Echoing a claim that led to CNN executive Eason Jordan’s resignation, the president of the 35,000-member Newspaper Guild asserted U.S. troops deliberately are killing journalists in Iraq.
Linda Foley, speaking Friday in St. Louis, said the American attacks are focused particularly on Arab journalists, according to a tape aired by Sinclair Broadcasting’s “The Point,” a commentary segment by Mark Hyman.
The remarks came as Newsweek magazine continued to manage fallout for a report in its May 9 edition that sparked protests and rioting across the Muslim world resulting in at least 17 dead, scores injured, relief buildings burned down and a setback to years of coalition-building against terrorists.
Earlier this year, Jordan, CNN’s chief news executive, suggested at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that some of the 63 journalists killed in Iraq had been specifically targeted by U.S. troops. Jordan quickly backed off his suggestion, but constant exposure from political weblogs led to his resignation. He also admitted last year that CNN withheld news of atrocities taking place in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein because the network was afraid it might lose access to the country.
According to a tape of her remarks, Foley said: “Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or … ah, or … ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um … in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there’s not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq.”
Foley continued, “They target and kill journalists … uh,
from other countries, particularly Arab countries like Al -, like Arab news services like al-Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios with impunity. …”
Hyman called on Foley to immediately present evidence to support her claims or resign.
“Unfortunately, the damage may have already been done,” he said. “Her remarks could lead to further bloodshed, including against Americans.”
Hyman concluded: “The question is whether Newspaper Guild members will hold Foley accountable or will they give her a free pass in endangering American lives with inflammatory remarks without any proof?”
The Newspaper Guild posted an April 15 article on its website that blames the U.S. for the deaths of journalists Jos? Couso and Taras Protsyuk, April 8, 2003, at the Palestine Hotel. They were on a balcony watching the Third Infantry tank division exchange fire with Iraqi forces, the report said. After a lull in the battle, a U.S. tank fired an incendiary shell at the hotel. U.S. officials say the troops believed they were taking fire from the hotel.