CQ reader and new blogger The Baron spent a few shillings out of his own pocket for a Nexis article on Eason Jordan research, and as we dig more and more into Jordan’s public record, the more we find that Jordan seems obsessed with journalist-targeting. The Baron finds an article from USA Today by Marilyn Greene that ran on page 3 of their 10/5/93 edition. Greene wrote about the lack of reporters in strife-torn Mogadishu, and interviewed Jordan as well as the Toronto Star’s Paul Watson. Watson accuses US troops of shooting at him, while Jordan excuses the lack of CNN correspondents in the region to journalist-targeting by combatants:
When U.S. troops landed in Somalia, they were met on the beach by a horde of TV cameras and reporters. When U.S. helicopters were downed Sunday in Somalia, not a single U.S. reporter was in Mogadishu to record the event.
In the 10 months between the arrival and the latest bloodshed, every U.S. media outlet – even ever-present CNN – has pulled out of Mogadishu.
Why? The biggest reason: Reporters and camera crews became targets of
Somalis’ outrage about the hunt for warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
Five journalists have been killed and dozens wounded.
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve been shot at by both Somalis and U.S. troops,” says Paul Watson, correspondent for the Toronto Star, from south Mogadishu. He took dramatic photographs of Somalis dragging the body of a U.S. soldier along Mogadishu’s streets. …
In contrast, CNN has 60 people covering this week’s fighting in Moscow.
“It’s dangerous, but there’s a big difference,” Jordan says. “In Somalia, journalists are targeted. Anything that happens in Moscow is incidental.”
Note that Jordan doesn’t specifically mention who he thinks does the targeting, but that statement along with Watson’s quote leaves the impression that Jordan thinks that all sides target journalists. That may be more Greene’s fault than Jordan’s, of course; she doesn’t appear to have asked Jordan to elaborate on Watson’s allegations. Nor does Watson specifically allege that US troops targeted him as a journalist, or even aimed at him specifically at all.
However, when covering a war, bullets fly all over the place. No one would expect differently, and indeed Jordan continued to have dozens of reporters in the field in Moscow while the shooting went on. The act of pulling reporters out shows that Jordan believed them to have become targets. By whom? Jordan doesn’t say, but based on his comments in Davos, you have to wonder if he hadn’t meant to accuse the Americans as well as the Somalis all along.