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February 21, 2005

The capitalism of information

From Newsday.com:

[Eason] Jordan said he was resigning to avoid CNN being "unfairly tarnished" by his remarks at a conference in Switzerland that some journalists killed by the U.S. military had been targeted. He subsequently said he never meant to suggest it was intentional, but the context is murky since no transcript or video of the event has come to light.

He was out of a job before some major media outlets even reported there was a controversy.

Bloggers uncovered and pushed along the story, just like they were the first to poke holes in last fall's CBS story about President Bush's military service. Some with political agendas view Rather as a trophy for their work because he announced he was leaving as the network's chief anchor two months later.

Here's what's really interesting about this piece. Contrast these two statements:

"I think we were all surprised," said Jeff Jarvis, whose "Buzzmachine" site is a clearinghouse for Web logs. "Most bloggers were not out for his head. We were out for the truth. We wanted to find out what he said."

"What executive is going to want to stick his head up and express an opinion when you have bloggers making a blood sport out of denigrating people?" said [Media critic Danny] Schechter, who has made a documentary, "WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception," about the media's role in the buildup to the Iraq war.

There are a lot of bloggers, but in all honesty I don't see more than to top 100 or so having any real impact (I would not be in that list, unfortunately) the rest simply create background noise and supply the occasional new angle. But any blogger who was actively trying to criticize Eason, would be obvious. What I observed, was indeed people who simply wanted to know the truth, and wanted to know why Eason wouldn't be forthcoming with it.

What is becoming more clear is that the MSM knows full well that bloggers are a threat to their stranglehold on information. Take David Gergan's rather myopic comments for example:

David Gergen, a former adviser to four presidents, lamented that some Internet scribes were out for Jordan's scalp because he represented CNN. Gergen was onstage with Jordan in Switzerland when the original remark was made.

"There are those who wish to paint CNN as this liberal media outlet in contrast to Fox and they want to beat up on him for that reason," Gergen said on PBS's "Newshour." "Frankly, I think that there has been a quality of vigilante justice here which has ... been excessive. It's been a cruel fate for Eason Jordan to be caught in effect in the culture wars that are going on in the country."

CNN does a darn good job at painting itself a Liberal media outlet without anyone else's help at all. I see fear in the eyes of those who sit atop the media mountain, and they don't want to be toppled from their spot. Their bias has long been exposed, and the pure capitalism of the blogosphere has proven to maintain its fairness. Competition is a good thing. And the MSM monopoly doesn't like it.

Posted by Jack Lewis at February 21, 2005 09:47 AM

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