Eason Jordan quits

Eason Jordan quits

: Eason Jordan resigns CNN. And I honestly don’t get it. If he had been upfront about what he said from the start; if he had demanded that Davos release the tape and transcript; if he had admitted to putting his foot in his mouth and apologized and said he was wrong; if he’d done that, he’d still have a job. For a lesson, see: Dan Rather. But he released obfuscating statements and didn’t level with the public he’s supposed to serve and now he’s slinking away like a criminal when he should be apologizing for saying something stupid. Pride goeth with the fall:

CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit Friday amid a furor over remarks he made in Switzerland last month about journalists killed by the U.S. military in Iraq. Jordan said he was quitting to avoid CNN being “unfairly tarnished” by the controversy….

“I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise,” Jordan said in a memo to fellow staff members at CNN.

But the damage had been done, compounded by the fact that no transcript of his actual remarks has turned up. There was an online petition calling on CNN to find a transcript, and fire Jordan if he said the military had intentionally killed journalists….

“I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq,” Jordan said….

He could have called his muckety-buddies at Davos and gotten the tape and released a transcript and admitted his error and apologized for it. But he didn’t. I repeat: I don’t get it. Could it be that he watched the tape and saw that it was a killer? But how could it have been worse than what was reported already?

Or could it be that this was a final straw with his bosses, who said that he’d marched on his tongue once too often? If that is the case, then the bosses sure took a long time to decide that.

Oh, yeah, I used to work at Time Warner. They do take a long time to decide anything. It’s not easy getting task forces to meet.

Here’s what has always amazed me about my business: News people, who are used by PR people, are the worst at figuring out their own PR.

: Jay Rosen has Jordan’s statement.

While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the U.S. military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that U.S. military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been.

I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise. I have great admiration and respect for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, with whom I have worked closely and been embedded in Baghdad, Tikrit, and Mosul, in addition to my time with American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Arabian Gulf.

: Here’s NZ Bear’s Eason roundup.

: Lucianne says: “High tens to the Pajamahadeen – Let the revolution begin”

: At 8:20p I still can’t find the story on CNN.com.

: UPDATE: CNN has the story up. Says it went up at 8:19; missed each other by a minute.

: On the air at 10:08p, CNN reports on l’affaire Gannon. I don’t hear anything about l’affaire Jordan.

: I’ll repeat what I said a few days ago: This is about the speed of news in a world of citizen publishers (which means you can’t wait almost two weeks to respond to citizens’ questions and demands) and about the gatekeepers losing their gates (and their control) and about the death of off-the-record (when anybody who hears you can publish to the world).

: Sisyphus is baffled.

: The delicious tags feed on Jordan.

More from La Shawn Barber.

: Kaus adds:

P.S.: It should also be noted that the controversy was kept alive not just by blogs, but by the refusal of a relatively liberal Democrat, Barney Frank, to sweep it under the rug in gentlemanly fashion. …

: Mark at Decision ’08 predicts what some will say about blogs tomorrow:

No, this one is different. This time it was the bloggers, and the bloggers alone, that pushed this man out. That will be heady stuff for some; it will scare the pants off of others…but what does it mean, really? Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards with no oversight, no editors, and no accountability? Or does it mean that we’ve entered a brave new world where the MSM has become irrelevant?

I would argue that neither of those extremes is the case. What has been shown, though, is that the mass media, mainstream media, MSM, whatever you want to call it, is being held to account as never before by the strong force of individual citizens who won’t settle for sloppy research and inflammatory comments without foundation, particularly from those with a wide national reach, such as Rather and Eason….

: What’s the goal of these hunts? To get people fired? Or to get to the truth? I’d like to think it is the latter. If Dan Rather had come out the day after his report and said, “Thank you,” to the bloggers and sought the truth, many would have still been suspicious and critical, but I think his tale would have a different ending. If Jordan had left a comment on the Davos blog as soon as the post went up and said, “Man, I misspoke and didn’t mean to say that and I was wrong,” people would still be pissed, but I think his tale would have a different ending. If “Jeff Gannon” had fessed up immediately, he wouldn’t have had a different ending — he’d be out of the press club — but he wouldn’t be whining about being “harrassed.”

Take a lesson from Bill Moyers, who messed up and correctd himself and apologized like a man (and a journalist). I’m not Moyers’ biggest fan but you have to say that he put the truth ahead of his stubborness.

