Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tariq Ayoub

Undoubtedly you have heard about CNN canning bigwig Eason Jordan for remarks he made at the recent Davos conference that he knew of specific incidents of the US military deliberately killing journalists in Iraq. Jordan almost immediately backtracked, but the rabid right blogosphere had already got their fangs in him, and apparently that was enough. On the left Arvin Hill is particularly unsympathetic, and so is Slate's Jack Shafer*, coming at it from vastly different perspectives. I'll admit I haven't watched any teevee in a few days, so strictly speaking, I don't know if CNN, MSNBC, Fox, et al ever examined his statement in any other way besides repudiating it. They may have.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ha.

Ok, so it's a feeble joke.
Jordan didn't lose his job because he made a rash and false assertion then recanted. More likely he lost his job because he made a rash and truthful assertion, at which point his recanting was only a favor he did for the rest of the media whores, because it "absolved" them of having to do any reporting about it.
[*or the ostensible left, as the case may be, since all journalists are no-good lefties.]

If you don't believe me, look at this Guardian story from 2001(ok, so that was Afghanistan.).

Or, this Al-Jazeera report from the first battle of Fallujah, from April of 2004.

Or this, from Australia's Sydney Morning Herald:.

Commentary by Antony Loewenstein
June 9, 2004 05:46 PM

The targeting of journalists and media organisations now appears to be standard practice by elements of the American military. Too many reporters have been injured or killed during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts for these incidents to be dismissed as mere accidents. Serious questions remain, and US military reports into the bombing or shooting of unarmed journalists leave the disturbing impression that the "war on terror" means more than we've been told so far.

"Management had already given them the co-ordinates of our offices [in Baghdad]," Abdullah said. "Despite all the negative references to al-Jazeera in the American official’s press conference, we thought we were safe in dealing with a democracy that respects freedom of the press. Then came the 8th of April [2003] when early in the morning our offices were hit by a couple of air-born bombs. Our colleague,
Tariq Ayyoub, died instantly and our assistant cameraman was injured by shrapnel going into his neck.

"This was the third “accident” that happened to al-Jazeera. The first was in Kabul during the war in Afghanistan when four rockets accidentally hit our offices there. A few days before the hit on the Baghdad offices, another rocket accidentally hit the hotel at which our Basra team was staying. What was interesting about the accident in Basra is that it came when Tony Blair and his officials were telling the British public that the people of Basra were dancing in the streets celebrating their liberation. To this day, we havn’t receive any apology for any of these accidents."

[Lowenstein quotes Mahir Abdullah, senior correspondent for al-Jazeera.]

Abdullah continues:

"American politicians were full of praise for al-Jazeera when it was highlighting the shortcomings of some Arab regimes”, he says. They used to say we are furthering the cause of democracy when we were critical of Arab policies and politics. We still do the same today. Nothing changed as far as we can see. The only difference is that now the American media was overwhelmed by patriotism after the 11th of September."

It’s a view echoed by Arthur Neslen, former London correspondent for al-Jazeera.net. "Many al-Jazeera journalists have American passports, I’m sure," he tells me,
"People unable or unwilling to distinguish between concepts of a ‘country’ and a ‘country’s foreign policy’ should not be setting the terms of the debate."

[emphasis mine.]

In case you are curious, this is what Tariq Ayoub looked like:

I don't feel too bad for Eason Jordan either. I imagine him at breakfast with his wife:

"I guess I'm gonna have to go on the lecture circuit or something. I'll have to get an agent."

"You already have one dear."

"Oh. Yeah."