Saturday, February 12, 2005

Bloggers Nail Another Skin to the Wall

Deer in the Headlights
CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit Friday night amid an on- and off-line furor over remarks he allegedly made about American soldiers intentionally killing journalists in Iraq. Jordan delivered the remarks while sitting on a January 26 panel of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While an actual tape of his comments has yet to be released, an attendee seeded news of the event in the blogosphere and ignited a firestorm.

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.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the boss of the "reporters who do honest work" is not honest or unbiased himself, will the end product be honest? No. Jordan had to go for CNN to have any semblance of honesty. This was not a witchhunt. It was the unveiling of bias that had always been denied.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that this was a "witch hunt" for a CNN exec. It was a demand for accountability. An important news person claimed the US military was targeting (killing)journalists. The news person offered no evidence. In another time he'd have gotten away with the slander. Not this time. Or ever again. It's a new world.

Anonymous said...

perhaps the honest journalists biggest fear should be bosses like jordan. let's not forget this is the same exec who admitted to covering up Iraqi torture stories and other atrocities committed by Saddam to keep open their Baghdad office open. if you don't let honest stories through and let lies permeate your way of doing business (like the targetting of journalists) you're either gonna get fired or be forced to resign.

Anonymous said...

The thing about witch hunts is that there's no such thing as witches. (Sorry, Wiccans.) There is, however, such a thing as claiming your country's troops are murdering your colleagues. If that's what he said, people want to see his proof. If that's not what he said, people want to know what he DID say. For whatever reason, he was unwilling or unable to do either of these and opted for door number 3.

Don't go blaming the bloggers for this. They wouldn't have had anything to write about if Jordan or anybody else at CNN had handled this competently. This is all on them.

Anonymous said...

I understand there's an opening for his kind at Al-Jazeera...

Anonymous said...

I join with the others here who note this has nothing to do with a "witch hunt"--it seems we have a coterie of globe-trotting, celebrity-driven mucky mucks who show up at the same events, wear the same school ties, and trade in the same fashionable attitudes; they've convinced themselves that their back-scratching, self-vetting network constitutes some elitist meritocracy. It don't. They ain't.

Raoul Ortega said...

Note also that objective of the Leftwing "witch hunt" was to insure that the diversity within the White House Press Corp™ was kept within acceptable limits by outing an unknown rigthwinger as a closet homosexual. We all know what happens when you let that kind of person into your group to upset the reactionary status quo.

Timothy Karr said...

I gather from the tone of the preceding comments, that MediaCitizen is getting plenty of visitors via the link on the National Review's website. I welcome you and agree that there are legitimate reasons for going after Jordan if he in fact said what all of you think he said. And his resignation would indicate that it's likely he did.

I must, however, reiterate that the zeal with which bloggers drove Eason from office was motivated more by their desire to score political points than to get at the truth of the issue. (The same occurred on the left side of the dial with mssr Gannon/Guckert).

The frequent squeals about a "liberal media" fall flat when one considers the manner with which this allegedly left-wing press corps handled the Clinton-Whitewater-Lewinsky-Starr affair of the not-so-distant past. Mainstream media's lock step march to war in early 2003 also speaks not of a “liberal agenda” but rather of a basic and systemic failure of our Fourth Estate.

The anti-elitist rant that conservatives are the outsider voice in Washington is also completely bogus. One need only count the members of Congress, the Supreme Court and note the party affiliation of the present White House occupant to know for certain which political wing has their hands on the tiller of state. The other power base in America -- colossal corporations -- hardly represent a left position in our national fabric. I can continue the laundry list if you like. Suffice to say any effort to paint conservatives as outside elite circles in this country is laughable.

And that bit about "celebrity mucky-mucks" is merely mouthing GOP talking points. So trite.

Raul, you're buying Gannon's bleat that he was the sole conservative voice in the White House gaggle, without scanning the list of permanent pass holders -- a list that includes correspondents from WorldNetDaily, the Washington Times, Fox News Channel, Forbes.com, The New York Post, Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal and even the National Review among many others. Sole conservative voice, my foot. Sole conservative buffoon, perhaps.

