Skip to comments.Blog pundits claim CNN scalp
Posted on 02/16/2005 3:18:57 PM PST by Pikamax
Blog pundits claim CNN scalp Roy Eccleston FEBRUARY 17, 2005
"THEY'RE scared spitless," says Glenn Reynolds. "But they shouldn't be."
The University of Tennessee law professor and author of the popular web log - blog - InstaPundit.com is talking about the reaction of the mainstream US media in the week after bloggers gleefully claimed the scalp of a top CNN executive. This scalp belonged to Eason Jordan, who was claimed to have accused the US military of deliberately targeting reporters in Iraq and killing a dozen of them. Exactly what Jordan said at the World Economic Forum in Davos isn't clear because there is no transcript yet and those who were present disagree on his precise words. But a report filed from Switzerland by a blogger set off a firestorm that eventually triggered his resignation, even though Jordan continued to claim he had not meant the US was deliberately shooting reporters.
Whatever the facts, the upshot is that the influence of the blogosphere - the ever-expanding habitat of bloggers - continues to grow.
Long the preserve of the big media companies and professional journalists with their codes of ethics, the right to inform and interpret the world is under determined challenge from a diverse group with not much in common but internet-connected computers.
According to Reynolds, discontent with the modern media has been driving bloggers since the terrorist attacks on September11, 2001, when people began to find more of interest on the internet than in the mainstream media - MSM to bloggers.
"It's a case of people being tired with what they're getting from the increasingly corporatised mainstream media and looking for something that seems more honest and authentic and, frankly, more interesting," he says.
The blogosphere's potency hit me in the final days of the US presidential election campaign during an interview with an Amish couple attending an election rally for George W. Bush.
"You're Australian aren't you," said a bystander, listening to our conversation."So what do you think about John Kerry's sister interfering in your election campaign?"
I was stunned. Here was a particularly well-informed American - he not only knew Australia had held an election but also seemed aware of a small story of mine that The Australian had published on page 15 six weeks before. The piece quoted Diana Kerry claiming Australians were more vulnerable to terrorism because of John Howard's support for Bush in Iraq. It wasn't alleging any interference in the Australian election - but some obviously saw it that way. Yet how did this man come to know about it?
In my case, the Kerry comments had angered conservative bloggers - such as captainsquartersblog.com - who bounced it caustically around the internet, where it was read by mainstream conservative columnists in Washington. The story eventually had the ultimate conservative treatment: a piece in The Weekly Standard, a prominent political magazine, and a column by Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
With an estimated 8 million blogs in the US last year and 32 million readers, blogs may be the biggest development in the media right now. But it is still in its early phase. A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project in Washington says while blog readership in the US was up 58 per cent in 2004, that is still only about one-quarter of all internet users. And 62 per cent of all users don't know what a blog is.
Mostly, blogs are occasionally updated diaries, but some of them are clever and gossipy streams of thoughts, news, observations and links to other websites that are updated regularly on every topic from the media to politics and celebrities.
But while bloggers tend to be commentators, not reporters, in the past two years some have shown themselves capable of making news as well. Just weeks before CNN's Jordan quit, liberal bloggers got their own scalp with the resignation of a conservative reporter who had been lambasted for a "softball" question to Bush at a press conference.
Several liberal websites, including DailyKos.com and Atrios.blogspot.com, targeted Jeff Gannon, who had written for the conservative website Talon News and GOPUSA. It appears his real name was James Guckert and that he was linked to internet domain names such as Hotmilitarystud.com. Gannon cited hurt to his family and quit.
Before that, CBS evening news anchorman Dan Rather and several 60 Minutes crew were lashed by bloggers who claimed they used fake documents to attack Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard.
Then there was Trent Lott, who was forced to stand down as Senate leader in December 2003 over comments he made that sounded as if he regretted the end of desegregation in the US. ABC News ran a small story, as did The Washington Post, but much of that controversy was generated by bloggers such as Atrios, Joshua Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo.com and Reynolds at InstaPundit who hammered the racially loaded comments.
But some say the blogosphere is also damaging itself by a "gotcha" mentality. Kevin Drum, blogger for WashingtonMonthly.com, is a moderate liberal who is worried. "It looks to me that blogs are going the way of tabloid journalism and talk radio," he tells Media.
