October 19, 2005



This cartoon was originally posted in February during the Eason Jordan controversy. Jordan, then CNN's chief news executive, had accused the U.S. military of "targeting" journalists during battle. And though he later resigned, a CNN report today indicates that his legacy lives on: Spanish judge wants U.S. soldiers arrested.

A Spanish judge issued an international arrest warrant Wednesday for three U.S. soldiers, charging them with murder in the death of Spanish TV cameraman Jose Couso in Baghdad, Iraq.

Couso, who worked for Spain's Telecinco network, died at the Palestine Hotel on April 8, 2003, as U.S. forces advanced to take control of the city in April 2003. ...

The warrant said the soldiers were assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and identified them as Sgt. Thomas Gibson, commander of the tank that allegedly fired a projectile at the hotel where Couso was filming; Capt. Philip Wolford, Gibson's superior; and Lt. Colonel Philip D. Camp, the captain's superior, CNN+ reported.

Setting aside the absurdity of the Spanish arrest warrants (see Barcepundit for commentary on that issue), let's look at the Palestine Hotel incident itself. Being a news organization, one would expect CNN to relate all important information regarding the incident. Here's what the article mentions:

The U.S. Central Command said at the time that U.S. forces came under "significant enemy fire" from both buildings [the Iraq's Ministry of Information and the nearby Palestine Hotel] and responded "consistent with the inherent right of self-defense." ...

Journalists from three Western television networks told CNN they were in the Palestine Hotel when the tank fired and saw no outgoing fire from it.

In short, the CNN article essentially repeats (and links to) the original CNN report from the time of the incident. Has no new information come out since then? Were there no other witnesses or reporters on the scene? Are we to believe that U.S. soldiers may have deliberately targeted journalists?

If you want to know more about what happened, what other journalists have reported, or if you just want to read some excellent combat reporting, I highly recommend a post by Grayhawk from February: Targeting Journalists. Two journalists (from the Boston Herald and the Los Angles Times) provide their accounts of the Palestine Hotel incident from the perspective of the troops on the ground, and they leave no doubt as to why an accidental firing took place. I can't recommend this post too strongly, for it not only provides crucial information about a tragic incident used to slander our military, it also documents the difficult and heroic efforts of our troops.

The question is, why hasn't CNN read these reports? And if they have, why didn't they relate them in the today's story?

Posted by Forkum at October 19, 2005 11:34 PM