Learn this lesson well: The speed of news has changed and so has the speed of scandal. You can’t wait and hope something will go away. Today, that’s tantamount to a coverup. Dan Rather: Remember Dick Nixon?

Citizens’ media has turn down the stonewall.

: Oh, yes, and before we forget… Davos: Release the tape! You, too, can’t stonewall or your little club will become known as the place where the powerful can try to lie.

: NEXT MORNING UPDATE: Joe Gandelman has one of his patented roundups.

: Rebecca MacKinnon worries:

The point is, there are clearly some real tensions and disagreements about what’s been taking place on the ground in Iraq – and why. As a member of the audience during the now-infamous panel, one thing was very clear to me: bad feeling between U.S. servicepeople and journalists in Iraq is coloring news coverage. No matter where you stand on the war or anything else, you have to recognize that nobody is served by letting this bad feeling fester, supported by much rumor and few facts.

  • Good riddance.

  • AllenS

    Eason Jordan has more integrity than Dan Rather.

  • journo vet.

    I’m a journalist (25 years in the trenches) and I have been following this stroy with great interest.
    A few things strike me that I haven’t yet seen others pick up on.
    The “mis-spoke” defence is all very well, but if there’s anyone who knows or should know how to be quoted, how not to be quoted and how to avoid being misquoted it’s a journalist with Jordan’s experience.
    If he were a “civilian” I could understand the “tempest in a teapot” view but this guy is a journalist who quotes people everyday.
    Ditto, for telling stories that CNN hadn’t aired. If they hadn’t broadcast the story about the Al Jazeera journo forced to eat his shoes, it’s because they couldn’t get people to talk about it on the record. A news executive can’t go passing on those rumours in a semi-public forum. If the standard of proof wasn’t good enough to get it on CNN, it ‘s not good wnough to discuss at a forum in Davos. Maybe at JOrdan’s dinner table but not Davos.
    To me, these two mistakes are inexcusable coming from a news executive. And they are indeed grounds for firing or resigning.
    I still believe it would be better to show the tape because I think journalists can’t possibly argue against that given the nature of the Davos forum.
    and I agree Jeff, that there’s something very wrong about journos and power brokers attending huge “off the record” gatherings.
    Honestly, I would never agree to be off the record at such an event.
    Anyway that’s my take — inescapably bad errors of judgement. He had to go.

  • Sean P

    Jeff: Don’t look at this strictly in isolation. Remember, Jordan has already admitted playing footsie with tyrants — and suppressing stories on behalf of said tyrants — to keep CNN bureau offices open. That story pissed off bloggers big time when it first broke, as well as mainstream journalists (given how he impugned the integrety of Franklin Foer, a true journalist at TNR who Jordan called a liar when he wrote a story accusing Jordan of what he later admitted to). Add to that his other unfounded accusation of US soldiers torturing journalists and you have somebody nobody is willing to take a bullet to defend (except Kurtz, for some reason).
    Also, under Jordan’s “stewardship” CNN has sunk even further behind Fox News as the dominant 24 hour television news outlet, and is now in danger of falling to third behind MSNBC(?!) If I were a corporate bigwig at CNN I’d jump on any excuse I could think of to get rid of this loser.

  • How could the tape have been worse? It could show him saying exactly what was reported, in a manner and with a tone that makes it even more egregious than it is, therefore vaporizing his prior arguments about “mis-spoke” and “out of context.” After all, the guy knows what he said and how he said it, unless he was full of gin.
    All in all, pretty funny…I doubt he’ll have to start filling out applications for the IHOP, so let’s not weep too much for him.

  • Wow! And not one gay website.

  • Why quote Lucianne – merely because she takes the credit? Is she anyone to anybody? It’s the first time I’ve seen her name mentioned anywhere in quite some time.
    She’s a blog whore (among other venues).

  • Oh – and yes, Eadon had to go. He’s ruined his reputation as a sane journalist. Why can’t people on the right (and some on the “left”) get it about Gannon and Armstrong Williams though?

  • ghostcat

    Nailed him without the slightest assist from either Drudge or Limbaugh. Mark this date.

  • Paul

    Some moonbat here named Mork insisted this was a nonstory ginned up by “wingnuts”. How do these assholes get EVERYTHING wrong?
    I can’t imagine Jordan would resign over a nonstory.

