Jordan submitted his resignation under escalating pressure from above and below, claiming he sought "to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts." Jeff Jarvis doesn't get why Jordan had to go:
If he had been upfront about what he said from the start; if he had demanded that Davos release the tape and transcript; if he had admitted to putting his foot in his mouth and apologized and said he was wrong; if he'd done that, he'd still have a job.Jay Rosen at NYU has a round up of events leading up to Jordan's departure, David Gergen explains the context in which Jordan's remarks occurred, while CNN reporter-turned blogger Rebecca MacKinnon suspects that the as yet unreleased Davos tape of his comments would have put a final nail in Jordan's coffin. MacKinnon adds:
"I am amazed that anybody in this day and age still expects a gathering of more than 10 people to remain off the record. . . . The point is, there are clearly some real tensions and disagreements about what's been taking place on the ground in Iraq -- and why. As a member of the audience during the now-infamous panel, one thing was very clear to me: bad feeling between U.S. servicepeople and journalists in Iraq is coloring news coverage."Another thing has become clear: Hunting down journalists -- not in Iraq, but on the net -- has become the newest bloodsport.
As Howard Kurtz [also a CNN employee] notes in Saturday's Washington Post, bloggers Jonah Goldberg, Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin began hammering Jordan almost immediately after Davos attendee Rony Abovitz posted an online account. The Washington Post and Boston Globe published stories Tuesday and the Miami Herald, AP and Wall Street Journal chimed in on Thursday. It soon became pundit fodder for talk shows on Fox News [ingloriously featuring my colleague Danny Schechter], MSNBC and CNBC.
The problem is that much of the story was driven by those seeking to score political points. Any new and accurate information that they uncover is just a byproduct of the hunt.
This controversy mounted as mainstream news reporters fed off the blogs; their resulting coverage stoked the ranting pundits on the endless cable talk shows. The media storm then spun back into the blogosphere, which ratcheted the frenzy up another notch. And so on.
Former CNN News Group Chairman Walter Isaacson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Jordan was dedicated to "the value of hard reporting by real journalists who braved going out into the field, like he so often did, rather than merely opining. It's ironic that he was brought down partly by talk-show and blogging folks who represent the opposite approach and have seldom...ventured out to do...frontline reporting."
Bertrand Pecquerie, Director of the World Editors Forum, [and someone who has written articles for me at MediaChannel.org] is concerned that the blogosphere has raised the specter of a much-reviled American Senator. “Real promoters of citizen media [blogs] would have to take some distance with those who have fuelled and organized the Eason Jordan hatred. If not, the 'new era of journalism' opened by the blogosphere will appear as the old clothes of American populism,” Pecquerie writes in a post at editorsweblog. He later explains that by "American populism" he is referring the 1950’s communist witch hunts of US Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Bertrand is a champion of old-school journalism, a passion that manifests itself often in seemingly dated assaults on American bloggers. Take his McCarthy call with a grain of salt, knowing that his mandate at the WEF is to protect the interests of his members: established newspeople.
Still, we are now seeing the rise of a unruly media watchdog, which may have the effect of muzzling more journalists who want to speak out.
The left got their trophy head in Jeff Gannon on Tuesday, now the right are hoisting theirs. Meanwhile the public cynicism about journalism grows. Perhaps the biggest victim in all of this is the credibility of those many reporters who do do honest work.