DATE: 2/03/2005 10:11:00 AM
Still No Email - Unlike other bloggers, I still haven't gotten my spin email from the CNN public affairs department. Meanwhile, the major media is ignoring the story. Hugh Hewitt is blaming bias for the silence, and that does have a part to play, but I think it's something deeper. Eason Jordan has, for years, been making up stories about murder and torture of journalists. No evidence is ever given to corroborate his stories - he just throws out accusations and gets applause from media elites.
What Jordan has been doing reminds me quite a bit of what John Kerry has done during his political career. If Kerry's tales are to be believed, he fought in Cambodia at Christmas, ran guns to the Khmer Rouge and took CIA operatives and SEALS into enemy territory. His four-month tour in Vietnam was turned into a Clancy novel of intrigue and action. At the time, I remember feeling annoyed at the media for refusing to examine Kerry but at the same time felt rather sorry for the Senator. There is a problem with those who exaggerate their own exploits. It usually means they don't feel as though they accomplished enough.
Eason Jordan is a journalist. That happened to be my major in college and I was surrounded by potential journalists. When we talked about our futures, we didn't describe it as going out and telling stories. Journalism was a noble calling, a mission. In college, I met and covered Congressmen, Senators, a Russian prime minister and the vice president of the United States. It's heady stuff, but no matter how many of these events one covers, there's always this sense of being a watcher, not a player.
Some journalists desperately want to be players. I was one of them, which is part of the reason I got out of it and went back to graduate school. Others, though, stay in journalism and try to create change through their reporting. Eason Jordan, I think, is one of those people. Unfortunately, though, he's not content with passivity - he wants to be part of the action. People who are part of the action are important and worthy of coverage by his peers. So he exaggerates a problem that does exist - journalists die doing their jobs. Jordan isn't content with even this passivity, it seems, so he takes the problem a step further. He creates the myth that his reporters are so good at their jobs that they've become a threat and are targeted by those with power. In a sense, he's trying to create martyrs.
Over the years, he's changed his tales to include the militaries of other countries, and expanded the abuse inflicted upon journalists from targeted assasination to torture. Jordan has created a fantasy world worthy of Walter Mitty in his need to feel important. The irony, of course, is that he is important - he's a major and respected (by some) news executive at a huge news organization. The fantasy life that he created to feel important will ultimately end up hurting the job that actually gave him what he sought.
Do I feel sorry for Eason Jordan? A little bit. But that doesn't change the facts - he deliberately slandered the militaries of the United States and Israel. He has brought discredit upon his employers, and he should be removed from his job.