Will the Media Survive Weblogs?
February 12, 2005 9:49 AM   Subscribe

CNN Executive Eason Jordan has resigned. He says he is leaving the news network before his comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos "unfairly tarnish" CNN. Sources allege he said at a panel on "Will Democracy Survive the Media?" that American servicemen are intentionally targeting and killing journalists in Iraq. Congressman Barney Frank, who was also on the panel at Davos, was one of the first to criticizes Jordan. Oddly Jordan, who claims his comments are being misunderstood, has resigned before a transcript or video of the event has even surfaced.

While there has been very little coverage of this in the "traditional media," motivated people mobilized quickly across the Internet(s). All of this very similar to the recent controversies with Dan Rather, and "Jeff Gannon."

Both Left & Right, has there been a power-shift in the media to the general citizens of this country? What does this say about the accountability of the media in the future?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (82 comments total)
 
I think here at freerepublicfilter we can shorten "traditional media" to "the MSM".
posted by liam at 9:57 AM on February 12, 2005


But there's still no proof he said what he did, is there?

And that's the difference--this is not like a proven false reporter in the white house under a proven false name who received documents illegally.

It is, however, like the Dan Rather case, where Republican operatives went after him with help from the GOP.

What's really funny about Eason/CNN is that no one cares on either side--the left isn't upset about this, even tho the right would like them to be.
posted by amberglow at 10:01 AM on February 12, 2005


"will the media survive weblogs?"

will major league baseball survive little league?
posted by angry modem at 10:04 AM on February 12, 2005


Okay, it's from a Financial Times article which has passed the point of free viewing, but I'll link to the story anyway for those who might have a membership or want to get a free 15-day trial. I can't find the story covered anywhere else.

In a nutshell, Al Gore's INdTV news network is set to start later in the year. Yes, the one with people like Steve Jobs linked to it.

Supposedly, it builds on the concept of having citizen-style reporters tell the stories, something apparently pioneered by OhmyNews in Korea.

Should be interesting. Oh, and this is my first time commenting. Long time lurker, newly registered.
posted by the_savage_mind at 10:05 AM on February 12, 2005


I really don't want to self moderate, but...

there's still no proof... It is, however, like the Dan Rather case, where Republican operatives went after him with help from the GOP.

#1 There is ample proof in the Rather incident, admitted by CBS's own internal audit.

#2 Rep. Barney Frank is a Republican operative now? I bet that is news to him.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:11 AM on February 12, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood, precisely, on both points. Jordan has contradicted himself several times on this matter, and obviously the new boss at CNN thought there was sufficient internal evidence to cut him loose.
posted by 1016 at 10:17 AM on February 12, 2005


Blogger Who Faulted CBS Documents Is Conservative Activist (AKA.Freeper)
It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service — a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.

posted by amberglow at 10:21 AM on February 12, 2005


Steve, keep up the good work. The MSM/liberal establishment is, finally being reigned-in. The is hope for the country and world!
posted by ParisParamus at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2005


Before the advent of "traditional media" as we understand them today (structured, mass-circulated, large in scope, highly profit-oriented), roughly 150 years ago, the US media were more like guerilla operations -- small newspapers came and went frequently, generally were strongly partisan or even created for specific issues or interests, often published by printers as sidelines.

Arguably, ever since the advent of the PC and accelerated by the Internet, we are returning to that atmosphere. PCs allowed you to start a newspaper or newsletter on your kitchen table, removing the principal barriers to entry. The Internet allowed you to publish without even the expense of printing.

Will this bring down "traditional media"? No. Will it increase accountability? Obviously it already has. Has power shifted to "the general citizens"? No. Traditional media retain plenty of power. "General citizens" haven't really picked up any. Some power has accrued to a new group of web-based journalist-watchdogs.

I see all this more as a long-needed check-and-balance on the traditional media than as a new order that will supercede the old. The speed with which this network can call bluffs, expose scandals, conflicts and fakes, and the recent frequency of these incidents, makes it clear there's a new set of players in the picture. But traditional media are learning to adapt and to adopt.

On preview, this is a longwinded way of saying what angry modem said.

Old newspaper business saying: "Never pick a fight with somebody who buys ink by the barrel."
posted by beagle at 10:25 AM on February 12, 2005


The MSM/liberal establishment is, finally being reigned-in. The is hope for the country and world!