Gannon's ouster wasn’t a media bias issue, no matter how hard you spin it. Gannon asked questions designed not to get information from Bush but to demonstrate his allegiance to him, not to mention his disgust with Democrats and his own ostensible colleagues. As Montopoli wrote, “real journalists, the ones who belong in press conferences, know that access to a president is a rare gift, and they know enough not to squander it. Gannon threw away his opportunity in favor of self-aggrandizing partisan spectacle. He put himself and his agenda ahead of the public good, and he did it in a manner so egregious that he left little doubt of his intentions."

If Jordan said what he said then it was time for him to go. In saying that, though, I don’t want to downplay the issue of the many journalists who have died from “friendly” fire in Iraq. While their deaths are likely not part of a deliberate effort to target reporters, the Pentagon HAS displayed a reckless disregard for the safety of journalists -- often firing on reporters' positions after news agencies previously had sent them their coordinates. I’m willing to write these accidents off as fog of war.

Jordan’s bigger crime is his failure to report on Iraqi torture stories in order to keep the CNN bureau open. If I were his boss, I would have canned him the moment that came to light.

Just a Flesh Wound said...

Eason down
Eason down the road

Pick your left foot up
When your right foot’s down
Come on legs keep movin’
Don’t you lose no ground
You just keep on keepin’
On the road that you choose
Don’t you give up walkin’
’cause you gave up shoes, no

Eason down, Eason down the road
Come on, Eason down, Eason down the road
Don’t you carry nothing that might be a load
Come on, Eason down, Eason down the road

’cause there maybe times
When you think you lost your mind
And the steps you’re takin’
Leave you three, four steps behind

lloyd said...

Timothy:

Do you really mean to compare Jordan's resignation with the outing of this Gannon guy none of us had ever heard of? Granted, its an interesting little story, but puleeez! As J Goldberg says, Rather and Jordan are big, big game. Mounting Jordan's head on the wall, in particular, is a very healthy reminder to the vast majority of the media that there is a new era of accountability.

Anonymous said...

"I gather from the tone of the preceding comments, that MediaCitizen is getting plenty of visitors via the link on the National Review's website."

Also Buzzmachine.

"I must, however, reiterate that the zeal with which bloggers drove Eason from office was motivated more by their desire to score political points than to get at the truth of the issue."

So now you know their motivation? Each and every one of them? And this motivation, which you have reached into their minds to retrieve, is at least as important to you as whether they have a point?

Timothy Karr said...

Thanks Lloyd, but I don't understand what you're writing about. Compare? Jordan and Gannon are apples and oranges. The only thing I am comparing here is the manner in which bloggers mobilized to bring low two journalists -- though calling Gannon a journalist is a stretch. While I agree on the important new role of blogs as watchdogs of the media, I am sounding a note of caution.

Again, the zeal with which bloggers drove both Jordan and Gannon from office was motivated more by the blogosphere’s desire to score political points than to get at the truth of the issue. The problem with that is this: were they to uncover information that exonerated Gannon or Jordan, I doubt they would have made it public. That's worthy of concern.

That's all I'm saying. As for the equivalence, I think it’s a pretty big story that the White House for nearly two years gave day credentials to a propagandist who operated under a known pseudonym, worked for a "news service" that the Standing Committee of Correspondents would not recognize as legit, and who threw McClellan and Bush life lines when the press grilling got rough. Don't forget that there's also the unresolved issue of a leaked memo that identifies a CIA agent. Leaking such information is a crime, which is now under independent prosecutor investigation. This information landed in Gannon's hands via someone within the administration -- a special favor indeed.

Had it been a Democratic White House outing a CIA operative, I can only imagine the fits of apoplexy emitting from right blogosphere. Where’s the moral indignation with the likes of Bob Novak? Anyone?

