Saturday, February 12, 2005

Easongate - another blogosphere victory (?)

So far I have written nothing about the Easongate affair - the incident where the CNN chief news executive (Eason Jordan) resigned in disgrace after falsely claiming that American soldiers are murdering journalists in Iraq. Others have covered this matter very thoroughly, including La Shawn Barber and Michelle Malkin.

But today's commentary from around the blogosphere provides insight into what all of this means. Powerline summarizes the methods by which the blogosphere can force the MSM/DNC to acknowledge an issue:

Given its lack of desire to report the news objectively, only two things can motivate the MSM to report stories that are embarrassing to liberals. The first is the desire to spin the story and the second is the desire not to be embarrassed itself. Both motives kick in only after a story has gained a considerable amount of buzz, but it's clear that blogs can generate that buzz in certain cases.

The first motive, a far stronger one, was missing in the case of Jordan in part because Jordan didn't provide the MSM with anything to work with (like an apology). The second motive wasn't strong enough to propel the story, although it might eventually have been. But the fact that that Jordan is gone without any MSM involvement means that both motives should have greater force in the future. Indeed, the lesson of the Jordan affair and the Swiftvets is that if the MSM wants a say it must jump in quickly once the blogosphere buzz reaches a certain threshold. If instead it resorts to "rope-a-dope", it will be left to lament after the fact, David Gergen style, that the blogosphere, through its shrillness, has taken down a long-time star over one mistake. (In realilty, Jordan should have been ousted for covering up Saddam Hussein's atrocities).

It is just as important to note that this affair does not represent the same kind of victory as did Rathergate. The MSM/DNC never acknowledged the story in the first place:
As of yesterday, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and USA Today had not carried a staff-written story, and the CBS, NBC and ABC nightly news programs had not reported the matter. It was discussed on several talk shows on Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC. [Powerline citing the Washington Post - ed].
As of today, Kurtz himself has yet to report Jordan's earlier libel of the American military in Lisbon last November that Captain Ed reported and that is in fact an essential element of this story.

Hindrocket adds:
If, like most people, you relied on the conventional media for your news, you would not only be late to the party, you would have no idea what is going on--your first knowledge of anything out of the ordinary would be Jordan's resignation. Assuming even that will be reported. It would be an interesting assignment: trying to write a story on Jordan's resignation for a paper that has not heretofore covered the controversy. If Jordan had just announced he wanted to spend more time with his family, he would have made their task easier.

Rathergate was a substantial victory because the world now knows that CBS lied in order to influence the election. But in this case, few people know that the CNN news chief lied in order to smear the military. Few people know that the MSM/DNC became willing accomplices to this lie by doing everything possible to keep a lid on the story and squelch a growing blogosphere buzz.

Had Jordan not resigned, the buzz would have continued to grow until this story spilled into the mainstream. At that point, the new media victory would have been complete regardless of whether Jordan resigned or not. There is no way that the MSM/DNC would have allowed another network to be publicly exposed like CBS just five months after Rathergate broke. The Jordan "resignation" was a last ditch effort to preempt such a disaster for the MSM/DNC. My recommendation is for the new media, blogosphere, talk radio, etc. to continue talking about the issue until the MSM/DNC acknowledges what happened and why. Our focus should remain on the fact that the MSM/DNC became a willing accomplice to a smear of our soldiers and continues to hide the full story. This story is far from over.

We have a weapon that we did not have before yesterday. Jordan's resignation is the equivalent of Nixon's resignation in 1974. Nixon was convicted of nothing and not technically "removed" from office or even impeached. But Nixon's resignation served to give finality to the issue, so that his opponents could point to the equivalent of a "finish line" or a "box score". With the resignation, Nixon (and now Jordan) left the playing field and stopped fighting. Leftists did not leave the playing field after Nixon resigned. They continued to beat the dead horse of Watergate for decades (even as Clinton outdid Watergate during his two terms). We shouldn't leave the playing field either. Just because our opponent has walked away doesn't mean we have scored any points. The "resignation" is an attempt to quit the game at halftime.

But it takes two to quit.

With the issue still relatively obscure, we must take the story to the public until Easongate is as famous as Rathergate. I don't know how exactly that will be done [here are some ideas], but we know that blogged stories do have a way of getting into the mainstream if we keep the pressure on. We have a box score to point to. We have a result. Jordan's resignation is an admission of wrongdoing. CNN has a black eye. Nothing can make this result disappear [even though the MSM/DNC can try to hide it until it becomes old news]. We can build on this result as we take the next step. The MSM/DNC can no longer deny the facts, it can only ignore them - and it can do so only if we stop talking about Easongate.

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