Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Making an example of Eason Jordan

What I've said about the Eason Jordan affair has mostly not been about the scandal itself, but I thought I'd collect it into a post anyway.
  1. Media consumer bias: I think observers of the media (who claim bias) are biased themselves.
  2. More on Eason Jordan and the biased media: Mostly a response to a Power Line post on the subject. I dispute that the media are as bad as it says.
  3. Eason Jordan outrage is recreational: I say that what's going on is not so outrageous.
  4. Eason Jordan resigns: I say that releasing the tape won't settle the debate.
I think my comments were mostly about the debate rather than part of it. It may be obvious from reading them that I think Jordan got worse than he deserved, but I tried to keep my mind open.

More severe than my opinion is this, which likens Jordan's criticism to McCarthyism:
Sad conclusion in the Eason Jordan affair (see below the New York Times article), sad day for the freedom of expression in America and sad day again for the future of blogging: the defense of the US army honor seemed more important to some bloggers than the defense of reporters' work (and sometimes life)!
Less severe is a veteran journalist's remarks, which I found via this post at Michelle Malkin's site:
The "mis-spoke" defence is all very well, but if there's anyone who knows or should know how to be quoted, how not to be quoted and how to avoid being misquoted it's a journalist with Jordan's experience.

If he were a "civilian" I could understand the "tempest in a teapot" view but this guy is a journalist who quotes people everyday.

Ditto, for telling stories that CNN hadn't aired. If they hadn't broadcast the story about the Al Jazeera journo forced to eat his shoes, it's because they couldn't get people to talk about it on the record. A news executive can't go passing on those rumours in a semi-public forum. If the standard of proof wasn't good enough to get it on CNN, it 's not good wnough to discuss at a forum in Davos. Maybe at JOrdan's dinner table but not Davos.

To me, these two mistakes are inexcusable coming from a news executive. And they are indeed grounds for firing or resigning.
That's something I hadn't thought of. He may have thought he was off the record, but maybe that doesn't matter. I have been thinking "he just misspoke" and I hadn't considered that it might still mean the man has to go. What's a mere mistake for me may be a sign of incompetence for Eason Jordan.

Ultimately, the story of Eason Jordan will be much less about what happened at Davos and much more about what happened afterward. I've talked about that a bit, but from a different angle from the "media suck; blogs rawk" perspective I see elsewhere.
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