Which of these two instances has longer-term reverberations, Gannon or Jordan? I’m going with Gannon. Though he is a rank amateur in the grand scheme of political journalists (or the “left-wing cabal” as the ranting right likes to think of them), the administration's media influence peddling story has “legs.”

You people need to understand that the role of the Fourth Estate is to challenge the powerful on behalf of the public good. Questioning the motivations of the powerful -- in this case, those occupying the White House -- doesn't make a journalist a traitor with a liberal agenda. It makes him a good journalist.

Anonymous said...

Timothy, fine blog. I am here via Jonah.

Let me say I agree with you that the WH releasing the identity of a CIA operative is impt and serious, and is legitimately investigated by journalists. However, I simply do not care about Bush & Co. credentialling a nobody so they can take some softball questions. On the scale of political scandals, that doesn't merit much indignation.

I do agree there is an anti-MSM feeding frenzy afoot in the right-wing blogosphere, and tho I am a libertarian rather than a conservative, I hold some sympathy for their pent-up anger. Your assessment of media treatment of Clinton notwithstanding, there is no doubt in my mind that the MSM has long been deeply biased to the left.

I'm 48, and was raised by a Pat Buchanan Republican who nightly ranted that Walter Cronkite was lying about much, especially Vietnam. Not having grown up to share Dad's social conservatism and his reflexive contempt for the media, and being insufficiently tutored in matters military, I was agnostic on the question. Until the last several years.

On 9/11 I became a born again Bush supporter, not having voted for him in '00. Since then, and especially during the months leading up to the election, I found myself in an almost perpetual state of slack-jawed astonishment at the stories the media ran with that attacked Bush, and helped Kerry -- and those they ignored which had the same effects. That most of the MSM was in the tank for Kerry was so transparent as to be beyond reasonable dispute, and I could not even maintain anger about it; I genuinely began to be amused at the media's antics.

My father (an historian)and some military experts I've read have claimed the U.S. did not lose the war in Vietnam, that we won the Tet Offensive, and things along that line. They claim the media distorted and helped sap the political will necessary to prevail. I am now prepared to believe these accusations, and on my "to do" list is to immerse myself in a study of that issue. Based on recent events I do well understand, I begin prepared to believe the indictment of the press.

To circle back to my point: you really cannot grasp the blood lust on the righty blogosphere without understanding that it has felt, for decades, that it has been helpless to remedy an elitist, powerful media that will lie, distort and ignore stories that do not aid the left/liberal cause. Blogs and the Internet have arrived, and given them the tool they have long awaited, and they are on the march.

The Rathers and Eason Jordans are now subject to the same scrutiny the profession has turned on others. It may be uncomfortable, but the phenomenon is not much different than the almost pathological fixation the MSM had on the long dead story of Bush's TANG service and any other contrived non-story it could put out in the hope it would take the man down. The media is now learning what it is like to have millions of pajama-clad Woodward and Bernsteins watching and investigating it, and it doesn't like it. But it is well past time for the balance.

--Mona--

Thomas Hazlewood said...

Mr Karr,

Perhaps you know some of those bloggers you say are merely hoping to put a new skin on the wall. If so, you know better than I what their motivation is.

For myself, I'm simply out of patience with people in responsible positions being irresponsible. No, a apology would NOT have sufficed for me. That was not Jordan's first slander of that nature and his cathartic exposure of CNN's lip service to 'honest reporting' while covering up for Saddam's sordid regime in order to maintain their bureau there did nothing to inspire my sympathy, either.

You said:
"Gannon threw away his opportunity in favor of self-aggrandizing partisan spectacle." I won't argue that. May we count on you to support barring Helen Thomas from the White House Press Corps, then? And any other 'reporters' who include an editorial opinion in the body of their question?

Regards,

Tom said...

