Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Griping about Bloggers and Responses

Lots of griping about bloggers going on out there.

Here are some responses:

From the Washington Times:
Add "salivating morons" to the mainstream media's growing canon of stupid things to say about the ever-vigilant bloggers. Steve Lovelady, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, the self-styled flagship of journalism, said this in the fallout of CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan's resignation on Friday: "The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail." Add also, as loath as we are to do so, the Wall Street Journal's editorial comment from yesterday that professional journalism, of which it proclaims membership, is much better than "the enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs.".....
The meme among those outlets that didn't provide coverage is that the bloggers were on a headhunting spree, when in fact very few called for Mr. Jordan's immediate resignation. If any underlying theme could be found, it is called truth-hunting — and CNN had an obligation to get it. When influential members of the media defame our troops, they should answer for it. If that's moronic, sign us up.
We also can't understand the WSJ's dismissal of the bloggers as "amateurs." At least CNN, or perhaps Mr. Jordan, felt the bloggers' reporting to be important enough to warrant the resignation of their top news executive. After all, this isn't the first time the bloggers have been proved right.
The Wall Street Journal stands on the wrong side of the barricades in this battle, despite the fact that the mainstream media got beat badly by the morons — again.

Jane Novak says:

In 2004, seventy-one journalists were murdered, in 2003 fifty-three, in 2002 forty-six. Only when the allegation is that the US is doing the targeting does the US media lift its sleeping head.

According to the World Association of Newspaper Editors (WAN) 130 journalists are currently in prison around the world. At least somebody is counting them, but these journalists and editors have no vocal advocates among the powerful and free American talking heads.

Some organizations, like WAN, provide important training, prizes, publications, legal advice, and scholarships for developing media. International organizations like CPJ and RSF regularly send protest letters. But the big boys with their big bats and big voices are missing from the fight.

New York Times weekly columnists Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, and Paul Krugman have a world audience but no time for anything but Bush bashing. Do they understand that speaking the names of these 130 may keep the prisoners alive, get them released, diminish their literal torture, or increase their food rations?

Their atrocities can only continue in the darkness of obscurity. American media titans have the power to shine the light into the prison cells, but they don't.

Is it impolitic, not PC, to advocate for victims of repression? That used to be a liberal thing. Are they expecting the journalists in the censored media to break the story?

These are their colleagues, other journalists after all. Is there no loyalty, no outrage, no dedication to the concept of a free press? Apparently not enough to speak 130 names.

Editors and journalists are censored, imprisoned and murdered in the regimes that are the most cancerous and dysfunctional. It’s a story that would serve the American public as well.

A study in oblivion, the stars of American media ignore the blood of their brothers and instead, in big offices and on comfy chairs, they focus their ire on the guys in pajamas. Bush Derangement Syndrome has taken its hold.

As penance for Eason Jordan's transgression, CNN should have Wolf Blitzer do a daily segment on currently imprisoned journalists. The series would run out of faces to show by July.

L. Brent Bozell III notes:

When Congressman Barney Frank suggested at the conference that journalists dying in Iraq have been "collateral damage," Jordan objected. On the forum's own weblog, journalist Rony Abovitz reported that Jordan "asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. 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-U.S. crowd) and cause great strain on others."

If these charges were true, they would make Abu Ghraib's naked pyramids pale by comparison. But they were wild and reckless accusations, which explains Jordan's subsequent, furious backpedaling and denials. Still, it begs the question: Why would a man whose profession and expertise was "newsgathering" make such wild charges without evidence? Jordan quickly drew angry objections from fellow panelist Frank, as well as a condemnation from Sen. Chris Dodd. When you're outraging Frank and Dodd, you're really putting yourself out on an extreme limb.

But then Jordan and CNN added to the outrage by refusing any attempts to release a transcript or videotape of the off-the-record panel discussion. What a spectacle: a news outlet always championing the public's "right to know" and crusading for "full disclosure" clamping down like the stereotypical arrogant multinational corporation they like to expose. Richard Nixon, meet Eason Jordan. Does anyone believe that if President Bush (or Vice President Cheney or Secretary Rumsfeld or fill in the blank) claimed in an off-the-record forum overseas that Ted Kennedy was a murderer, that CNN wouldn't be in the front of the line demanding that the administration release the videotape?

The controversy was deepened by the fact that Jordan already carried heavy baggage on this issue. He admitted to the world in 2003 that CNN kept a lid on news exposing the horror of Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime to maintain its access to Iraq and preserve the lives of its staffers there. CNN plays the same shut-up-for-access-to-dictators game with its Havana bureau to this day.

Controversy was also deepened when bloggers like Ed Morrissey (at his blog "Captain's Quarters") reported that this was not a one-time gaffe for Jordan. Morrissey said Jordan had also "accused the U.S. military of torturing journalists (November 2004) and the Israeli military of deliberate assassinations (October 2002) at journalistic forums, all overseas and outside the reach of most American media."

These accusations are stop-the-presses huge. So why didn't CNN ever produce some evidence for these charges and put them on the air? And if they weren't true, why wasn't this man fired long ago?

Amazingly, most of the major "news" media avoided this news -- especially CNN. So when Jordan resigned, it made the blogs seem so powerful that liberals started attacking them for recklessly destroying Jordan's career, even using goofy terms like "cyber-McCarthyism" to denounce it. But what the bloggers did here was deliver information and accountability, the same things the major media purport to be providing -- unless it's one of their own in the hot seat.

I suspect that this intention to discredit bloggers is the latest recirculation of that old propagandist tool - tell a big lie often enough and loud enough people will believe it...but you have to control the information media to make that happen. And the truth is, things have changed, and there are a lot more channels of information nowadays, and a lot more eyes watching.

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