Yes, all hail the corporate/government/media monolith, never let a discouraging word be uttered!
posted by psmealey at 10:28 AM on February 12, 2005


The MSM is clearly on the side of whoever is in power, and their corp. masters--for the past 4+ years, the GOP. If people still believe that they're liberal, they need to rethink that--even Frank Luntz believes otherwise: While Fox News Channel remains the favorite network of Republican lawmakers, NBC's new anchor, Brian Williams, is the one turning GOP heads. Message guru and former MSNBC contributor Frank Luntz says in a confidential memo to Hill leaders that Williams has emerged as the "go-to network anchor" because of his brains and "lack of detectable ideological bias." Luntz credits NBC Executive Producer Steve Capus for "a flawless transition to a new generation of news anchor." Still, Fox and CNN lead the nets when it comes to GOP loyalty.
posted by amberglow at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2005


OK, are we talking about reigning in the mainstream media, or the power of blogs, both those operated by amateurs as well as those operated by professionals and activists (either on the side, or as part of a larger mainstream web site or with partisan funds or direct connections to partisan entities, etc.), to hold all of media accountable (including other blogs)? Why do I ask? I didn't know Jeff Gannon had ever been associated with what I understand to be the "MSM."
posted by raysmj at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2005


Look, the liberal media tag is a joke. The mainstream media is not liberal or conservative at heart (aside from Fox). It's pro-corporate and pro its interests. Which just happen to lie with those who will allow it free reign in consolidation of and expansion into new markets. Ie, those who will let it gobble up as many newspapers, tv and radio stations, etc., as possible. Which in this day and age is the Bush administration. Even CNN. They all bend over backwards to offer 'fair time' to opposing views, without ever trying to point out if one of the views is just plain batshit and detached from reality. In most of those cases, that serves the interest of the current Admin.

As far as the CBS fiasco goes, that evidence was faulty. Absolutely. You know what? There were reams of evidence about Bush's avoiding his required service that WEREN'T faulty. Books-worth. Evidence that was available, but that weren't adequately broadcast or focused on. So the CBS 'fiasco' basically acted as a smokestream, pulling attention away from all the real evidence.

And the guy at CNN did apparently say what he said. There are too many non-Republican shills who were there, including Barney Frank. The guy's a moron. If he doesn't have proof, he was in no position to make the statement in such a public venue
posted by the_savage_mind at 10:32 AM on February 12, 2005


Both Left & Right, has there been a power-shift in the media to the general citizens of this country? What does this say about the accountability of the media in the future?

Before any attempt to answer this question, I think you ned to define "power-shift" a tad bit better. Okay, a lot better. Pundits and reporters are already voicing fears over the "outing" of Gannon, and yet there is little focus on the actually impact of the story: that a fraud was given White House credentials for TWO years, quite probably with administration assistance. The only power shift I see here is that the real story was sublimated by spin and fear, coming from the majority of the general citizens who bothered to pay attention.

In the Rather case, again, the story became about the fraudulant actions of the media, almost as a means to ignore what became the understory of Bush's alledged desertion. With Eason, the story boils down to whether or not a media executive said something accusatory and objectional, again the focus is on hurt feelings of the citizenry as opposed to actual facts, legalities, and events.

Now, I do think there's a power-shift alright, but it's not about control, because I don't think anyone is in control of this, anymore. The shift is away from media presenting a view of facts (falable as the media may be) towards the media (new and old) rangling over who represents best the will of the citizanry (henceforth called consumers). I, for one, have a difficult time considering this shift even remotely good. To sum up: [this is bad].
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:33 AM on February 12, 2005


But there's still no proof he said what he did, is there?

And that's the difference--this is not like a proven false reporter in the white house under a proven false name who received documents illegally.


There’s a lack of proof only in the sense that CNN refuses to release the video evidence that only they have, yet they still claim that it would exonerate Jordan. It's an excuse that reeks.

The Jeff Gannon scandal is much, much worse, but that doesn't mean that Eason Jordan can't fuck off as well.

Blogger Who Faulted CBS Documents Is Conservative Activist (AKA.Freeper)

Sure - but the documents were forged. If similar papers had been presented about Kerry, and someone on his payroll had debunked them before the true analysts came in with the same conclusion, I can't imagine that I would have felt wronged.

I dislike Bush intensely. But I heart stuff like this. I hope this new dose of accountability does the media some good, even if the results can only be so limited.

(FWIW, I always saw media bias - "MSM" if we want to be right-wing sassy - as a product of conservative owners, liberal reporters, and a general urge to reduce everything to the loud and the simple. The result is rarely worthwhile. Worse is the illusion of objectivity - I'd rather the media be upfront about its biases and attempt to be fair than pretend to be objective and let the bias sneak in.

