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February 11, 2005
Crossing The Jordan: What Comes Next After Eason Gets Eased Out?

Now that CNN has solved its Eason Jordan problem, at least for the moment, the next question we must ask is who takes his place. One of the candidates for Jordan's job, especially considering the importance of its international service, has to be Chris Cramer, currently president of CNN International. Jordan lured Cramer away from the BBC several years ago, and judging from Cramer's public statements, a shared revulsion of Western militaries formed part of the mutual attraction. Cramer may receive less scrutiny than Jordan, but his track record looks remarkably similar.

Several instances appear in my CNN category. For instance, Cramer gave this speech to the International News Safety Institute in November 2003, recommending in emotional terms a book by Nik Gowing called Dying To Tell The Story, a book which alleges a deliberate policy of assassinating journalists by the US military as a means of removing accountability from the battlefield. Cramer said this:

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

Its 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" appears to be Cramer's motto for news management. Last September, in an interview with Businessworld India, Cramer continued his strange and completely unsupported allegations:

But the profession is in trouble. Around the world, there is scepticism about journalists. Some even want them killed. This year more than 60 journalists have died in Iraq and we are just into August. ...

There is no alchemy involved in accessing news. People can find it themselves. So what you offer them is your version. Plus, the Hutton Enquiry and some incidents in the US show bad journalism. So trust is down.

Cramer has a long and strange relationship with the British military as well. In 1980, a group of purportedly Iranian terrorists took over the Iranian embassy in London, capturing 23 hostages -- including BBC reporter Chris Cramer and his partner, soundman Sim Harris. Cramer faked a heart attack to get the terrorists to throw him out of the embassy the next day, but five days later the terrorists killed one of the remaining hostages. After the British commando team SAS debriefed Cramer, they stormed the embassy and killed all but one of the terrorists while saving 19 of the remaining 21 hostages. Operation Nimrod is widely considered one of the most successful counterterrorism operations in recent history.

Instead of being grateful for the SAS rescuing his partner -- who pointed out the sixth terrorist to the SAS as the Iranian/Iraqi attempted to hide among the freed hostages -- Cramer described the SAS in terms that sounds unsettlingly familiar to those who monitor radical leftists:

And I was released after 27 hours into the hands of the Metropolitan Police in London and two days later into a dreadful bunch of terrorists called the SAS, who were probably worse than the terrorists inside the Iranian embassy.

And four and a half days later, Maggie Thatcher, in one of her rare moments of triumph, deployed the SAS in broad daylight to storm the embassy and they rescued all but maybe one or two of the hostages. Two were murdered. The SAS conveniently took out five members of the terrorist group and forgot to take out the sixth. So that was my brief, humbling experience

Chris Cramer has just as much antipathy towards Western military organizations as Eason Jordan, and his public statements also show the same lack of restraint and substantiation as the erstwhile news chief. If CNN selects Cramer to succeed Jordan as president, then we have gained nothing. CNN needs to clean house at the highest levels and ask Cramer to follow Jordan out of CNN's executive offices.

We will watch their next move. We will not allow yet another serial slanderer to take charge of a major news organization without setting the record straight.

UPDATE: Rebecca MacKinnon looks at the future of media-military relations.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 11, 2005 10:17 PM

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» Eason Jordan's Resigned! One Down — One to Go! from OKIE on the LAM - In LA
Boy, I take yesterday afternoon off from reading and blogging to celebrate my birthday and miss the big story — Eason Jordan quits! I caught up with it this AM in the LATimes, way back on page 9 of the "A" section, guess the Tribune Co. doesn't fe... [Read More]

Tracked on February 12, 2005 11:09 AM

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