Friday, February 04, 2005

Just So Much Meat

In case you haven't been following the Eason Jordan, get ready. It's been building for days and soon the whole thing's going to explode. Jordan is the Chief News Executive at CNN. During a public discussion at the World Economic Forum he claimed that "he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted."

Jordon offered no proof or evidence of any kind, not even the names of the journalists. This isn't the first time he has made such baseless accusations against the military in public. Now the Blogosphere is out for his head. Hasn't he learned anything in the past year? I'll put this as clearly as possible.

Rule #1 for the New Media Era: If you are a public figure (politician, journalist, academic, executive for a large corporation or NGO, outspoken celebrity, activist or in a leadership position with any government or military body) then you must know that your public statements and writings are being watched by millions of people, not all of whom agree with you. You can't make wild allegations without any evidence and expect to escape unchallenged.

The Blogosphere is going to have Jordan's head on a pike. There is a video of the discussion including Jordan's comments. When that comes out, and these things always come out, the man is doomed. He will be fired from CNN and drummed out of respectible journalism. Maybe he'll get lucky and find a gig at a minor think tank or in academia. As an appendix to Rule #1: the Blogosphere never sleeps, it doesn't rest, when it smells blood it goes for the kill. At this point, Jordan is just so much meat.

But don't take my word for it. Here's a compilation of blog posts. Judge for yourself.
Power Line: Jordan Story Explodes
Austin Bay Blog: CNN's Skeleton and Eason Jordan's Davos Gossip
Captain's Quarters: Another Example of Eason's Fables
Roger Simon: Official Statement CNN Regarding Eason Jordan
The Fourth Rail: Eason Jordan, CNN's Coverup and a Call to Arms
Sisyphean Musings is working on getting the tape sometime next week.
La Shawn Barber has The Eason Jordan Repository.

Check back with these guys often. By Sunday this will be all over the morning talk shows. By next week it will be the media story (or meta-media story). Even without the tape Jordan may not last the month. If the tape goes public, he's working at Starbucks.

Update: Glenn Reynolds sums it up as

"After all, either Jordan's telling the truth -- in which case it's an explosive story of U.S. troop misconduct of the sort U.S. media usually pounce on -- or, alternatively, Jordan's lying -- in which case it's an explosive story of misconduct at a major news organization. ... Was this an innocent misunderstanding based on clumsy phraseology? Or did a top executive at a major news operation tell a lie to foreign representatives in order to ingratiate himself to anti-Americans at the price of slandering American troops?"
Tough call. Truth or lie? Mistake or slander? What do you think?

Update: Eason Jordan resigned from CNN on 2/11/05.

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