This is why I prefer papers with a personality, like The Guardian and The Economist.)

On preview: what beagle said.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:35 AM on February 12, 2005


I guess it goes to back to whether bloggers are searching for truth, or partisans/operatives looking to score or deflect attention, or both.
posted by amberglow at 10:40 AM on February 12, 2005


What a thoughtful and honest summary, Sticherbeast.
posted by trharlan at 10:40 AM on February 12, 2005


the Jordan/CNN thing is the latter, in my view, deflecting attention like the Rather thing -- which is that hotels housing journalists have been hit by us in Iraq, and many more journalists have been killed this war than other recent ones.
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on February 12, 2005


"will the media survive weblogs?"
will major league baseball survive little league?


Many bloggers (not you, okay?) are working under the assumption that they're in the "minor leagues" and will be recruited to "the MSM" if they can build a large audience.
posted by whatnot at 10:44 AM on February 12, 2005


I guess it goes to back to whether bloggers are searching for truth, or partisans/operatives looking to score or deflect attention, or both.

I don't understand why "bloggers" (way too general to define) can't exist as both, with a generous dash of link-whore egoism thrown in.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:44 AM on February 12, 2005


According to the Forum blog, "What intensified the problem was the fact that the session was a public forum being taped on camera, in front of an international crowd."

I can't imagine what would compel CNN's Chief News Executive to utter such unsubstantiated crap and then to waffle when asked whether he could prove it. Talk about naive.
posted by 327.ca at 10:45 AM on February 12, 2005


But there's still no proof he said what he did, is there?

There are witnesses including journalists who've worked closely with Jordan before.
The official WEF summary does not mention Eason's remarks, and there is no transcript or webcast. But I was in the room and Rony's account is consistent with what I heard. I was also contributing to the Forumblog, but to be honest, Jordan happens to be my former boss who promoted me and defended me in some rather sticky situations after my reporting angered the Chinese government.
The 'Rony' she refers to is a writer who blogged the WEF at Davos on the World Economic Forum's own weblog, mentioned by Steve:
During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.
Granted Jordan's credibility has falling southward for awhile now ever since he started dropping remarks like this with no evidence to back them up.

But hey--if there's truth to what he said, then yeah, it's completely fucked up. The people involved should spend their lives in the brig indefinitely. Guess it's up to Detective Jordan to come forward with evidence that all to this happened because otherwise there's no way the man should still be an executive at CNN. It's one thing if a civilian says what he allegedly did, but quite another for a man in Jordan's position.

If Trent Lott (a man I loathe, fwiw) got fired because of a comment which took on significance he claimed he never intended, then so should Jordan. As sticherbeast said, "I hope this new dose of accountability does the media some good."

For a record of journalists killed in the Iraq War, check out this summary from from Reporters Without Borders. Note their various causes of death.


On preview: great points by Sticherbeast

Amberglow, I have this naive optimism that one of these days, in the interest of objectivity, you're going to point fingers at those who share your own ideologies instead of doing your own share of 'deflecting'. Your responses to cases like Jordan's & Ward Churchill's baffle me.
posted by dhoyt at 10:51 AM on February 12, 2005


Wulf, as shown in the Rather thing, if you're only doing it on the behest of real political operatives, who had all the info ready to go and handed it off to this guy the same day, raising questions of whether they actually planted the doc in the first place, then you're not actually seeking the truth but actively hiding the truth, and at the same time trying to bring down those that your party has targetted since Nixon days.

dhoyt, i call it as i see it, as my buddy Steve does. I point fingers at shabby Dems all the time, and comment on their lack of balls/fire a lot. I'm not objective, and neither are you. I really don't care about Eason or CNN--they've shown their stripes over and over--what i do care about is truth. Show me the proof for all these cases, and show me that none of them were instigated by the GOP establishment, and then we can talk objectivity.

(and the Churchill thing is just absurd, btw--you'd think there were more important things than obscure professors at 2-bit schools.)
posted by amberglow at 10:58 AM on February 12, 2005


Ample proof? You're joking. At BEST you can allege the CBS documents might be fake. Or... might be genuine. All the blogger "evidence" I saw was also refuted, but that kind of ruins your story, doesn't it?

CBS had to save face when its competitors had a feeding frenzy. At that point the truth is irrelevant.
posted by fleener at 10:58 AM on February 12, 2005


Another non-blog perspective from real, career journalists, which includes information on the death of journalists at the hands of US soldiers in the Middle East.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:01 AM on February 12, 2005


I thought there actually were legit questions to be asked in re to whether the military had targeted journalists. CNN's chief brought this up in a sloppy way, sounds like, but ... well, you should all watch this movie , which seemed to be rather subtle and nuanced as contrasted with F 9-11, before going off about this subject.