  • P.J. Hadeeniac

    It’s easy to figure why Eason is gone now. His remarks were indefensible and while bloggers were all over him MSM had barely touched the story. Axe him now before non-blogreaders get the full stench of the story. CNNs audience is vastly comprised of non-blogreaders. Salvage the brand. It _is_ PR. With Jordan gone the story dies. Even in the blogosphere. The stench dissipates, none of like mind to Jordan is exposed, and after time – back to business as usual – but more covertly.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    OK, so we got Jordan’s head on a pike.
    I would have much preferred a real discussion of whatever the hell he was trying to say.

  • daudder

    witch hunts are fun!

  • Brad

    According to CNN, it’s just entertainment
    How sad that CNN is reporting this in their Entertainment section. Is this some kind of code that we should not take CNN serious, it’s only entertainment when a Chief News Executive slanders the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces.

  • richard mcenroe

    Hunter McDaniel

  • LB
  • Mark

    It’s been an excellent week. Two titans of the Left go down: Lynne Stewart and Jordan Eason. Those two weren’t anti-war. They were on the other side.

  • Mrs. Davis

    I have a feeling if we ever saw the tape, we’d say, “That guy lost it.” He wasn’t trying to say anything, he was emoting. I’d bet the powers that be at TimeWarner got the tape from Davos, saw it and said resign now or we release it.
    When Gannon or Armstrong Williams run CNN, the NYT or CBS, there will be something to get. Until then, they are small fry non-stories compared to Jordan, Raines and Rather. The MSM better wake up if they want to keep their big salaries.

  • Sandy P

    Didn’t he make an allegation like that in 2002?
    This wasn’t a 1-off remark.

  • Steel Magnolia

    This is not good news!
    Without the tape to establish what Jordan actually said, his resignation only confirms the suspicions of those who claim it’s not wise to speak “truth” to power lest you be forced to retract & retire from the field, if not worse.
    Jordon’s explanation could almost be designed to sound like the statement of a man recanting under duress. It is critically important, both to the credibility of the blogosphere and to Jordan’s audience overseas, to establish that he was not simply hounded out of business by an internet hack pack or by those who hold the reigns of political power.
    Many have referred to “the public’s right to know.” Jordan, as one of the most powerful purveyors of what we know, owes us clarity and facts, both of which are at his immediate disposal.

  • Voiceguy in LA

    CNN has the story up on its site now (as of 8:40 EST).

  • Maybe they wanted to fire him anyway and this was a good excuse to mutually part ways.

  • charlotte

    Jordan’s remarks were a matter of “saying something stupid”? Stupid as in war protestors calling our troops “baby killers” way back when? Fast forward to today, and it’s just stupid for a top news exec to call our troops “journo killers” and “journo torturers” in an international forum?
    Jordan’s past statements of a similar nature would convince even OJ’s jurors that this was not an innocent case of “foot in the mouth”. The glove fits.

  • charlotte

    Um, lest I pull a CNN: Let the record show that Jordan seemed to strongly imply “journo killers” and “journo torturers”, at least as far as many smart people who heard his remarks believed. Jordan’s actual words are not, in fact, known because certain people do not wish for them to be precisely known, else the tape would be released.

  • lk

    Jason Ejordan should roast in hell for …. saying something out of his mouth. Let’s have a Congressional investigation, and a trial in Salem, Mass. Let justice be done. How many dead in Iraq today? Zero, Americans that is. Good for our side.

  • lk

    “You have shown that America is, in fact, a land of liberators, not a land of occupiers,” Rumsfeld said, adding that he wished those two words did not translate into the same word in Arabic.

  • Chris Josephson

    It’s too bad he resigned. The accusation Jordan made against our military still stands and has not been addressed.
    For those who believe Jordan was telling the truth, he now becomes the poster child for ‘persecuted journalists’.
    I wanted to get these accusations out in the open and have them examined, on a case by case basis, possibly by a congressional committee.
    As someone who has family in the military, the idea that someone in Jordan’s position could believe them capable of targeting journalists is revolting. Why did he seem to hate our soldiers so much to slander them this way?

  • kl

    “Jason Ejordan should roast in hell for …. saying something out of his mouth.”
    Well, “Ejordan” was talking out of some orifice in his body, it’s true.
    “Let’s have a Congressional investigation, and a trial in Salem, Mass. Let justice be done. How many dead in Iraq today? Zero, Americans that is. Good for our side.”
    I’ve heard that getting plenty of vitamin C can help with the comedown. Good luck.

  • lk

    KL – Vitamin C does not help. The only solution is Republican Kool Aid, I pass.

