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Read about Jay Rosen's book, What Are Journalists For?

Excerpt from Chapter One of What Are Journalists For? "As Democracy Goes, So Goes the Press."

Essay in Columbia Journalism Review on the changing terms of authority in the press, brought on in part by the blog's individual--and interactive--style of journalism. It argues that, after Jayson Blair, authority is not the same at the New York Times, either.

"Web Users Open the Gates." My take on ten years of Internet journalism, at

Read: Q & As

Jay Rosen, interviewed about his work and ideas by journalist Richard Poynder

Achtung! Interview in German with a leading German newspaper about the future of newspapers and the Net.

Audio: Have a Listen

Listen to an audio interview with Jay Rosen conducted by journalist Christopher Lydon, October 2003. It's about the transformation of the journalism world by the Web.

Five years later, Chris Lydon interviews Jay Rosen again on "the transformation." (March 2008, 71 minutes.)

Interview with host Brooke Gladstone on NPR's "On the Media." (Dec. 2003) Listen here.

Presentation to the Berkman Center at Harvard University on open source journalism and NewAssignment.Net. Downloadable mp3, 70 minutes, with Q and A. Nov. 2006.

Video: Have A Look

Half hour video interview with Robert Mills of the American Microphone series. On blogging, journalism, NewAssignment.Net and distributed reporting.

Jay Rosen explains the Web's "ethic of the link" in this four-minute YouTube clip.

"The Web is people." Jay Rosen speaking on the origins of the World Wide Web. (2:38)

One hour video Q & A on why the press is "between business models" (June 2008)

Recommended by PressThink:

Town square for press critics, industry observers, and participants in the news machine: Romenesko, published by the Poynter Institute.

Town square for weblogs: InstaPundit from Glenn Reynolds, who is an original. Very busy. Very good. To the Right, but not in all things. A good place to find voices in diaolgue with each other and the news.

Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

Rants, links, blog news, and breaking wisdom from Jeff Jarvis, former editor, magazine launcher, TV critic, now a J-professor at CUNY. Always on top of new media things. Prolific, fast, frequently dead on, and a pal of mine.

Eschaton by Atrios (pen name of Duncan B;ack) is one of the most well established political weblogs, with big traffic and very active comment threads. Left-liberal.

Terry Teachout is a cultural critic coming from the Right at his weblog, About Last Night. Elegantly written and designed. Plus he has lots to say about art and culture today.

Dave Winer is the software wiz who wrote the program that created the modern weblog. He's also one of the best practicioners of the form. Scripting News is said to be the oldest living weblog. Read it over time and find out why it's one of the best.

If someone were to ask me, "what's the right way to do a weblog?" I would point them to Doc Searls, a tech writer and sage who has been doing it right for a long time.

Ed Cone writes one of the most useful weblogs by a journalist. He keeps track of the Internet's influence on politics, as well developments in his native North Carolina. Always on top of things.

Rebecca's Pocket by Rebecca Blood is a weblog by an exemplary practitioner of the form, who has also written some critically important essays on its history and development, and a handbook on how to blog.

Dan Gillmor used to be the tech columnist and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News. He now heads a center for citizen media. This is his blog about it.

A former senior editor at Pantheon, Tom Englehardt solicits and edits commentary pieces that he publishes in blog form at TomDispatches. High-quality political writing and cultural analysis.

Chris Nolan's Spot On is political writing at a high level from Nolan and her band of left-to-right contributors. Her notion of blogger as a "stand alone journalist" is a key concept; and Nolan is an exemplar of it.

Barista of Bloomfield Avenue is journalist Debbie Galant's nifty experiment in hyper-local blogging in several New Jersey towns. Hers is one to watch if there's to be a future for the weblog as news medium.

The Editor's Log, by John Robinson, is the only real life honest-to-goodness weblog by a newspaper's top editor. Robinson is the blogging boss of the Greensboro News-Record and he knows what he's doing.

