ST. LOUIS (Jul. 30)
The gross mishandling of Wolf Blitzer, who has been twice ‘bumped’ from participation in the coverage of Vice President George Bush’s visit to Jordan, is an outrage which must not be repeated and which must be thoroughly investigated,” said Robert Cohn, president of the American Jewish Press Association and editor-in-chief of the St. Louis Jewish Light.
Cohn, head of the AJPA, a voluntary organization of 150 American Jewish newspapers and journalists, had issued an earlier statement based on the announcement that Blitzer, Washington bureau chief of The Jerusalem Post, would be allowed to participate in the Jordan trip after all.
“Blitzer, whose work is highly respected and appears in many of our publications, as well as The Jerusalem Post, is an outstanding journalist, who has been published in The New York Times and frequently appears on national television. He is a U.S. citizen with an American passport,” Cohn continued.
“The very idea that our respected colleague would be barred not once but twice is outrageous and totally unacceptable not only to the AJPA but to the interests of a vigorous free press in America and the Mideast. Indeed, it is contrary to the spirit of the Administration’s sponsored peace process itself.”
Cohn added: “It is incumbent on the Vice President as well as the White House to instruct their staff not to take it upon themselves to question the credentials of a respected American journalist attempting to do his job. Second, steps must be taken to guarantee that the full participation of all credentialed reporters on future official visits to any foreign capital must be assured as a pre-condition to such trips.
“While we applaud the effort of the Vice President to further the peace process through his current Mideast trip, we feel that his office as well as the government of Jordan, owe Blitzer and the entire American overseas press corps an apology for this mishandled matter as well as firm assurances that it will not be repeated,” Cohn concluded.