And the University of Colorado is suddenly a two-bit school? It's not an elite school, but I think it's fair to say that major research is almost certainly produced by that university from time to time.
posted by raysmj at 11:06 AM on February 12, 2005


[Y]ou'd think there were more important things than obscure professors at 2-bit schools.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? But the so-called left-wing MSM needs to obsess over obscure professors at two-bit schools to feed its left-wing readers the red meat that said readers want in their shock-filled, extremist left-wing media product. Makes perfect sense to me.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:08 AM on February 12, 2005


Fury at US as attacks kill three journalists ... The move followed a day in which three journalists were killed by US fire in separate attacks in Baghdad, leading to accusations that US forces were targeting the news media.
Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, was killed when an American tank fired a shell directly at the Reuters suite on the 15th floor at the Palestine hotel, where many journalists are staying.
Jose Couso, 37, a cameraman for the Spanish television channel Tele 5, was wounded in the same attack and died later in hospital. Samia Nakhoul, the Gulf bureau chief of Reuters, was also injured, along with a British technician, Paul Pasquale, and an Iraqi photographer, Faleh Kheiber.
Earlier, al-Jazeera cameraman Tarek Ayyoub, a 35-year-old Palestinian who lived in Jordan, was killed when two bombs dropped during a US air raid hit the satellite station's office in the Iraqi capital.
American forces also opened fire on the offices of Abu Dhabi television, whose identity is spelled out in large blue letters on the roof. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:16 AM on February 12, 2005


From Alex's link:

"An award-winning Reuters journalist, Dana was filming in western Baghdad outside a prison that recently had come under mortar attack. U.S. soldiers reportedly mistook Dana's camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher."

Tragic, but what does that have to do with deliberately targeting journalists, as Jordan allegedly implied?

Show me the proof for all these cases, and show me that none of them were instigated by the GOP establishment, and then we can talk objectivity.

Mr. Jordan doesn't want 'proof' to see the light of day, which is why he's fleeing out CNN's back door.
posted by dhoyt at 11:16 AM on February 12, 2005


Gotta love how the Eason Jordan story is considered the anti-Jeff Gannon story. As if CNN is the liberal opposite of Talon News.

And yeah, he's digging his own grave here. He could have easily just backed away from his statements and apologized like, "what I said was wrong and not based on any evidence. Seeing 40 people that work for you die from friendly-happy-fire can get to you sometimes."
posted by destro at 11:17 AM on February 12, 2005


I don't know what the truth is anymore, nor do I think, can I handle it.

Everything I read about the Rather memo indicated that the facts as represented in the memo itself were materially true (based on interviews with the woman in the CO's office), it was just the memo itself that seemed to be fabricated... but even that is still the subject of debate. Whatever the "truth" seemed to be in that instance, was quickly overrun by an entirely different "truth".

Similarly in the Eason Jordan case. He said something that may have been true (albet difficult to substantiate), but that the resulting furor over saying such a thing will forever quash any debate of whether the assertion were true or not. Clearly, for an executive to be making such a claim in such as sloppy manner as this didn't help (as rysmj pointed out) whatever his cause was, but that seems to be beside the point. The point is the distraction that the reaction to it brings, and whatever kernel of truth there was in the claim will never out, due to the outrage triggered by it.

But to claim that the MSM is suddenly brought to a new standard of accountability in both cases is complete bullshit.
posted by psmealey at 11:17 AM on February 12, 2005


Tragic, but what does that have to do with deliberately targeting journalists, as Jordan allegedly implied?

Read further down. The cause was never established; the military prevented a full investigation of Dana's death. Further down there are links to other incidents of journalists being killed in these and other M. East theatres, as well as first-hand accounts of this specific event.

Putting aside what Jordan said, simply stating categorically that the US military does not kill journalists deliberately seems to fall on the side of a falsehood. We can't tell for sure, because the US military will not investigate any such incidents, even as journalists who were there state that the situation is not so clear cut.

Whose fault is this uncertainty? The so-called left-wing MSM or an apparently unaccountable military?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:23 AM on February 12, 2005


Ample proof? You're joking. At BEST you can allege the CBS documents might be fake.

