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February 12, 2005

Eason Jordan resigns.

[background music - "Another one bites the dust"]

I haven't been writing about it because everybody else has. I didn't have anything to add, really, so I uncharacteristically kept my fingers off the keyboard on that topic.

Matt over at Blackfive sent out a note yesterday regarding the website he and others established, the petition they were starting, and asking for assistance in putting pressure on CNN regarding Mr. Jordan. NZ Bear has a linkfest, should you care for a one-stop shop on the bflogging of Mr. Jordan. Sorta overtaken by events now - though make no mistake, Matt and his confrere's were at the leading edge of this.

In the other window I had open, Drudge had the headline, "CNN executive Eason Jordan resigns over comments on the military... "

Looks like a story the blogosphere wouldn't let go of (and with MSM participation) has brought down another media figure. You'd think these guys would learn... if you are a public figure anymore, ANYTHING YOU SAY is going to find it's way on to the 'net, *especially* the venal, stupid stuff that has tripped up Mr. Jordan. Like it or not - and for good AND ill - the Internet and personal publishing are changing the rules. In this regard, however, it's as much payback as anything else.

Journalists used to give politicians 'cover' on things they did on the side - witness Roosevelt's disability, and Kennedy's peccadillos. The take-down of Nixon (earned by the man) caused them to change the rules. But they still gave 'professional courtesy' to themselves and their fellow travelers on faux pas (or unfortunate gaffes - or unintended truth-telling).

But then they (hell, they were just the conduits - the public's obsession with celebrity made it all possible) realized (in a gestalt sense, I don't think there were any meetings on the subject) that celebrity can sell ideas, not just products. So we started getting treated to movie and rock star opinions on Global Warming, hunting, social policy, foreign policy, etc, as if the mere fact you have stature of some sort in some field means your opinions are important and meaningful in all fields. Because people who consciously or subconsciously wanted to push a point realized that if Babs said it, more people would listen than otherwise. And, among themselves, because they controlled the media outlets, they'd say whatever they wanted, and no one was there to rub their noses in it.

Comes the Internet, and weblog software. And the free Blog sites. And the landscape shifted. Now there is an alternative media of sorts. One which will take the stories (on both sides of the spectrum) that the MSM does not wish to cover, for whatever reason - whether a commercial decision, or a self-serving decision - and lays it out there. And the MSM discovers that they aren't the only ones who can research. Or write. And write persuasively, with passion, and humor... And the leaders of the Old Guard still haven't figured it out - that they can't go to things like Davos and just 'talk amongst themselves' - because there are other ears.

Bloggers are also capable of being horribly wrong - but the very distributed nature of the medium tends to curb the excesses... the interactivity and information sharing has a self-correcting tendency. Not always - but if you make a goof (like I did with haversack in comments to a post below), there's always a John Heinrichs out there to whisper in your ear "Gotcha!" Or shout it in a subsequent comment, bastage!

The interesting thing is - the Stars don't have to worry about it much, really, despite what little burbles in the revenue stream the Dixie Chicks may have briefly suffered - we expect them to be earnest buffoons, many of them, and in the area of their true expertise, they still make a living.

No, it's the 'serious' people who have to be concerned now. Whether they are bit chumps like Ward Churchill, or BMOCs like Eason Jordan - when they bloviate inanely, they end up damaging their core competency... with real results. I'm sure Mr. Jordan will land on his feet, and won't be missing any bill payments, regardless. But perhaps he will watch his tongue better. No worries, Eason - there's another Saddam to suck up to somewhere.

Comments on Eason Jordan resigns.
Instapilot briefed on February 12, 2005 10:23 AM

John,

Whenever I see you use "gestalt" in a sentence, I instinctively reach for my pistol. Carl Jung would be impressed. But what really impressed me was the closing sentence to this post...now THAT was a keeper.

Instapilot

Cricket briefed on February 12, 2005 02:36 PM

Cassandra has some obits on her blog and I think we are going to have a cross blog wake for Eason! I don't know...but if someone wants to run with it for the weekend entertainment, sounds good to me.

Barb briefed on February 13, 2005 07:08 PM

I'm glad to see him gone, but he was just a tip of the MSM iceberg.

Cricket briefed on February 14, 2005 01:10 AM

What is really interesting about this is the remarks made at a summit. A summit where all comments would
be 'non attributable.'

There is the specter of Eason Jordan being haunted
by the fact that some of the journalists he sent
to Iraq never came back. (I read that as part of a story on the Captain's Quarters blog)

Okay, I can accept that he is all broken up about losing some colleagues, but to say that they were targeted by the US MILITARY?

And is he more broken up than a captian or a commander who orders his troops into battle and loses them? I find this rather self serving,
as the comment seeks to find a corollary between
Eason and the military. I think there is one,
but he belittled their sacrifice to journalism by not telling the truth.

THAT is what he should be angry about.

Okay, it is late and I am cranky and need my sleep.
Thanks John, for letting me vent.

Ben briefed on February 14, 2005 10:35 PM

What I think is wonderful about the blogosphere is how it really takes us back to old-fashioned styles of arguing -- i.e., with facts and reasoning. No longer are people restricted to the 750 words or whatever length a newspaper column is -- if there's a story there, you can read it in full. And you can be persuaded (as I was re the presidency last summer and the courts).