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February 14, 2005
Eason Jordan vs Jeff Gannon: Partisan Grudge Match?

Mark Follman takes me to task for going hard after the Eason Jordan story while ignoring the Jeff Gannon controversy in today's War Room at Salon (annoying ad watch or subscription required). Follman calls me "high-riding" while noting my lack of commentary on Gannon/Guckert's outing by the port side of the blogosphere. It's a charge I'm starting to hear over and over again in my e-mail -- if you're dedicated to truth and justice, why don't you cover X, Y, Z?

First off, I'm not a newspaper, and unlike Follman and others at Salon, I don't get to do this as a full-time job. In fact, apart from the blogads and the tip jar, I don't get much money from my enterprise. I have to work for a living, and so the time I spend on reading and researching articles is necessarily limited. I choose to spend that time on stories and issues that interest me. Most of the time, that fits with my real and perceived political interests, but as my commentary on the Wall Street Journal might demonstrate, I get irritated when my own "team" doesn't play straight. Follman could also check out my commentary on Armstrong Williams, where I hardly can be accused of looking the other way.

In the case of Eason's Fables, I dropped nearly every other topic that I was following to do research on this story, let alone take on other new topics. I do recall the Gannon/Guckert story breaking out, and rather than issue some cheap shot in either direction, I stuck to the story I knew. It did occur to me that I had a choice of the two stories at some point, and I did a quick balance-sheet analysis:

On one hand, we have a case where a reporter from a small-time news outlet with an overt political agenda hired a reporter with a shady past to cover the White House. He asked some cheesy questions with shoddy research and got caught, which should surprise no one.

On the other hand, we have the chief executive of the most influential American news agency making unsubstantiated allegations of deliberate assassination and torture by the American military, exclusively in overseas venues, none of which his news agency had ever reported back home. The same executive had earlier admitted selling out his coverage of Iraq to maintain his presence in Baghdad, enabling the worst media coverage to be broadcast here in the US as unchallenged fact -- or does anyone else remember Peter Arnett's "baby-milk factory" story? Or this instance, where in 1993 Jordan had a CNN reporter read Baghdad Bob's talking points on air as an independently-written news story?

I would ask Follman this, as a journalist: which story has the most impact? Which news agency has the most influence on American and global affairs? Which person did the most damage?

I'll grant that the port side of the blogosphere has unmasked a rather unsavory character in Gannon, but between the two, there is no comparison which was the more important story. Gannon tossed ridiculous softballs to the President during his press conferences, but no one has revealed any evidence that the White House did anything more than call on someone they knew would be sympathetic. Talon News may not be much of a news service, but it does qualify as such and has a few hundred thousand subscribed readers, even if they need a better Human Resources department. I think it's fascinating that the liberals hoisted Gannon on a gibbet for his alleged sexual activity, which makes little sense if one makes the mistake of believing in their live-and-let-live rhetoric.

If Follman really thinks Gannon was the larger and more important story rather than simply using him as a bat to beat the Eason's Fables bloggers, then he's deluding himself. If Salon's editorial policy is truly that news executives slandering American soldiers are less egregious than biased reporters tossing softballs at press conferences, then small wonder Salon makes their readers either pay subscriptions or force them to watch ads to keep afloat. When Salon pays my salary, I'll accept their editorial judgment and carry out their assignments, but until then, I'll rely on my own.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 14, 2005 8:42 PM

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» Jeff Gannon vs. Eason Jordan, a Match-Up made for Salon.Com from Scribe
Salon magazine has two different stories posted on Monday night touting the importance of Talon News' reporter Jeff Gannon's outing and resignation and attempts to pit it against CNN's Eason Jordan resignation.  The debate appears t... [Read More]

Tracked on February 15, 2005 2:22 AM

» A final note on Jordan and Gannon from
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