Belief in the authenticity of the Rather/Mapes documents is a good litmus test that sorts the nutjobs away from the honest and reasonable liberals.
posted by trharlan at 11:24 AM on February 12, 2005


The point is the distraction that the reaction to it brings, and whatever kernel of truth there was in the claim will never out, due to the outrage triggered by it.
That's how i see the Rather thing, the Jordan thing, and the Churchill thing. Let's see the rightwing bloggers do something that simply uncovers truth, instead of distracting from even discussing it.
posted by amberglow at 11:24 AM on February 12, 2005


Belief that Bush actually and authentically fulfilled his military service is a good litmus test too.
posted by amberglow at 11:27 AM on February 12, 2005




Let's see the rightwing bloggers do something that simply uncovers truth, instead of distracting from even discussing it.

Great point, amberglow.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:29 AM on February 12, 2005


There’s a lack of proof only in the sense that CNN refuses to release the video evidence that only they have, yet they still claim that it would exonerate Jordan. It's an excuse that reeks from above.

Question: were there any cameras filming the panel discussion? The statement (above) implies that CNN was filming the event. I can't find any evidence of video, audio or stenographic transcription online from any media source. Can someone point me in the right direction?
posted by ericb at 11:30 AM on February 12, 2005


*[from above]*
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on February 12, 2005


I was under the impression that it was an "off-the-record" forum, and that the WEF itself controls the only videotape, not CNN.

Former CNN correspondent Rebecca McKinnon has an interesting take:
I think Eason Jordan resigned because he knew that if the Davos tape came out it would make the situation worse, not better.

I know there are a number of people involved with the World Economic Forum who think the WEF needs to completely re-think its media/blogging and on/off record policies. It was a great thing that the WEF started a blog this year, inviting conference participants to post their impressions and thoughts. I encouraged them to do this. Unfortunately, the WEF's operating norms are not compatible with the age of the blog. Jordan's demise is the frightening result.
I also note that the NYT (oops! That's mainstream media!) story on Jordan's resigning has a quote from David Gergen pointing out that Jordan ""quickly walked that back to make it clear that there was no policy on the part of the U.S. government to target or injure journalists."

I also agree with this comment at TVNewser which says, in part, that this whole brouhaha was ultimately "a he said/she said sort of situation" and that "CNN should have been much more open and forthright about addressing the comments, instead of hiding its head in the sand and hoping the whole thing would go away." CNN's refusal to cover this didn't do them any favors.
posted by Vidiot at 11:34 AM on February 12, 2005


Wulf, as shown in the Rather thing, if you're only doing it on the behest of real political operatives, who had all the info ready to go and handed it off to this guy the same day, raising questions of whether they actually planted the doc in the first place, then you're not actually seeking the truth but actively hiding the truth, and at the same time trying to bring down those that your party has targetted since Nixon days.

I consider that simply an adendum to my point. Journalism, regardless of the media, is becoming more about emotional response than about reporting. Many (mostly rigfht wing bloggers) hail this as a good developement, as if the urges of the populace define truth. I find it a dagger in the back of a free society.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:37 AM on February 12, 2005


In response to ericb's question, it doesn't sound as if the video from the forum was shot by or is controlled by CNN. The WaPo story on Jordan seems to bear this out:
No definitive account of what Jordan said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 27 has been made public, including the forum's videotape of the off-the-record session. Two Democrats who were there, Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (Conn.), criticized Jordan's remarks. Others in attendance, including U.S. News & World Report editor at large David Gergen and BBC executive Richard Sambrook, said Jordan had clarified his remarks.
posted by Vidiot at 11:46 AM on February 12, 2005


Vidiot - thanks for the clarification.
posted by ericb at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2005


By the way, Steve, aren't we still waiting on your defense of "Jeff Gannon" over here?


(on preview: no problem, ericb -- I'd been looking for that article since I read Sticherbeast's post which you quote. I'd read it late last night and wanted to confirm my impressions.)
posted by Vidiot at 11:52 AM on February 12, 2005




The MSM is going to co-opt blogging totally before too long; right-wing bloggers in particular are likely to be the first to start collecting corporate paychecks and start aggressively defending corporate interests.
posted by kgasmart at 12:07 PM on February 12, 2005


speaking of alternatives: the Open Source Press Association
posted by amberglow at 12:24 PM on February 12, 2005


What does this say about the accountability of the media in the future?

What about the accountability of the bloggers? Who are they accountable to? Why do we believe everything they write, yet subject the MSM to such scrutiny.

I find the MSM, though very imperfect, to be far more accurate and reliable than the bloggers. The MSM has systems and techniques to address those very human imperfections, and they work passably well.

In contrast, what makes some random blogger any more credible than the spam in your inbox this morning? Why would the blogger be any more honest, or even know what he/she's talking about, even if he/she wanted to be honest?

It's romantic to think of the little guy taking on power, but the reality of life is that the little guy is a human too, just one with less power. Many of those little bloggers are enjoying a heady power trip right now. Anyway, how can you distinguish the 'little guys' from astroturfing?
posted by guanxi at 12:29 PM on February 12, 2005


All the latest Jordan info here.
posted by LMB at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2005


"American servicemen are intentionally targeting and killing journalists in Iraq."

Having had the benefit of watching history unfold in real-time over the last few decades, I'll wager that within 10 years, proof of this will surface and the S@L of the day will tell those who bring it up to "get over it".
posted by 2sheets at 1:00 PM on February 12, 2005


I was about to post something along the lines of what guanxi said. You can make the case that the mainstream media are being held somewhat more accountable by stuff like this - especially in the case of the Rathergate memo - but it's an incidental byproduct of the partisan hackery that's the main point of these blog-led "accountability" witch hunts.

In the current example, a responsible journalist would be interested not just in what Eason said but what he meant. Was he actually arguing that specific journalists were the targets of US military strikes? Or that it appeared the US military was targeting places well known to house the media? Or something else? And if he'd made certain allegations, was there any credible evidence to support them? And, for that matter, are the candid comments of a CNN executive, however poorly chosen, really a story worthy of significant play?

Whatever the actual case is, the only thing anyone cares about at Easongate.com is destroying the guy for his choice of words, regardless of what he might've actually been trying to say. This is "gotcha" journalism, and it has very little to do with accountability. Crossfire is more interested in getting at the truth of the matter than this muck is. And the fact that Eason immediately quit says at least as much about the climate of fear created by gotcha journalism as it does about his unwillingness to provide evidence of his claims or whatever. My guess is he quit because he realized that the truth of what he said or meant was already too deeply buried in partisan shitslinging to be of any relevance, and that the only way to quiet the angry mob was to give them a corpse.

This cuts both ways, by the way. George W. Bush is the worst president in American history because of (for example) his Cro-Magnon environmental policy, not because he used the term "crusade" in one of his speeches.
posted by gompa at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2005


I read too many political blogs, and hate them with a passion. They're a terrible source of information. Television news shows are awful because they claim that they're unbiased, but they're actually incredibly partisan. Blogs usually admit that they're partisan, but this gives them the ability to be blisteringly, crashingly partisan. Most people don't read blogs from across the spectrum; they read blogs that agree with their political views. So, bloggers tend to be unfair and incredibly disrespectful of evidence that countervails their position, because no one is going to hold their feet to the fire.

There's no such thing as an unbiased reporter... but some reports are more balanced and intelligent than others. Newspapers and magazines are, I think, the media that come closest to being ideal. This is probably because the political spectrum of newspaper readers is wider than that of any other media audience, and the readers keep reporters at least partially accountable (not always, of course... magazines and newpapers obviously do have political orientations. But they're certainly better than radio, TV, and blogs). They do, unfortunately, have a tendency of watering things down to keep everyone happy and taking stupid views seriously because they're popular, but any media outlet with at least a moderately diverse audience is going to fall prey to that sin.
posted by painquale at 1:10 PM on February 12, 2005


All the latest Jordan info here.

LMB wouldn't stand for La Shawn M---- Barber, would it?
posted by dhoyt at 1:14 PM on February 12, 2005


No time for a more thoughtful reply, but: yipe! I was wrong. The video is from the Davos folks, not the CNN folks. I confused Jordan's preference for resignation over asking for the video with the petition that was out there for CNN to find a transcript.

Wulfgar! and others make some interesting points. LGF strikes me as a golden example: a fiery, frequently hateful blog pretending to be about political information, when it's really emotional reassurance.

On an off-topic note, I feel that most political opinions that most people have rely on a good deal of emotional reassurance over logic. That's why there are more ideologues than thinkers, and thinkers are rarely good at acquiring or using power. But, anyhoo.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:16 PM on February 12, 2005


Oh, and blogs make for a terrible source of news, but the format can be a fine way to comment on it. If they're your primary source of news, then you deserve to be stupid.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2005


You know, not to derail, but this is somewhat related to the credibility issues raised here. When amberglow calls CU Boulder a "2 bit" school when he obviously knows nothing about the University, it's hard to consider his other ramblings anything but knee-jerk reactionary bullshit. Maybe in his elite world any public University is considered "two bit", but a University that produces Nobel Prize winning research can hardly be considered "2-bit" to my thinking. (And, no, I didn't go to school there, I went to the University of California another fine "2-bit" public institution). Maybe he's just trying to be clever rhetorically, but factually it is moronic.
posted by Eekacat at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2005


nice, Eekacat: you've got their patented, distracting "outrage" and insults down pat. FYI, i went almost entirely to 2-bit CUNY schools.