  • Steel Magnolia

    I note that Jordan released his statement very late on a Friday, and surely we all know what that means by now! Oh, the irony!

  • LT

    funny. I really haven’t seen any comments from his defenders of a day before. hmm.

  • richard mcenroe

    Release the tape? Hmm. Because seeing pictures of Eason accusing US troops of murdering journalists and then watching a crowd of Europeans and Arabs pat him on the back would have played so well in the States.
    Yep, that would help.

  • Hard to believe CNN would throw over one of its own ideologues without more of a reason than Jordon becoming an even larger hit in elitists’ circles.
    My sense is only big money is this sobering on the left. Is CNN being sued by the heirs of Saddam’s sons-in-law for wrongful death? Perhaps enough $$ at risk to put them out of business?

  • I don’t believe for a second that anything about this was a mistake, except for the attempt to stick it out as long as he did. I just don’t believe it. I believe that Jordan attempted to get away with a sly insinuation and he simply played it too close to the bone.
    Go ahead: ask me to believe that a man in Jordan’s position is too bloody dim to properly select the words of a statement like that; that he didn’t realize what he was saying. I could smile and nod my head all day long with the best of them.
    But I’m never going to believe that.
    “What’s the goal of these hunts? To get people fired? Or to get to the truth? I’d like to think it is the latter. If Dan Rather had come out the day after his report and said, ‘Thank you,’ to thebloggers and sought the truth…”
    He didn’t do that, Jeff, because he didn’t care about the truth. “These hunts” are about what Rather didn’t care about, and they’re conducted by people sick and tired of bullshit, and who can now talk back to let the Rathers and Jordans know what time it is.
    This “mistakes were made” hedge went to seed a long time ago. It’s way past time that these creeps got planted under it.

  • J. Peden

    I knew the CIA had something to do with it.

  • LT

    hey j.p.
    don’t forget that its a conspiracy too.

  • kl

    “The only solution is Republican Kool Aid, I pass.”
    Sounds like somebody’s been potty-training!

  • Hey, Jeff, when you’re celebrating the same things as Lucianne-freakin-Goldberg, do you wonder why I laugh when you say you’re a “liberal”? If Jordan said the things he’s alleged to, he deserves total scorn. But we still don’t know. Doesn’t matter anymore. So, who do we target next? “I heard Jeff Jarvis say he likes to starve kitties” Pass it on.

  • LT

    Oliver you know the difference is that there were credible witnesses who all heard the same thing. Most notably, congressman Barney Frank, an outspoken war opponent. Plus, there is a transcript, which curiously we haven’t heard, i presume only because CNN and Jordan don’t want it known what was actually said. Must be a real barn-burner when its easier to resign, than release the tape and explain. Your example is a poor one, as the Jordan comments are far from “I heard he likes…pass it on” Nor does it truly defame someone, or accuse someone of murder.

  • EverKarl

    Let’s just note that some in the employ of a self-proclaimed group of media watchdogs had no interest in seeing a tape of what the (now former) head of CNN’s news division had to say at the World Economic Forum about the actions of U.S. troops.
    Instead, their focus was on a previously obscure hack who went by the nom de plume of Jeff Gannon. Like Jeff, I think both were stories. However, it’s worth noting that Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at the Poynter Institute, said the investigation of Gannon’s personal life crossed traditional boundaries and was characterized by “mean-spiritedness and snarkiness.” I would say that’s a media story also.
    I would give those folks some credit for not going with the “maybe the U.S. military is targeting journalists” defense of Eason’s Jordan’s remarks, but for the probability that they will get ’round to it in due course.

  • J. Peden

    Oliver, I hope for your sake you don’t bore yourself as much as you do us poor hapless others. I beg for mercy.
    But, then again, perhaps it is not possible to either bore you or not bore you, the blank slate remaining resolutely blank?

  • “Hey, Jeff, when you’re celebrating the same things as Lucianne-freakin-Goldberg, do you wonder why I laugh when you say you’re a “liberal”?”
    I believe, from what I can gather of O-Dub’s ranting that if anybody agrees with anything a conservative believes they cannot be a “true” liberal. Hmm, so if some conservatives believe in the death penalty and some conservatives don’t the course for a “true” liberal would be agnosticism on the death penalty issue.
    That’s a neato strategy, Filet-O-Fish.
    Some conservatives believe in breathing. Should each “true” liberal hold their breath.
    And I wonder why liberals support this CNN guy anyway. I thought they were upset with the conservative MSM. Why does the great O-Dub come out to attack when a CNN exec gets into trouble if, in fact, he’s not trying to defend a liberal establishment guy? Is the morbid gynecomastia affecting your brain?
    I find it easier to condemn stupidity and foolishness without regard to source. Would that Mr. Filet was so inclined.