I think it's all fine and good if bloggers' intentions are just to get to the truth of the matter with anything like Gannon, Jordan, Rather, et al. I will say that there are probably some out there only to make a name for themselves - which is surely the same in the 'mainstream' media - though not encompassing the bulk of either population. The biggest problem, in my eyes, is a more hostile relationship between bloggers and the media that some of them cover. It's not about being friends with those you are covering, I've already heard this countered - it's about being complementary when needed, and that's not something that myself, a blogger who at least attempts to do a little real journalism on occasion, wants to give up at this point.

Joe said...

Mr. Kerr,

By the tone of your comments and the topics you choose, it would seem you are less than neutral and have your own set of lens you view the world thought.

My interest in Jordan was secondary to my interest in the charge he made against our military. I was most upset about it. I still am. I would have liked a full and complete investigation.

Since the M$M chose to ignore this story, the web became the only source of information. I am sure had CNN had anything that would have supported Jordan’s charge then they would have released by now. I think loyalty within an organization is usually a two way street.

So to say this is a witch-hunt, really says you care less about the truth and more about keeping score. You paint with a brush as wide as those you distaste.

Timothy Karr said...

Great comment Mona. I want to thank others who've posted here as well. Your comments -- along with notes Jonah Goldberg of National Review has sent me via e-mail -- have helped me gain an appreciation for conservative bloggers' motivations vis-à-vis mainstream media. I can't say that I agree with many of your suppositions about the liberal bent of the media, but I respect the way the landscape looks from your perspective.

My take is that this is less a tale of left or right bias in the media, and more about systemic failures of an increasingly elitist Fourth Estate that need to be repaired in order to restore the press' vital role within our democracy.

And Mona, if you're interested in learning more about Vietnam you can always email me. I lived and worked as a correspondent in Vietnam for more than four years. I speak the language and have a deep understanding of the country, its people and their turbulent past, and can give you one insider's view.

Johno said...

Please... Helen Thomas has covered the White House for over 50 years. Often referred to as the “The First Lady of the Press,” Helen has earned a place in that room 10 times more than anybody. For many years it was tradition that Helen, sitting in the front row, always asked the first question. This tradition held thru both Republican and Democratic administrations. Of course that all changed with the current Bush propaganda machine.

BVinDC said...

Two important points have been lost in this discussion:

1) There is no recording of Eason's comments and I have yet to see a verbatim transcript.

2) There is good evidence that the US military has targeted journalists in Iraq. Here are five incidents that the US military has not fully investigated or explained.

- Al-Jazeera had given US generals exact coordinates of its HQ in Baghdad. Their building was well marked. When the building was attacked in May 2003, the US plane circled at least twice before firing. The incident in which a camerman died is thoroughly documented in the movie "Control Room". Eyewitnesses are convinced the attack was deliberate.

- A US tank fired at the Palenstinian hotel, which was well-known as HQ for hundreds of journalists. A Reuters correspondent died. There are no eyewitness accounts to back up the military's claim that the tank had come under fire from the hotel. Video of the incident shows the neighborhood was quiet and that the tank took several minutes to aim at the hotel.

- The Int'l News Safety Institute posted this report: "An Iraqi cameraman for Reuters, Dhia Najim, was shot dead near his home in the Iraqi City of Ramadi on Monday.

The U.S. military said he died in a gun battle between Marines and insurgents. But video footage of the incident showed no fighting and no sounds of shooting. Najim's colleagues and family said they believed he had been shot by a U.S. sniper. Reuters urged the U.S. military to conduct a proper investigation."

- From the Committee to Protect Journalists: "Four journalists, who entered Iraq on March 24 [2003], said they were detained by U.S. troops near Baghdad last week and forced to leave the country. The four journalists-Dan Scemama of Israel's Channel One television, Boaz Bizmuth with the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, and Radio Televisao Portuguesa's Luis Castro and Victor Silva-had been traveling alongside U.S. troops when they were detained at gunpoint on March 25 by U.S. forces about 110 kilometers (70 miles) south of Baghdad, said Scemama.

