Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Another view on CNN's Jordan. Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, at Harvard's Kennedy School, makes a case for going slow on the matter of CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan, who confessed in last Friday's New York Times to covering up shocking acts by the Iraqi government in order to protect his own people.

"I think he stays. I think he made choices that every news organization has to make in a tough situation," Jones tells Media Log. And though he adds, "What I question is whether the access that he was essentially making that bargain for was at too dear a price," he also says: "I certainly wouldn't fire him for this. This is an anguishing situation."

Perhaps Jones's most salient point is that though Jordan is the first news executive to speak out about the unholy alliances that were made in order to keep reporters in Iraq, he may by no means be the last.

"We're going to have to hear from other news organizations, it seems to me," says Jones. "I would be very reluctant to cast the first stone." Noting that news organizations will bend to maintain access, Jones says, "It may be that he bent too far, but I've got a feeling that everybody is bent. That goes with being in a terrible place."

I'm too appalled by Jordan's actions to agree with Jones, but I certainly agree with him on this: let's have full disclosure from every major news executive who had to negotiate issues of access with the regime of Saddam Hussein, especially in the years following the Gulf War.

It might very well make for a fascinating and disturbing story.

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