  • gerad

    I wouldn’t put it past the military to target journalists. We should not be over there, Bush is an idiot, God help us all as he drags this country down.

  • Brad:
    Like you, I am ‘bummed’ that this story is appearing in the entertainment section, at CNN and AP wire. If it weren’t news, very real news, where did the resignation come from?
    It seems to have been a foolishness inspired in a newsperson who should have been above that, possibly by a sympathetic audience and the context of being off the record.
    Which in view of the fact the same newsperson admitted to holding back on truth to keep his sources friendly in Iraq, makes me really look forward to the first reporter that leaps in with real facts, real background, and reports on the story behind the ‘mis-speak’.
    I even hope that pressure from knowing the net is full of news blogs that won’t dodge real issues will bring on a reprise by the MSM of its courting ‘sources’ by keeping the news soft.

  • LT

    YOu know what really drags are country down? Slandering, defaming, baseless allegations(this one is murder by the way) by “respectable” people. What do you know about the military? I would like for you to educate me. Since you wouldn’t put it passed US (myself included, since I am a soldier) to target journalists, tell me what you know about operations etc. Please tell me what you think we would gain from doing this. Your argument is as hollow as those of Alterman, Lukasiak and others – “(it is possible, so it must happen”(thanks j.peden) As I will tell anyone in here, our guys are the best, and the good guys by the way, and they deserve better than some of your crowd give them credit for. You know, you could always pick up a rifle and come over here and set the example for us all…

  • Ken C.

    CNN — I mean, to me, this is absolutely incredible — this guy says at a big conference in Davos that the U.S. military is deliberately targeting and assassinating American journalists. Huh? He still has a job, huh? You got a take on that?
    COULTER: Would that it were so!
    KUDLOW: Would what were so?
    COULTER: That the American military were targeting journalists.

  • rastajenk

    I have the feeling that the climate at CNN is not going to change all that much just ’cause this guy is gone. This result pleases me, but the mainstream press’s playing fast and loose with the truth will continue on and on and on…..

  • timmah

    Maybe the video leaked out, and they wanted to get rid of Eason before it aired?
    And what if MacKinnon gets the causality backwards: it’s not differences between journalists and soldiers coloring the news, its the coloring of the news that’s causing the differences between the two parties. I think this is why big media has tried to ignore the story: they really really don’t want journalism in Iraq to become a story.

  • Papa Ray

    I admit I have not read all the comments here, so forgive me if I repeat what I am sure someone else has said.
    What exactly is it that you don’t understand?
    How someone can screw up his life and an excellent job by making a BIG mistake. Hey, it happens thousands of times a day all over these United States. On the one hand, the big people, or what ever you want to call them, think after years of success that they are bullet proof or at least (in their minds) safer than the average person. The little person, knows if he screws up, he will be drawing unemployment (if he’s lucky) and eating beanie weinies for months.
    Did the bloggers bring him down..well, yea, they did but not to the extent that they would like to believe. I think as soon as the words left his mouth he understood that he had just dug his grave.
    Is all this a good thing (as our imprisoned Martha would say), not for him, he and we know for sure. But I say it is a good thing in this way.
    This instance in one man’s life will teach others (no matter how powerful and bullet proof they think that they are) to watch very carefully what they say in public.
    Life is a lesson in small bits that can make large bytes out of your life.
    Papa Ray
    West Texas

  • Brad

    Thanks, I was wondering if I was just partisan or crazy for thinking this story being found in the entertainment sections is jaw dropping. Seriously, when did news get classified as Entertainment? Jeff, who is supposed to be a media watchdog, and if he is that, I hope he smells this hypocrisy too. All Jeff needs to do is look where the Gannon stories are placed; Politics sections.
    If nobody wants to blog this, at least now I know CNN takes itself as serious as I take them.They’re just entertainment.

  • Brad:
    Also note the number of ‘News’ sections/classifications today carrying items on the NY sculpture, GATES, opened today in Central Park.
    I guess if it sells papers it’s news? But if it doesn’t reflect well on the paper involved, it’s entertainment?