'the most hideous allegation that could be made'

J$P instant Transcript! Danny Schechter and Brent Bozell debate EasonGate.

From Hannity and Colmes, February 8 2005:

ALAN COLMES [FOX NEWS]: A chief news executive at CNN, Eason Jordan, has placed himself in the center of another controversy. Jordan told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month that the US military may be targeting journalists in Iraq. Joining us now the President of the Media Research Center, and the director of WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception, Danny Schechter, our news dissector. Danny look, you have some emails from Eason Jordan, you've discussed this with him.

DANNY SCHECHTER: Well not only that, I also talked with journalists who were at the Palestine Hotel that day, who are raising questions about why, not only why they were attacked, but also why there was never any independent investigation.

COLMES: Well what did Eason Jordan say?

SCHECHTER: Eason Jordan basically said that he would rather not talk about it any more. He said that he was not as clear as he wanted to be. And he raised the question, the possibility, that as many as 12 journalists were somehow targeted or killed by American military.

COLMES: But he went on to clarify--

SCHECHTER: He didn't go on to say that it was the American soldiers that did it, that there was, implying in a sense that there was a policy of some kind to target journalists in Iraq. And there are many journalists in Iraq who believe that.

COLMES: All right, but Brent Bozell, he went on to clarify that he did not mean to imply--and sometimes we misspeak and we want to misspeak and we want to clarify, we always have the option to do that, and hopefully people will believe our good intentions. He went on to clarify that he never implied or meant to imply that they were targeting people because they were journalists. Right?

BRENT BOZELL [MRC]: Yeah, here's the problem first of all, Alan. We don't know exactly what he said, because this was an off the record meeting. But I think it's preposterous for him to say he doesn't want to talk about it any more. What you've got out of people that were there, who heard his remarks, who are shocked by what he said--a liberal Democratic Senator from Connecticut is outraged by it. Barney Frank said, and quoting directly, he said that in his remarks, that he said the soldiers did this, maybe knowing they were killing journalists out of anger. Knowing they were killing journalists. I can't think of a more hideous charge to make against our men and women who are fighting and dying in Iraq, to say that they're deliberately killing journalists, and not being able to back that one up.

COLMES: I think that he clarified that. I don't know exactly what he said. But maybe--

SCHECHTER: Why don't we talk about what happened, OK? Your name is Tariq Ayub. You were the bureau chief of Al Jazeera at the Arab Media Center, the same day as the Palestine Hotel was shelved. You had sent to the Pentagon the coordinates of the Arab Media Center, everybody knew it was there. You're up on the roof; you're watching a plane come closer, an American plane. Suddenly it strafes you and your building, OK? This happened; he died. They're not happy about it, believe me. They feel that Al Jazeera was targeted, and it was also attacked earlier in Afghanistan. So there's a feeling among many that this happened. I spoke, I was at the Arab Media Summit, and spoke to a journalist from Reuters. And I asked her was there an independent investigation of this? Reuters had asked the Pentagon for an independent investigation. There was none.

SEAN HANNITY [FOX NEWS]: All right Danny, you're arguing things that frankly, if you want to argue them privately, if you want to produce evidence and you want the world to look at it, you have the capability of doing it. That's not what is at issue here. You have, as my good friend Brent Bozell said here, Senator Dodd, Barney Frank, outraged that in fact he made these allegations without any evidence, proof, or substantiation. And within a week, what he needs to do now--

SCHECHTER: Well, he may have been weak. He may have been weak in making an argument. But the International Federation of Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and other groups that have investigated this--

HANNITY: You're saying that our troops are targeting journalists?

SCHECHTER: Not our troops, that there's been a policy that has favored imbedded journalists over independent journalists--

HANNITY: By who?

SCHECHTER: --that many Arab journalists are hassled, harassed, and killed in Iraq under suspicious circumstances.

HANNITY: Do you have--but that's not what he said--do you have any evidence? Because here's what's happening here--

SCHECHTER: Yeah, I have some evidence. I have some evidence.

HANNITY: --you throw out, wait a minute, you throw out these wild allegations, it's outrageous, with no evidence. Wait a minute. If you have evidence that we have a policy of targeting journalists, then you need not put our troops in harm's way.

SCHECHTER: No, I don't say--I don't think--

HANNITY: Because you know what, Danny? People hear you, and they hear Eason Jordan, and they react to it, and they really believe that.

SCHECHTER: You're arguing--Eason Jordan was offering an opinion about what he believed. I made a film, Weapons of Mass Deception, WMD, and it features a section about, and asks the question were journalists targeted. Were they targeted? And many people believe they were.

HANNITY: Many people believe. I think. I feel.

SCHECHTER: And the journalists--I'm talking about journalists that were there, who I interviewed.

BOZELL: Can I ask a question? Can I ask a question?

HANNITY: Brent, hang on Brent.

SCHECHTER: We're looking at footage now of what happened to these journalists inside the hotel, and there was no satisfactory explanation given.

HANNITY: All right, let me go to Brent.

BOZELL: Can I ask a simple question? Because this is, I want to repeat, this is the most hideous possible allegation that could be made. If this gentleman can't back it up with a piece of evidence he ought to apologize right now.

HANNITY: But there's more to this--hang on one second--

SCHECHTER: Well I'd like to try if I could get a word in edgewise.

HANNITY: There's more to this, Brent, here, than anything else he wants us to watch his movie. And that's fine, but this is a separate issue. The issue here is--

BOZELL: And Eason Jordan, by the way, is backpedaling from this very statement.

HANNITY: But the point is the statement was made--witnesses, Democrats, we don't often quote Sen Dodd and Barney Frank, Brent, but the jeopardy that we put our troops in harm's way, we make their job tougher. People believe propaganda. They hate the war and they become bigger targets. We're putting their lives in jeopardy with reckless statements. That's why this is so irresponsible.

BOZELL: And quite frankly, I don't give, I absolutely--

SCHECHTER: And if somebody lobbed a tank shell into this studio, you'd want an investigation, wouldn't you? And there was no investigation.

BOZELL: --I absolutely don't give a damn what Al Jazeera thinks about the American military or what they say about the American military. They have no credibility whatsoever in this debate.

SCHECHTER: They don't, they have a right not to be killed, and to do their job. You may not agree with them, but they have a right to do their job.

HANNITY: But do you have any proof that our troops targeted these guys? Or that any American--name names--do you know any American that supported a policy that would target journalists?

SCHECHTER: No I don't think it works that way, Sean. That's why I don't agree with the way you're framing it.

HANNITY: But that's what he said.

SCHECHTER: No, it wasn't a policy. The effect of, there wasn't responsibility taken by our military. A tank moved into the Palestine Hotel. Everybody in the world knew there were journalists in that hotel. The guy in the tank claims he didn't know it. He thought he was being fired on.

HANNITY: Until you get more information you should hold your fire.

BOZELL: In other words, not one shred of evidence.

SCHECHTER: I'm firing in the film, WMD, that makes the argument. Go see it and see for yourself.

HANNITY: I know, you want the world to go see your film. I got it.

COLMES: All right Danny, thank you. Thank you, Brent.

Postscript: See the video of this entire segment here.

posted: Wed - February 9, 2005 at 02:41 PM       j$p  send