Monday, February 14, 2005

Eason Victim of Witch Hunt

Bloggers (especially those on the right side of the blogosphere) are proud of their trophies---big names brought low by dedicated troops of bloggers who fact-check their asses. The most recent trophy is the head of Jordan Eason, head of newsgathering at CNN, who was forced to resign because of the blogger-fed controversy over his remark that he thought the US military was targeting journalists. While such a comment is indeed offensive, it was an off-hand remark, not a prepared statement, and what is more, there is reason to believe that it is true.

Mike Moran says:
That probably sounds outrageous to the public, who, thanks to the bang up job the mainstream media has done reporting what happened in Iraq, know little about the still unresolved questions surrounding the precision bombing of al-Jazeera's offices during the war, or the tank rounds fired into the hotel that housed the international press corps in Baghdad. The Overseas Press Club's own demand for an investigation into these incidents, put in a January 2004 letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, has received no definitive reply from the Pentagon. From our perspective, this is an open question.

Bloggers can certainly play a constructive role in journalism by holding journalists accountable for the accuracy of their news stories. But this kind of hounding of journalists for saying the wrong thing will have the effect of making journalism much worse---it will discourage journalists from saying anything controversial or anything that could be offensive to the government. That outcome will greatly undermine the principle role of journalism in holding our government accountable. See another article I wrote on this topic.


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