Monday, February 14, 2005

A mere kerfuffle? No.

More on the Eason Jordan resignation. First, the Wall Street Journal downplays Jordan's transgression both substantively and contextually in this editorial. Comparing Jordan's slander at Davos to his admission in the NYT last year that CNN spiked stories that would have been negative toward Saddam to maintain access in Baghdad, the Journal says "CNN is throwing Mr. Jordan overboard for this much slighter transgression, despite faithful service through his entire adult career." Thus, the Jordan resignation is a result of "enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs."

The Journal is failing to take account of three things: (1) Davos was not the first time Jordan made this slander; (2) the slightness of this transgression could have been viewed on tape (which CNN has not requested to be released) and therefore evaluated with more context, but that has not happened and will not (see below); (3) the congratulations of the European, Arab and non-Arab Muslim media that Jordan accepted after the Davos panel for confirming those folks' beliefs in the US forces.

The perennially astute Andy McCarthy says the Journal blew this one:

. . . as the Journal well knows from having been part of the stampede on occasion, a torrent of pressure will generally not force an outcome that the underlying facts don't compel once everyone has weighed in. If Jordan and CNN thought the facts did not warrant ouster despite the background and position of the person making the inflammatory comments . . . their course of action was simple: release the tape, take comfort in the defense waged by the Journal and other influential media outlets, and tough it out. They didn't do that, and the public can only surmise (since folks like the Journal editors still won't call for the tape) that the facts must be pretty bad.

Second . . . a repeat offender should be on a tighter leash than someone with a clean record. For what little it may be worth, I don't agree with the Journal that what Jordan said in Davos was a comparative trifle. What he said was indefensible, and the position he holds coupled with CNN's grounds for worry about its reputation make it a hanging offense on its own merit. . .

Finally, the Journal faults the bloggers for failing to perceive the difference between "Easongate" and "Rathergate." . . . The CBS debacle was not a threshold. It was the far margin of disgraceful journalism. If the Journal's new position is that no incident of shameful media performance is a story unless it achieves Rather-like dimension, the rest of the transparently biased mainstream media should rest a lot easier today.

Jonah Goldberg notes that it's right-wing bloggers who have captured the big game over the past three years, not the rest of the media.

The second letter to, a media site for the press, is by an embedded reporter in Iraq who eviscerates the incident that killed two journalists that the far left has used to support Jordan's slander. [HT: MM]

Meanwhile, Tim Blair cuts the NYT a new one -- which it deserves because the Jordan statements were not covered by the "Paper of Record" until after Jordan resigned. Michelle Malkin rips Jordan's defenders in this column. And Bill Roggio of believes the tape is worse than CNN thought it would be: ". . . the damning information may be the reaction of the audience. If the audience reaction is as anti-American as Davos attendee Rony Abovitz described, the American public may be quite upset indeed with Eason Jordan, and by default, CNN for knowingly employing a person that recklessly encourages such anti-American sentiment."

The Monk has been on this issue and has been clear about his views: if the reports of Jordan's slanders were true, he should be sacked. The fact that CNN has allowed the World Economic Forum organizers to squelch the tape is all the evidence we need: Jordan slandered the military by alleging it kills journalists deliberately. This is a fireable offense and forcing Jordan out was the right thing for CNN to do.

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