Captain's Quarters Blog


« Hospiblogging, Day 4: Good Progress | Main | Beinart Can't Buy A Clue At TNR »

February 17, 2005
Eason's Fable At The Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard has published my column on the mass-media response to the Eason Jordan controversy, titled "Eason's Fable", on their Daily Standard website. Jonathan Last asked me to write a brief look at the media (non)reaction to the blogswarm that resulted in Jordan's resignation, and I wound up writing something on the order of War and Peace -- you've seen my posts, you know what I mean. Jonathan expertly trimmed it to readable length, and I'm quite grateful for his confidence in me and his editorial expertise.

I've used my own notes to reconstruct the timeline of events showing the almost-total abdication of news organizations from the story and how Jordan's abrupt exit left them panicking for an explanation:

FOR TWO WEEKS Eason Jordan has been engulfed in a blogswarm. During remarks at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the now-former CNN executive accused the U.S. military of deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq for murder. The unleashed fury of the blogosphere eventually overcame a media blackout to force Jordan from his job, discredit the American media, and start a debate on the nature of blogging that derived directly from the mainstream media's attempt to cast the entire effort as a partisan witch hunt.

But the media has no one but itself to blame--as it stubbornly refused to acknowledge the existence of the controversy, with major national outlets making Eason Jordan's resignation their very first report of the story. Even worse, the media had the story first, and buried it.

Well, RTWT, and all that, of course.

Obviously, the mainstream media have a vested interest in attacking the same blogosphere with which they compete for credibility, if not for income. However, this image of an unmitigated witch hunt and bloodfeast boggles the mind. Not only did the blogswarm find damning information which the national media could have used all along, but we repeatedly sent the information in e-mails to key people in the media. Instead of acknowledging that function and assimilating the information, the media has circled the wagons around the myth that Eason Jordan simply committed a slip of the tongue at Davos, rather than the documented string of slanders and ethical lapses stretching over more than a decade.

What choice do they have, however? If they dont push that mythology, they face the daunting prospect of explaining their lack of coverage, continuing to this day, of all the details on Easons Fables. The broadcast networks must find a way to justify their silence to viewers who will be understandably puzzled to find out more than two weeks after the fact that Jordan has a long history of selling out for foreign access, including making accusations of atrocities without ever presenting any evidence to support them. The nationally prominent news outlets will be forced to admit that they were scooped by the blogs.

Unfortunately, by blaming the bloggers, the media will drive more and more of their viewers to these sites to determine what purportedly drove the blogswarm into a virtual Salem. Once their customers get a chance to review the evidence, their mythmaking will do more damage to their credibility than a thousand blogswarms could ever have done.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 17, 2005 4:02 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Eason's Fable At The Weekly Standard:

» Morrissey at TWS from Wizblog
Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters, here writing at The Weekly Standard, traces the role of blogs in the Eason Jordan matter. Well said, Ed. Morrissey's summary really brings home the point that this whole affair is less about what bloggers... [Read More]

Tracked on February 17, 2005 7:21 PM

» Regarding Eason Jordan from Daniel W. Drezner
There's been a lot of chest-thumping in the blogosphere -- and a lot of hand-wringing in the mediasphere -- about Eason Jordan's resignation from CNN. Most of this debate is on whether Jordan's blog-fueled exit is good or bad. For... [Read More]

Tracked on February 18, 2005 8:31 PM

» Bloggers Threaten Freedom of Speach from The Yankee Clipper
This new addition to the Eason Jordan legacy is offered by syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker and is titled "Speak now, forever wish you hadn't" She contends, "that rigor mortis is settling over the carcass of the Fourth Estate." She thinks thi... [Read More]

Tracked on February 20, 2005 10:32 AM

» Bloggers Threaten Freedom of Speach from The Yankee Clipper
A new addition to the Eason Jordan legacy is offered by syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker and is titled "Speak now, forever wish you hadn't" She contends, "that rigor mortis is settling over the carcass of the Fourth Estate." She thinks this i... [Read More]

Tracked on February 20, 2005 10:40 AM



Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios





blog advertising



button1.jpg

Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!