The troops accused the journalists of spying and detained them for more than 48 hours without food before flying them to Kuwait City by helicopter, added Scemama."

- ITN camerman Terry Lloyd was traveling in a van marked "TV" when a US helicopter attacked and killed him.

Anonymous said...

Have you people been living under a rock? Do you read the goddamn news papers? Have you ever heard of the internet? Google? There has been plenty of reporting but it's been a snippit here and a snippet there but seldom strung together for the bozos. Great Psyops technique, ain't it?

Of course some U.S troops have been targeting journalists and we're often doing it based on the attitudes of some of our superiors. Some of the guys laugh about it. It's reprehensable but it's happening.

Myself..., I would rather be targeting the Publishers, Editors, media CEOs and owners and Pundits who are responsible for this fucking bullshit war in the first palce.

Kiss my ass, REMFs,
Uncle Crusty.

BVinDC said...

Here's another fun fact - the largest concentration of journalist bullying/targeting was on May 7 and 8, the days before the US "won" Baghdad and staged the bogus statue toppling. Wonder why they didn't want reporters covering that?

Watch "Control Room". It includes footage of the statue incident from an angle nobody saw in the US. There are about 30-50 "Iraqis" -- not hundreds -- with a cameraman crouched in the middle of the group shooting up so it looks like a crazy crowd.

Some Marines wrap a cable around the statue and pull it down with a tank. With the wide angle footage
shown in the movie, the square with the staute looks almost deserted.

And then there's the British newspaper that admitted to duplicating a bunch of the people in the front-page photo they ran to make the crowd look bigger.

The funniest moment is when a Marine pulls the US flag off of the statue's head and replaces it with an Iraqi flag - OOPS!

spyder said...

Yesterday during a visit to Portland, OR, i spent considerable time in Powell's. A good portion of that time was spent in the journalism section, revisiting a variety of source materials that discussed US military history as it pertained to targeting and killing journalists. There is plenty to read. Even a casual reading of the yearly Top 25 Censored Stories for the last few years reveals the complicity of MSM to not reveal either the facts regarding this, or the sources of the reports. There are three books on the subject as well, and anyone who cares to read in depth the Final Walsh report on Iran/Contra can find profuse evidence of this behavior dating back through the 1980's. To claim, as our own military does, that all journalist deaths in Iraq by US forces were simply collateral damage or friendly fire accidents, begs the question of history. But then that would be fact based reality.

PHawx said...

It seems armchair opinion bloggers are ensuring the resurrection of mccarthyism; shame, shame, and more shame. PHawxx

Anonymous said...

Someone should create a scholarship fund so all the "pajama-clad Woodwards and Bernsteins" can go to J-school and discover what it's like to actually report a story, interview real people, etc. In reporting the news, there's no substitute for BEING THERE, and "there" is not sitting in front of your 'puter in your jammies ...

Anonymous said...

Let's look at facts and evidence before accusing people of lying, please. When you look at evidence, particularly the testimony of the guard unit secretary seen on her televised interview, Rather's story about Bush's guard service appears to be true.
What evidence does Jordan have to support his assertion that journalists were targeted? There are several news sources in Europe, e.g., the Economist has been mentioned, who claim to have evidence. Why has no-one looked for evidence? Perhaps, because evidence and truth are irrelevant to the act of expressiong anger at an assertion and cutting off the head of the messanger. The anonymity of the internet provides good cover for a lynching, just like the hood of the KKK.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers wish they could force CNN to do anything.

CNN wanted Jordan gone, and his impolitic comments gave CNN the excuse they needed.

WOT: word choices I would like to see more of:

'animosity' rather than 'animus'

'fear' or 'anxiety' rather than 'angst'.

'Schadenfreude' has no English equivalent, for reasons that escape me.

Jon Koppenhoefer said...

Ollie North's nonsense is one reason I don't expose myself to Fox media, period.

North pretends the only bloggers standing guard are his buddies, and that liberal bloggers don't catch abuses of the truth.

