The news about Eason Jordan’s remarks at Davos continues to break into the mainstream news media, and not just in the op-ed sections to which it had been limited. Today, the Miami Herald covers the story in its TV section, explaining how bloggers can work in positive ways to bring news to light (via La Shawn Barber at Easongate):
Abovitz’s account of remarks he heard from Eason Jordan, CNN’s chief news executive, during a panel discussion at an economic conference in Switzerland have not only rocketed around the Internet, but triggered fierce attacks on CNN from mainstream media critics.
They’ve also touched off another major credibility crisis for television news, still reeling from the scandal over a botched preelection CBS report on President Bush’s military service. And they’ve demonstrated the new power of the independent Internet diaries known as Web logs, or blogs.
Jordan’s remarks — which he says were misinterpreted — were not reported in the mainstream media until hundreds of blogs had been buzzing about them for a week and demanding explanations from CNN.
”When thinking people, especially journalism professionals, say something like that — that U.S. troops might be war criminals — and can’t substantiate it, you’ve got to follow it up,” said Jack Shafer, media critic for the influential website slate.com. “Blogs always seem to ask much tougher questions of a powerful media figure than Time magazine or The New York Times or Newsweek do.”
The Herald does an adequate job of explaining the Davos part of the Eason Jordan story, but perhaps more importantly, treats the blogs that covered it with respect. That kind of endorsement gives the blogosphere more credibility with the Herald’s readers, which may increase the pressure on CNN to get that tape released. Jack Shaefer gets quoted again later in the article explaining how blogswarms may get bad press, but the reason is that blogswarm pressure the media to respond — and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Slowly, despite the efforts of Bret Stephens and Howard Kurtz, this story is making its way to the mainstream American audiences that Eason Jordan and CNN wanted to keep ignorant. Having a major daily cover the story as news rather than opinion will introduce competitive pressure for others to keep up — and the media blackout will completely collapse, Davos videotape or no. All we need to do is maintain our determination and energy.