliminating the presence of journalists - if necessary using deadly force - is being actively tolerated, perhaps even encouraged.

Commanders at the highest level, backed by their political masters, do not stop their forces targeting journalists when operational security appears to be threatened. By default or more, they may even encourage it, creating a culture of both assumed impunity and immunity from legal recourse.

The presence outside military control of cameras in particular - with their capacity for live or near-instantaneous transmission from the heart of a combat zone - is considered a military threat. If necessary it will be eliminated by force and without the threat of legal action under the Geneva Conventions, the International Criminal Court, or Laws of Armed Conflict.

Needless to say, Gowing's entire article attempts to buttress these claims by equating causality with conjunction. In other words, since the journalists died in a combat zone, they must have been targeted as journalists, and therefore a policy of deliberate assassination exists. Gowing uses as a supporting argument the Bush administration's supposed rejection of the Geneva Convention in fighting the war on terror, an inaccurate statement in and of itself, as the Bush administration endorsed the Geneva Conventions for warfare in Iraq -- because we fought a uniformed army to which the Conventions applied. Gowing offers nothing but a series of long-debunked incidents that doesn't provide any proof of anything, except that war correspondents take enormous risks and sometimes get killed doing their jobs.

Does CNN stand by Gowing's reporting and Cramer's endorsement of it? If CNN endorses Gowing, then they have yet to report on the massive conspiracies Gowing postulates. If not, why did Cramer urge all INSI members to read Gowing's work?

In Eason's Fables, the fish may stink from the head, but it spreads down into the body a ways, too.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 8, 2005 2:11 PM

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» Easongate becomes CNN-gate from Pajama Hadin
Captain Ed gives, in his post Eason's Fables Not An Isolated Incident For CNN, tells us just that. Slublog's Peter Cook, who has done some remarkable sleuthing on the Eason's Fables scandal, finds out that Eason Jordan isn't the only CNN executive... [Read More]

Tracked on February 8, 2005 3:47 PM

» EJR V: Big Media Finally Bites from La Shawn Barber's Corner
Please see the Easongate category for the complete background on the developing Eason Jordan story. It took a few days, but major newspapers are finally covering the Eason Jordan story. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, who wouldn't take an Easo... [Read More]

Tracked on February 8, 2005 4:12 PM

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