Friday, February 18, 2005

Eason Jordan had to go.

A comment on an article by Jane Galt has finally convinced me that Eason Jordan had to go:
As Mr. Walser points out, Jordan was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. If the accusations had any merit, he was guilty of chickening out of his duty to follow up on them and report them - the ultimate sin for a professional journalist. If they were baseless, then he is guilty of the vilest slander. In retrospect, it's no wonder he was forced out.
Thusly convinced, I am still thinking about the opposite perspective, which I'll now share.

What would be the reaction to publishing one of the stories that Jordan was talking about (such as this one)? I suspect it would be the same as the reaction to Jordan's remarks themselves: how dare you criticize the military! Viewers of the story would (correctly) note that it was an honest mistake on the part of a soldier in the fog of war, and they'd ask, why is this a story? Here's the kind of reaction I'm talking about, to a story in which a soldier shot an unarmed and wounded enemy.
Yes, it's technically a war crime. Yes, he should have grabbed him and taken him prisoner instead of shooting him. But did we really expect him to do that? Do we really expect that our soldiers are in full possession of their thoughts and senses all the time and that they always do the right thing, even in combat? Are we that naive, do we think that war is that sanitary and easy?
Is this why CNN didn't report the stories? We can only speculate. Does that make them negligent in their duty to inform the public? I think so.
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