Do a google search for the school, and see how many of the results are entirely a result of this absolute bullshit non-story, and how many are for the school's achievements and accomplishments. It's hysterical--you're doing exactly what they do. Ignore me if you don't like my choice of words, or take it to meTa.
posted by amberglow at 1:43 PM on February 12, 2005


All the latest Jordan info here.

LMB wouldn't stand for La Shawn M---- Barber, would it?


Remember that generous dash of link whoring I mentioned? Behold the forthright ethics of the "new" media.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:17 PM on February 12, 2005


amber, I'm not sure I'd use the top results on Google to accurately gauge the reputation of a school.

the fact that Eason immediately quit says at least as much about the climate of fear created by gotcha journalism as it does about his unwillingness to provide evidence of his claims or whatever. My guess is he quit because he realized that the truth of what he said or meant was already too deeply buried in partisan shitslinging to be of any relevance, and that the only way to quiet the angry mob was to give them a corpse.

I strongly suspect that gompa absolutely nailed it.
posted by Vidiot at 2:20 PM on February 12, 2005


Angry mob as in FCC indecency story, in which masses were supposted to be outraged at a concept..only to discover the angry mob were like 2-3 persons ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:38 PM on February 12, 2005


By the way, Steve, aren't we still waiting on your defense of "Jeff Gannon" over here?

Vidiot, you and I both know that nothing is more damning than silence.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 3:07 PM on February 12, 2005


The idea that any thinking American had to seriously consider whether Eason Jordan's claims might, in fact, be true indicates just how bad things have become in "the land of the free".

These day, this formerly skeptical libertarian is paying much more attention to the shrill rants from the left.

Because let's face it, for four years the wacky tin-foil-hat wearing patchouli-scented long-haired conspiracy-theorizing paranoid lefty nutjobs' crazy-ass predictions...
...have been right.
posted by orthogonality at 3:16 PM on February 12, 2005


I suspect Jordan resigned to try and keep this story from overshadowing other, more pressing stories, as has happened time and time again in the last 4+ years.

Right here on MetaFilter, this thread has 62 comments, and the one about Condi Rice getting a memo from Richard Clarke about al-Qaeda in Jan. '01 has all of 19 comments.

A look at newsmap (visual depiction of Google News stories- I think it's Flash) shows the Jordan story, with no TRACE of the Rice story.
posted by BoringPostcards at 3:26 PM on February 12, 2005


One of the original premises of this thread is that the author has a preference for the democratization that is inherent in blogging.

Bloggers have their place, but I've yet to find one that match the best among "traditional" reporting. The well-researched meticulous story that takes time to create is still our best source of world-defining news. All news is just an argument for what comprises reality. News stories are stories. Take them as such, and they will be easier to digest (or spew out). Writing them is a craft, one that is often lost in the blogosphere.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:30 PM on February 12, 2005


I think that future media studies will refer to this period of time (W's 2nd term) as the "purge"where good men die like dogs while the rest try to figure out what loyalty means.
posted by hortense at 3:43 PM on February 12, 2005


Jordan doesn't even have to be right on his (IMHO quite likely) assertion , in order for his "resignation" to be a worrying sign about the limits of dissent in US corporate media. I can't think of another industrialized country where the accepted spectrum of opinion in the media is as narrow as in the US, yet the drive is to make it narrower still.
For what its worth: here are some reasons why Jordan might have had good reason to make a statement about the intentional targeting of journalists by US forces in Iraq.
posted by talos at 5:19 PM on February 12, 2005


GoogleZon
posted by TetrisKid at 5:30 PM on February 12, 2005


Concerning the truth of the original comments by Jordan, I recently watched "Control Room", the documentary about Al Jazeera. Short movie, not ground-breaking but interesting perspectives. At one point, during heaving bombing in Baghdad by US forces, they send a reporter to the roof of the building to get the story--explosions and chaos all around. Well, according to Al Jazeera, a US plane circled the Al Jazeera building once or twice, then dived straight down in an attack and bombed it. The reporter on the roof was killed. The US military reported that the fighters had been taking fire from the building.

I'm sure the full truth of the matter will never be known, but "Control Room" certainly leans toward the idea that US forces specifically targeted the Al Jazeera office in Baghdad. Me, I can see it either way, fog of war and all that, but I tend to distrust the US military when the levels become so high as to actually reach the cabal of dark lords in the administration.
posted by zardoz at 6:40 PM on February 12, 2005


where good men die like dogs while the rest try to figure out what loyalty means.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
posted by Vidiot at 9:22 PM on February 12, 2005


"..... a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."
posted by hortense at 11:28 PM on February 12, 2005


I think it is quite interesting to note there are two factions on MeFi: a group that want to dig up dirt, find the truth, investigate, incriminate, incarcerate a bunch of people who they claim are acting immorally and illegally; and a group that tries to stifle all investigation, sweep claims and problems under the rug, invalidate concerns by pointing out flaws in the presentation of those concerns, and protect a bunch of people who they claim are not acting immorally or illegally.

It seems likely to me that these two groups are split along party lines.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on February 13, 2005


Wow, generalize much? I'm sure this has nothing to do with the fact that one party is currently in power.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:45 PM on February 13, 2005


Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters
With the resignation of CNN's news chief, Eason Jordan, Webloggers have shown their growing influence. [New York Times | February 14, 2005]
posted by ericb at 7:51 AM on February 14, 2005


the WSJ chimed in too, saying this wasn't a firing offense--and that Eason admitting they didn't report bad things about Saddam in 03 and earlier to protect their correspondents actually was.
posted by amberglow at 8:39 AM on February 14, 2005


By the way, Steve, aren't we still waiting on your defense of "Jeff Gannon" over here?
Posted by Vidiot at 11:52 AM February 12


I thought Steve made it clear that the Gannon thing was no big deal? Oh wait... It's a "power-shift in [sic?] the media to the general citizens of this country" and a possible example of the media's increasing accountability?
posted by nequalsone at 8:39 AM on February 14, 2005


If Eason Jordan's departure is the mark of blogging's power, than blogging is a pathetic medium indeed. Conservative bloggers did play a role in dealing a hall pass to Dan Rather and in hurting Eason Jordan's street cred, but they would have been incapable of translating their web-based angst into actual pressure on big personnel if not for a media climate heavily indebted to the firebrand that is Fox News. Bloggers provide the netroots and the thug-like loyalty, but they are not in and of themselves sufficient to cause hiring and firing decisions. Not at least with these two cases.

Liberal bloggers have a better case to make in terms of causality regarding Jeff Gannon, but that's somewhat of a disappointing claim, since Gannon basically fronted a fake news organization. His take-down is more like the take-down of a fellow blogger, someone who snuck by the pack and ended up with institutional clout when it wasn't deserved. The purging of the Talon News archives is proof of this.

But still, let us go ahead and credit bloggers for the various and sundry take-downs. What does that prove? It only shows that blogging has arrived at the point in which it can impact extant political realities through negation, it does not show that it has real power, as I think for blogging to be a real force it must first produce something. It can be something abstract, like an attitudinal shift or a new way of conceptualizing political organization, or it can be something concrete, like the ability to push particular authorizing legislation or legal reform. So far, despite the high profile take-downs being awarded to conservative blogging, the best examples of the sort of thing I'm talking about are found in left blogistan: the Trippi revolution with Dean, the advent of Daily Kos, and so on. The right has some powerful voices online, but they get much of their force from a larger shift in televisual media economies, and they employ a different structure than does a site like Daily Kos. Redstate and LGF might qualify, but again, their impact has been significantly lighter, with redstate being sparse and poorly interfaced, and LGF being more comical and xenophobic than anything else.
posted by hank_14 at 12:21 PM on February 14, 2005


Jeff Jarvis, the head of the Internet arm of Advance Publications, who publishes a blog at buzzmachine.com. said, "I wish our goal were not taking off heads but digging up truth"
From a guest article by Katharine Q. Seelye, Jacques Steinberg and David F. Gallagher in the NYT.
posted by semmi at 5:44 PM on February 14, 2005


Oh, say, here's more Jeffy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on February 14, 2005


Er, not that Jeff Jarvis guy, but the man-whore-in-the-whitehouse Jeff.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:16 PM on February 14, 2005


we've been updated the Jeff Gannon:Male Prostitute:Plame Leaker: etc story here (including a conservative blog covering it)
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on February 14, 2005


kgasmart...you say that as if they don't already agressively defend coprorate interests?
posted by filchyboy at 8:18 PM on February 14, 2005


In the Blogosphere, Lightning Strikes Thrice
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 13, 2005; Page D01


Steve, are you Howard? joking.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:49 AM on February 15, 2005


« Older My Armoury   |   '01 Memo to Rice Warned of Qaeda and Offered Plan Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments