RConversation received the following e-mail today. It brings a fresh angle, I think, to the Eason Jordan resignation:
In December of 2002 [NOTE: His original email said 2003 but Mr. Ericksen has now corrected this] my Army Public Affairs unit was deployed for the coming war. While we were making deployment preparations in Georgia we took a trip to the Atlanta CNN Headquarters. We were being posted to Kuwait as the primary unit responsible for dealing with the US and international media and it was a way to better familiarize ourselves with that world. As part of the trip to CNN we met Eason Jordan.
Jordan’s talk was on CNN's relationship with the military surprised most of us on how almost Republican it was. He seemed to be quite bullish on the coming war, talking about the need for change in the Middle East. When asked about the biased reporting of Arab media he said that all media reports from the Middle East should be looked on as being propaganda rather than reporting as we thought on it. He pointed to the fact that Al-Jazeera’s Iraq Bureau Chief was a former employee of the Iraqi Ministry of Information. He said that many of the Arab media reports were suspect or were known to have been staged. He said that these were facts that they were well aware of but couldn’t raise lest they seem to have a pro-American bias. He said that they tried to provide a balance to this reporting by showing the true positive reality of American interaction in the world and the US military in specific. I left thinking that somehow I had never realized that CNN and Fox were doing the same reporting but for the nuances. I was slapped back to reality during the war with CNN’s reporting.
I reflected on that memory as I was reading about Jordan resigning. Too many on the Right Jordan’s assertions at Davos are evidence of a fatal liberal bent. Possibly. It is just as likely that Jordan got caught playing to his audience. The European media has vulgarly distorted most of the reporting in Iraq. They believe that US soldiers are targeting and killing reporters in Iraq. Jordan just made the mistake of pandering to one of their basic views of Iraq. It is difficult for me to reconcile his reported statements with the almost pro war Jordan I met two years ago. Jordan may simply be a chameleon willing to wave the flag one moment to curry favor with one group and then burn it the next with another.
Whatever the truth is I think the power of the blog is here to stay. Jordan was fired for comments he thought were off the record. When Jordan walked into that room two years ago and spoke to my Army unit for 15 minutes, he must have thought he would never be questioned regarding his statements. Would he stand by his saying that reporting in Arab media is propaganda? That CNN tries to balance Arab propaganda by reporting positive stories on US intentions? Somehow I don’t think so. The blog is here to say because it gives a forum for truths the major media chooses to kill with silence. It holds the media accountable as it has never had to be before.
UPDATE: In response to questions Mr. Ericksen has provided further information about his background as follows:
After the war we moved to the Republican Palace in Baghdad were I worked as the Public Affairs Officer for Iraqi Education." Ericksen's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org and he is happy to answer further questions.