Has he read Media Matters for America? Has he seen any of the dozens of blogs that comment daily on the abuses of the networks and cable programs? Has he even read one issue of The Daily Howler?

This guy is just another conservative in pleated skirt, sweater, and pompoms, rooting for his team from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

Ollie North dares to talk about "lower standards"?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who doubts 1) that Jordan was brought down by those protecting themselves and 2) that Gannon was brought down by those protecting honest journalism is living in the fantasy-based reality.

Anyone with even a big of background digging would know that journalist and/or journalism who are even a little anti-war are targetted for silencing. Read "They Kill Journalist, Don't They" on http://www.coldtype.com. Unless you want to ignore reality you'll see that in fact the idea is to get rid of any possibility that the reality of war is exposed.

Gannon and Eason are two separate unrelated incidents connected only by the fact that bloggers brought them down. Anyone one who even makes this a connection of substance is looking for something to say.

Gannon was clearly a plant to act as a safety value. Eason was clearly someone who knew what he was talking about.

Chris Vosburg said...

From the Miami Herald Article linked to by Tim: Media critic Shafer said the sheer immensity of the blog response forced the story onto newspaper front pages. ''What they were practicing was virtuous pack journalism,'' he said. ``Everybody thinks pack journalism is bad, but sometimes, like on 9/11, you want a pack. This was pack journalism at its best.''No, I don't. I don't want "pack journalism," any more than I want mob justice, especially in regard to the events of 9/11. I want the truth, small t, and I want cooler heads to prevail, and I want reporting, dammit, unswayed by popular opinion.

Anonymous said...

anon writes: Someone should create a scholarship fund so all the "pajama-clad Woodwards and Bernsteins" can go to J-school and discover what it's like to actually report a story, interview real people, etc.Unnecessary, since some of the best bloggers hold advanced degrees, many of them being lawyers, e.g., Instapundit, the Power Line crew, Hugh Hewitt, and all those guys at The Volohk Conspiracy. Or they are Duke-educated novelists and screenwriters like Roger L.Simon. And, of course, some ARE journalists, like Jeff Jarvis or Jay Rosen.

These bloggers drove the Eason Jordan story, and clamored more for release of the Davos tape than for Jordan's head. Oddly, the MSM that otherwise goes into hyperdrive when a target won't cough up a tape or other dispositive piece of evidence, left it to "mere" bloggers to raise the hue and cry. And do note: that tape is yet to be seen.

Lawyers are well-trained fact-finders and are pit bulls when getting at the truth. We are trained to smell bllod, during depositions and at trial, and to sniff evasion or distortion from 50 yards. No surprise at all that so many of the best blogs are run by attorneys. Journalists can be as canny and merciless, but are not generally any better, J-school or not.

(Not, please let me emphasize, that I'm saying only lawyers among bloggers are entitled to be taken seriously; Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs relied upon his computer geek expertise to immediately recognize and show that Rather's memos had to be fabrications. Myriad are the other possible examples of fine, non-lawyer or non-journo bloggers.)

For those who think Jordan's charges against the military are true, then why, prithee, did not CNN simply run with that story? Announce that they stood by their news exec and: "here, folks, is why"? Why do we see a diffident David Gergen in various venues special-pleading that Jordan had just returned frazzled from Iraq, doncha know, and was all tense and stuff, so he should be given some leeway?

Please.

The blogosphere is here to stay. Legacy media's hegemony is over. The two will come to work together symbiotically, as they somewhat already do, but the latter is going to have to get used to checking its facts and making corrections as well and as quickly as the blogs do.

You cannot get away with BS when millions of smart, well-educated netizens are assessing what you say and do. This is the new reality facing both bloggers and the MSM. The difference is that only the former seem to have figured that out, and it remains to be seen how badly wounded members of the latter will have to be before they get a clue.

babette said...

