- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A most common complaint I hear from our troops is that the media rarely report on the military’s good deeds.

One simple column I wrote last month lauding the humanitarian efforts of our men and women in the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, for example, resulted in an avalanche of mail from military members and their families expressing astonishment and relief over a bit of positive press.

“I cannot tell you how much that it meant to myself as well as several of my shipmates to be praised,” wrote Mariano Gonzales, a member of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 aboard the Lincoln. “Sometimes it seems that in today’s world, it is just not fashionable for someone in a position to influence public opinion to admit that the U.S. military’s role in the world involves more than just war and bloodshed.”

Well, with folks like powerful CNN executive Eason Jordan in charge ” a man who clearly has issues with the U.S. military ” it’s no wonder our troops so often feel smeared and slimed.

For the past week, Internet Web logs (“blogs”) round the world have buzzed about outrageous comments on U.S. soldiers reportedly made by Mr. Jordan, head of CNN’s news division, at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland. (My reporting on the controversy, with extensive links to other bloggers, is at www.michellemalkin.com.)

Several eyewitnesses say Mr. Jordan asserted Jan. 27 that U.S. military personnel deliberately targeted and killed reporters in Iraq. (Mr. Jordan has since disputed the characterization of his remarks.) Why wasn’t this headline news?

Forum organizers have stone-walled citizen attempts to gain access to a videotape or transcript of the Davos meeting. But American businessman Rony Abovitz, who attended the panel on which Mr. Jordan participated, reported immediately after the forum that “Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience [the anti-U.S. crowd] and cause great strain on others.”

Another panel attendee, historian Justin Vaisse, wrote on his blog that Mr. Jordan “didn’t mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalists in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and were made deliberate targets by ‘both sides.’ ”

On Monday, journalist and presidential adviser David Gergen, who moderated the panel, told me Mr. Jordan indeed claimed news personnel in Iraq had been targeted by military “on both sides.” Mr. Gergen said Mr. Jordan tried to backtrack, but then speculated about a few killings of journalists in the Middle East ” a discussion Mr. Gergen cut off because “the military and the government weren’t there to defend themselves.”

Panel member Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, also told me Mr. Jordan asserted journalists were deliberately targeted by the U.S. military and “left open the question” of individual cases in which U.S. troops targeted reporters.

Panel attendee Sen. Christopher Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, issued a statement in response to my inquiry, saying he “was outraged by the comments. Mr. Dodd is tremendously proud of the sacrifice and service of our American military personnel.”

Mr. Jordan’s defenders say he was “misunderstood” and deserves the “benefit of the doubt.” But the man’s record is one of incurable anti-American pandering.

Mr. Jordan admitted last spring that CNN withheld news out of Baghdad to maintain access to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was quoted last fall telling a Portuguese forum he believed reporters had been arrested and tortured by U.S. forces (a charge he maintains today). In autumn 2002, he reportedly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel “on numerous occasions.”

Mr. Jordan was in the middle of the infamous Tailwind scandal, in which CNN was forced to retract a Peter Arnett report that the American military used sarin gas against its own troops in Laos. In 1999, Mr. Jordan declared: “We are a global network, and we take global interest first, not U.S. interests first.”

Now, who is more deserving of the benefit of the doubt? Eason Jordan or our men and women on the battlefield?

I support the troops.

Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and is a contributor to Fox News Channel, a competitor of CNN.

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