Two years ago it was more civil, more about policy debate and ideas, he says. Now "it seems that the thing the blogosphere is becoming most famous for is figuring out new and better ways to hound people out of their job".
Drum laments what he says is the political bloggers being pressured to stick with their own team. He says he is attacked by fellow liberals if he writes anything that might be seen as giving comfort to the Republicans.
Can't the blogosphere support brawlers and thinkers? "In theory, sure; in practice, no," says Drum, a former software marketing executive who writes full time for the Washington Monthly magazine's blog, attracting about 50,000 readers a day. "I just think bad blogging drives out good. There's no room for interesting discussion of ideas and policy if there's nobody else to discuss it with."
Reynolds sounds less concerned and rejects the mainstream criticism of the blogosphere as too extreme. He calls "absurd" the claim by Steve Lovelady of The Columbia Journalism Review - and former editor of The Wall Street Journal - who attacked "the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob" after Jordan's resignation.
Reynolds says the MSM should go back to "what they should actually do", which in his view is more news and "less bloviating an opinion". The media no longer has a competitive advantage on opinion, he argues - but it does in newsgathering.
Edward Morrissey, a call centre manager who writes captainsquartersblog. com, wrote that the moral of Jordan's demise was "the media can't cover up the truth and expect to get away with it - and journalists can't toss around allegations without substantiation and expect people to believe them any more".
If it was a fight it would have been called right after the Rathergate fiasco.
Bovine excrement! It was videotaped, but Jordan is blocking its release.
Ok. Eason is history. Why isn't any one after Barney Frank too. He repeated eason's comment as his own. Not enough K-Y?
The bloggers merely publicized a false and irresponsible comment that caused Jordan's demise. The MSM acts as though the blog created it.
No! Barney Frank is the one who CHALLENGED Eason, in front of everyone else at Davos. If Frank hadn't said anything, we would never have found out about Eason's comment. Barney Frank is one of the heroes in this.
How come I never hear of these websites!?
Come on. He has to be pulling our leg! NO ONE is that f*****g stupid!
Are you sure about that? The reports that I've read indicated that both he and Chris Dodd attacked Jordan over his comments. Did I miss something?
It's not that I want to stand up for either one of those two but I would like to keep things straight (pardon the pun) in my own mind.
I dont think the majority of reporters has anything to fear until their liberal bias starts turning their stories into fantasy . Easson was lying thru his teeth and got caught.
No he isn't. He wanted to see evidence of it so he could get a congressional investigation together. He is just as bad.
How bout them Vols?
Whatever his motives, Frank challenged Jordan in public.
He didn't challenge him....he wanted to see the proof so he could investigate. He was salivating thinking he had the military in his sights. Don't give him good guy status where none is deserved.
" With an estimated 8 million blogs in the US last year and 32 million readers "
Added to the members and lurkers of conservative forums like FR and the millions of listeners to talk radio, there are an enormous amount of people who get their news from the ascendant media .
But, are not allowed any representation at WH briefings and Presidential press conferences.
Imagine a press conference where people from Rush Limbaugh to Jim Robinson to DFU to Sean Hannity to Hugh Hewitt to Howlin to Laura Ingraham and reps from Captain's Quarters and Power Line and on and on and on were allowed to ask intelligent, insightful and thought provoking questions of elected officials- in one forum.
I still don't understand why this WH does not conduct separate press briefings with the ascendant media-even on an experimental basis.
It could even be a teleconference type situation where a bunch of citizen journalists were allowed to take turns asking the President and/or McClellan questions.
What is the WH afraid of ?
That Terry Moran and John Roberts and David Gregory might stop their nightly puff pieces on the President and his policies ? ( sarcasm off )
If there is evidence that US forces deliberately murdered journos, we should have a friggin' congressional investigation, it would be a tremendous outrage. Our armed forces are not a bunch of savage murderers.
Here's what Michelle Malkin wrote:
Just got off the phone with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who spoke with me about Easongate. Rep. Frank was on the panel at Davos.Frank stood up for our military in Davos, when he didn't have to.
Rep. Frank said Eason Jordan did assert that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military. After Jordan made the statement, Rep. Frank said he immediately "expressed deep skepticism." Jordan backed off (slightly)
You just don't like him because he's a gay liberal Democrat, fine, you don't have to like him, but give credit where it's due.
I get the feeling he could take a bullet for President Bush and you would just accuse him of trying to hog the limelight.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.