Friday, May 27, 2005

Eason Jordan, take II; with similar silence from the media

Linda Foley is the head of the Newspaper Guild of America, the media's AFL/CIO. She said the "U.S. military" is specifically targeting media members in Iraq. She made a false distinction between US troops and the US military (i.e., the higher-ups want to kill reporters, the soldiers just carry out the orders). Thomas Lipscomb pounds her in a column, whilst the MSM ignores the whole thing. Excerpts from Lipscomb:

Sound familiar? It should. Eason Jordan, president of CNN News, had to resign for making exactly the same accusation at Davos four months ago. He had a major problem--no evidence to back up his charges. And being a prominent person in the news business, once the word got out through the blogosphere, just as it had on CBS’s use of phony Bush records, Jordan was caught in a media firestorm.

Every talking head rushed on air 24/7 to attack or defend what Jordan had supposedly said, and forests of newsprint were devoted to pundantics on the theme. And because no transcript was ever released, the entire affair was conducted in an embarrassing blather of hearsay.

Foley had the advantage of seeing what happened to Jordan and, as the head of a powerful union of 35,000 journalists and media workers, she knew anything she said about targeting journalists would likely be scrutinized. So one would expect that she has a pretty solid case for her revival of the discredited Jordan charges? But one would be wrong. Her spokesperson, Candice Johnson, told me Foley can provide “no evidence” to support her charges either.

* * *
If the most basic tenets of Journalism 101 are now no longer important enough for the media itself to honor and defend against their own members who violate them, where is the professionalism and the authority that is our main claim to writing the indispensable “first draft of history” – much less its value for sale? And if we lose sight of that irretrievably, who needs us? There are bloggers out there today with more credibility than Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, Eason Jordan, and Linda Foley combined, and their audiences are growing.

If Foley is allowed to walk unchallenged from what Mencken might have called “a clear, simple, and” unproven statement, it will only accelerate the speed at which her members lose what is left of their credibility--and then their jobs. (Look at The New York Times newsroom downsizing this week.) If the press isn’t going to take its own standards seriously, it is hard to think of why anyone should take the press seriously enough to pay for it. In the meantime, Rupert Murdoch’s and Roger Ailes’s success offers a constant unpleasant reminder: the media market prefers dogs that bark.

No comments: