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February 16, 2005
Brent Bozell Slams The "Lynch-Mob" Meme

L. Brent Bozell writes about the blogswarm surrounding Eason's Fables in today's National Ledger, and he slams Eason Jordan for his unprofessionalism and compares CNN to Richard Nixon's White House. Bozell also castigates the media that ignores the central facts up to the present day, and cites CQ and myself as an authority:

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? ...

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?

That may be the most apt analogy I've yet heard about Eason's Fables. If CNN didn't demand the videotape of such an event, no doubt all other media outlets would, especially if it turned out that Bush or one of his staff regularly made such accusations at political events. Just look at the recent contretemps over the GOP calling Harry Reid an obstructionist. That detailed, 13-page memo with voting records and public statements from the new Senate Minority Leader resulted in a petition signed by all Senate Democrats calling on Bush to publicly disavow the statement -- and got coverage from every single national news outlet, as well as plenty of pundit analysis.

Bozell then remarks on how little the media has actually done to inform its viewers and readers about the nature of Jordan's transgressions by referencing the work published here at CQ, gathered from a number of blogosphere sources:

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?

CNN never aired them because CNN had no evidence to support the charges. No one doubts for a second that CNN or any of the other media outlets would love to break a story like that. If true, I'd want them to do it. But what Jordan did, on several occasions, was to pass along rumor as fact in order to bolster his anti-American credentials so that he could gain or retain access for CNN in some of the world's worst dictatorships and kleptocracies, those countries which have a vested interest in selling anti-American rhetoric to their subjects.

Bozell also presents the best analysis so far of the media blackout's result:

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.

That reaction will wind up driving readers to the blogs to research this supposed witch hunt, where they will find much more to Eason's Fables than the pathetic treatment given in the mainstream press. That will be a body blow to the MSM's credibility and create much more demand for the blogosphere. The media, much more so than in Memogate, has done far more damage to itself than the bloggers could ever have done.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 16, 2005 7:03 AM

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» The Aristocracy of Pull... from My Sandmen
Scrutiny and judgment are the mechanisms for success... or failure. Free markets of speech, like capital, are built not on demands for respect, but on the consent of the genuinely respectful. [Read More]

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» The MSM and Blog Readership from The Bernoulli Effect
Ed Morissey at Captain's Quarters relates L. Brent Bozell's take on Eason Jordan, the MSM, and the blogosphere: Bozell also presents the best analysis so far of the media blackout's result: Amazingly, most of the major "news" media avoided this... [Read More]

Tracked on February 16, 2005 11:48 AM

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