What else did Eason Jordan give North Korea?

Today’s Best of the Web has an intriguing piece by the usually outstanding James Taranto about Eason Jordan, North Korea, and some comments by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. It quotes a gentleman named Scott Fisher in his travelogue from that country to poke a little fun at Charles Johnson, who had criticized the Wall Street Journal and Bret Stephens for their snippy editorial on Easongate (which we have also done). Johnson, in a blog entry, had highlighted Jordan’s giving a gift to Kim Jong Il in 1997, possibly as a further indication of Jordan’s and CNN’s willingness to coddle the world’s tyrants. Taranto in turn pointed out this bit from Scott Fisher’s journal:

Ever wonder why CNN seems to be the only Western news organization regularly allowed into North Korea? The next room perhaps offered a clue. In the ‘Gifts from America’ room a whole section of one wall is taken up by gifts from CNN. A few engraved plaques, a coffee cup (yeah, a freaking coffee cup!), a logo ashtray, etc. Probably at most a couple hundred bucks worth of crap that nonetheless get pride of place in the museum – for they reveal obvious signs of respect from a world famous news organization. The people at CNN are certainly using their heads and showing they know how to play the game. Though one wonders how that fits in with journalistic integrity . . .

Interestingly, James Taranto left out the bolded sentences above, which leaves the emphasis of the paragraph on the cheesiness of the gifts, rather than their ethical implications. Then he added this as the coup de grace:

That’s it? In April 2003, when Jordan admitted suppressing news so as to maintain access to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, that was a genuine outrage. Now bloggers are attacking Jordan for giving a dictator crap?

Oh no, Mr. Taranto. Not just that. Jordan and CNN appear to have made a habit of giving far greater presents to tyrants. Perhaps you missed Jordan’s job description in the David Bauder AP article a few days ago, about which we reported:

“After several management restructurings at CNN, Jordan actually had no current operational responsibility over network programming. But he was CNN’s chief fix-it man overseas, arranging coverage in dangerous or hard-to-reach parts of the world.”

In 1997, of course, Eason Jordan was still the head of CNN International, so he was Mr. Fix-it then — and a whole lot more as well. Let’s see what Eason Jordan was up to in 1997, and see if it fits his well-established pattern of slanting the news for dictators. There was the May 1997 CNN report about face-to-face meetings between the US and North Korea over MIA’s from the Korean War. That is certainly real news, perhaps a bit positive for NK. Not much criticism there. Then there was the puff piece in November 1997 about North Korea beginning to allow some private enterprise. That piece hailing a “radical departure” from state policy seems ridiculously misleading and favorable to a Stalinist regime famed for starving its people.

But let’s go to the horse’s, um, mouth, for the heart of the story, from Korean news website Kimsoft on August 14, 1997.

Wednesday night at 6:30pm ET CNN ran a special, “Inside North Korea,” based on the reporting of CNN International President Eason Jordan who managed to get into North Korea. Anchor Jonathan Mann asked who or what are being blamed for the lack of food. Jo rdan replied:

“It depends on whom you talk to. The international relief agencies, some of the people who work there say that the plight of the people here is not just the fault of Mother Nature, that it’s also the government’s economic policies and agriculture policies .

Government officials dispute that and they say this is solely a problem generated by Mother Nature and only Mother Nature can solve this problem. So there’s a real dispute about the blame in this case, but General Kim Jong Il has been personally involved in this. He has ordered all of the entire army, hundreds of thousands of troops, into the countryside to help the farmers try to harvest what crops will survive.”

Another example of the problem with Western reporters applying Western journalistic norms to reporting from an oppressive nation. Jordan gave equal weight to views of both the communist regime and the relief workers, as if each are equally credible. And the fact that the General “is personally involved in this” is more ironic than reassuring. In a closed off, backward nation run by a military dictatorship the army is hardly the solution to anything.

Eason Jordan gave that report on August 14, 1997. That was the real present to Kim Jong Il. Two days later Jordan gave him the “crap” to which the Taranto piece refers.

Mr. Fix-it used to be a very busy man, delivering presents to the dictatorships of the world on behalf on CNN.

3 Responses to “What else did Eason Jordan give North Korea?”

  1. Michelle Malkin » Trump-ed up: You won’t believe what Eason Jordan’s up to now Says:

    […] CNN head Eason Jordan is the disgraced journalist who showered gifts on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and heaped praise on Fidel Castro for inspiring the creation of CNN […]

  2. Trump-ed up: You won’t believe what Eason Jordan’s up to now | Conservatives for America Says:

    […] CNN head Eason Jordan is the disgraced journalist who showered gifts on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and heaped praise on Fidel Castro for inspiring the creation of CNN […]

  3. New GOP debate will be brought to you by … « Hot Air Says:

    […] CNN head Eason Jordan is the disgraced journalist who showered gifts on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and heaped praise on Fidel Castro for inspiring the creation of CNN […]

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