Thanks bvindc for the excellent listing of attacks on journalists which might very well have been deliberate. (I was getting tired of the group think type mob developing in the posts on this sight and was about to look up some of the reports of attacks on journalists when I read your refreshing post.)
Attacks on journalists have received occassional but scant coverage in the mainstream press. It is possible/probable that the MSM fear being called anti-American and facing a witch hunt. But as you note there have been some reports. CNN just should have shown some guts and stood by their reporter, citing some of these incidents. He should not have resigned.

Anonymous said...

most liberals are professional liars though.

thatcherj1 said...

This country is getting more like Nazi Germany by the day. So much for freedom of the press. No journalist can stand up to the right wing propaganda machine. If they try they risk losing their jobs. No wonder our media is so bankrupt when it comes to covering real news.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same guy that gave Saddam a pass on torture of Iraqi citizens? He deserved to be out of a job then. Reporters are supposed to report the news. If he wants to add his thoughts, he would then be a commentator. A lot of reporters do not seem to know the difference!

Brenda L. Watts said...

FREEDOM OF SPEECH !!! EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO IT !!!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered that perhaps Jordan is telling the truth? The way this administraton is going, I wouldn't be surprized if burkas came into fashion, or the Hand Maiden became the norm of society. And believe it or not the "left" is not communist and the "right" is not represented by goody two shoes.

Anonymous said...

Journalist are required to deal only in facts...
1) A tape of Jordan's comments was made in Davos.
2) The organizers forum claim the tape records comments that were "off the record".
3) CNN and/or Jordan could have waved their confidentiallity of the "off the record" comments of Jordan and released the only his sections of the tape.
4) CNN and/or Jordan did not do this.
Assumption: The tape's contents would have doomed Jordan anyway.

Anonymous said...

I understand that conservative columnist Michelle Malkin had a hand in bringing Jordan down. Isn't that rich? I mean, isn't this the same Michelle Malkin who suggested on Hardball last summer that John Kerry INTENTIONALLY shot himself to get out of Vietnam? I don't rememeber her having to resign over her outrageous comment. See link below:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200408200005

Lance Collins
Sugar Land, TX

Anonymous said...

Jordan spoke the truth. The targeting and killing of journalists by US troops has been well documented in the world press e.g. in the London "Independent News". This is the first time an American journalist had the courage to talk about it ... and then he backed off, scared, under pressure. All the witnesses to Jordan's revelation say his words were reported accurately, e.g. as confirmed by such experienced professionals as David Gergen, Senator Dodd.

Wake up, folks! Yes, US troops have been committing War Crimes in Iraq ... as they did in Panama, Vietnam, Korea. Fallujah was only one of many slaughters of Iraqi civilians. Wait another 25 years for this to be investigated. Right now, sadly for our "Democracy", no one has the courage to speak the truth.

Jim Roberts
Jersey City, NJ

tamee amente said...

This is not america. Free speech is a right.....and if war is the reason that we cant speak our minds, and the government says war is indefinate, so then will we be silenced indefinately? No! I will never be silent. we need to demand an investigation into why these deaths happened, we need to have open debate, we need our democratic republic back. The phrase "you are either with us, or against us" is not complete. What they are really saying is "you either help to tie your own noose, or we'll do it for you". Remember republicans, soon the day will come that you will be silenced and then you will know that Nazi Germany is upon you.

Anonymous said...

I was and am against the Iraq War. I thought and still think, with over whelming evidence, if some honest journalist would investigate, that the army did target journalist by order of the White House. When our troops rolled into Bagdad and that tank targeted the hotel and killed a journalist standing on a balcony reporting on the war. Our troops knew that hotel was where the journalist were located. If they didn't target journalist, why aren't there any journalist reporting from Iraq? The Bush adm. doesn't want the truth about what is happening in Iraq, especially about the BOMBING. Without journalist they can feed their propaganda machine to the public and Media. I think the Bush Blogers and CNN are responsible for Eason Jordan resignation, not the TRURH BLOGERS.

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