CNN’S TOP news executive has left his job abruptly after 23 years, following claims that he accused US forces of deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq.
Eason Jordan told a panel at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that the US military had targeted journalists during its operations.
Speaking in a discussion entitled “Will Democracy Survive the Media?” he said he “knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy”.
US congressman Barney Frank, who was on the panel with Jordan, said the CNN chief discussed in detail the plight of an Al-Jazeera reporter who had been detained by American forces, was made to eat his shoes while incarcerated in the Abu Ghraib prison, and was repeatedly mocked by his interrogators as “Al-Jazeera boy”.
In November, Jordan had reportedly told a gathering of global news executives in Portugal that he believed journalists had been arrested and tortured by US forces. And in October 2002 he accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel “on numerous occasions”.
Right wing commentators reacted with fury to Jordan’s remarks and on Monday he announced his resignation “to prevent CNN being unfairly tarnished by my remarks, which were misinterpreted”.
More than 50 journalists and media workers have been killed in Iraq since the US invasion.