If I saw news that Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were opening a document analysis service I would not be any more surprised than I was to see who is heading a new Iraq information website. Editor & Publisher magazine reported this week that former CNN news division chief Eason Jordan is set to launch IraqSloggers, a one-stop spot for news from Iraq on the Web.
Jordan told Editor & Publisher the site “’grew out of the feeling that I think many people shared that there was no one place to go. Individual news organizations do terrific work but you can spend the better part of a day going from one site to another and one TV outlet to another,’ searching for a full picture.”
He continued to say that “Iraq is the story of our time” and that his goal for the site is for it to become “the world's premier Iraq-focused information source.”
The idea is a good one and the site, which has not officially launched, but is available online to the public, looks as if it could be a good source of news from Iraq. What I have a problem with is the past history of Jordan when it comes to news gathering and reporting in Iraq. There is plenty of news coming out of Iraq that is not reported by the mainstream media to the American public such as Arabic language reports and U.S. milblogger accounts. If this site were to get more of that information into American newspapers and onto the network newscasts, then it couid be a good thing. Jordan’s past does not give me confidence that will be the case though.
The author of the Editor & Publisher piece made a brief mention of the reason Jordan resigned from CNN after 23 years of employment, but did not give a full account of the circumstances. Jordan left CNN after bloggers called on him to explain some statements he made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Some participants in the event reported that in a panel discussion Jordan said U.S. troops in Iraq were targeting journalists. Jordan denied that is what he said, but said his comments “were not as clear as they should have been.” Blogger efforts to obtain a copy of the tape or transcript of the event were unsuccessful.