Friday, February 11, 2005

Another One Bites The Dust: So Long, Eason Jordon

The AP has just announced that Eason Jordan has resigned over the furor concerning his anti-military remarks at the World Economic Forum last month. As many bloggers may know, Jordan alleged the US military deliberately targeted journalists and was responsible for at least twelve intentional journalist deaths in Iraq. This is the same Eason Jordan who, after the Iraq War started, admitted to covering up atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's Baathist government for many years so that CNN could keep their Baghdad bureau open.

Although the story received almost instant attention from the blogosphere, the mainstream media ignored it until early this week. By yesterday, with stories in the major East Coast newspapers and starting to appear on the various wire services, the heat was turned up on CNN to fire Jordan. CNN issued a release stating that, although "he did a poor job" of stating his opinion, Jordan didn't think the US military intentionally targeted journalists. However, Jordan's statement and CNN's explanation didn't match many eyewitnesses' accounts, including Senators Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Senator Dodd was one of the many who has called for the World Economic Forum to release the videotape of the event so that Eason Jordan could be judged by his own words.

Jordan's resignation is the second time that a major news scandal has been brought to the attention of the public by the blogosphere. The Rathergate scandal was the first. I don't think that people realize the changes the Internet has wrought in the fabric of public communications and news dissemination, but these two events, along with the SwiftVets story that broke the back of the Kerry campaign (ignored by the media until the blogosphere made it such a hot topic that it couldn't be ignored anymore)... all of these show the increasing influence of the blogosphere and the waning power of the mainstream media. More and more, individuals are deciding what is newsworthy and what isn't, and the power of traditional journalism to act as a censor, allowing only the news that they want to present, is disappearing. And that is a good thing.

Freedom of the press wasn't supposed to mean that a few large corporations could control public perception by their slant on the story. Until now, however, there was no way to effectively communicate without going through the distribution channels controlled by the major media organizations. The Internet has changed all that. The genie is out of the bottle. The revolution is happening. It may not be televised, but it will be on the Internet, told by thousands of people in thousands of different ways.

Note: Readers interested in more information on the Eason Jordan story should check out these blogs: Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, LaShawn Barber, and Easongate.

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