Fishbowl DC is about the world of Washington journalism. Gossip, controversies, rituals, personalities-- and criticism. Good way to keep track of the press tribe in DC

PJ Net Today is written by Leonard Witt and colleagues. It's the weblog of the Public Journalisn Network (I am a founding member of that group) and it follows developments in citizen-centered journalism.

Here's Simon Waldman's blog. He's the Director of Digital Publishing for The Guardian in the UK, the world's most Web-savvy newspaper. What he says counts.

Novelist, columnist, NPR commentator, Iraq War vet, Colonel in the Army Reserve, with a PhD in literature. How many bloggers are there like that? One: Austin Bay.

Betsy Newmark's weblog she describes as "comments and Links from a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC." An intelligent and newsy guide to blogs on the Right side of the sphere. I go there to get links and comment, like the teacher said.

Rhetoric is language working to persuade. Professor Andrew Cline's Rhetorica shows what a good lens this is on politics and the press.

Davos Newbies is a "year-round Davos of the mind," written from London by Lance Knobel. He has a cosmopolitan sensibility and a sharp eye for things on the Web that are just... interesting. This is the hardest kind of weblog to do well. Knobel does it well.

Susan Crawford, a law professor, writes about democracy, technology, intellectual property and the law. She has an elegant weblog about those themes.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed is everything a weblog about the local scene should be. And there's a lot to observe in Los Angeles.

Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling is about the future of newspapers, online news and journalism education. He's the founder of and a self-taught Web developer and designer.

H20town by Lisa Williams is about the life and times of Watertown, Massachusetts, and it covers that town better than any local newspaper. Williams is funny, she has style, and she loves her town.

Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

Rebecca MacKinnon, former correspondent for CNN, has immersed herself in the world of new media and she's seen the light (great linker too.)

Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

Susan Mernit's blog is "writing and news about digital media, ecommerce, social networks, blogs, search, online classifieds, publishing and pop culture from a consultant, writer, and sometime entrepeneur." Connected.

Group Blogs

CJR Daily is Columbia Journalism Review's weblog about the press and its problems, edited by Steve Lovelady, formerly of the Philadelpia Inquirer.

Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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February 13, 2005

Will Collier E-Mails With a Question

And I ask one back: Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction? Please advise.

Will Collier from VodkaPundit e-mails:

Jay, a serious question. When a former Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor and current managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review’s website refers to presumably-conservative critics of Eason Jordan as “salivating morons” constituting a “lynch mob” of “Liliputians,” doesn’t that suggest that the “hate” between conservatives and the MSM at the very least runs both ways?

—Will Collier (see his reply to Lovelady.)

If your point is “this is not a one-sided transaction,” yes. Runs both ways, but not in a tit for tat manner. Steve was definitely saying: I have contempt for… He would tell you that, I think.

Here’s another read. Lovelady was acting like bloggers do— but also letter writers to Romenesko. He e-mailed his reaction, which was one part emotion, one part attitude, and one part argument.

Did he follow it up by engaging in dialogue at your blog? (He did, with the same “attitude” but not only that.) Did he cause reaction, get people to talk back? (It’s good blogging.)

Then we might consider his volley, “salivating morons…” a kind of conversation starter. It’s more amusing that way, too.

Mr. Lovelady you can reply to some more at your place. Let me ask you something, serious question, Will: Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?

Please advise.

UPDATE, Feb. 16: Here is Collier’s reply. “MSM, Heal Thyself.”

What I’m interested in is not destruction, but rather disclosure, transparency, reform. You can boil all of the above down to one term that ought to be the watchword for everybody in all of journalism’s myriad forms: honesty. I don’t mind a biased press (more on this later), but I do mind a dishonest press.

Dishonesty, by commission and omission, was at the heart of both the Dan Rather and Eason Jordan blowups.

After Matter: Notes, reactions and links.

Letter to Romenesko:

2/12/2005 4:22:18 PM
From DEREK ROSE: Okay, I’m sitting here in an Internet cafe in Nelson, New Zealand, rather stunned at what the blogosphere has wrought. First Dan Rather, now the news chief of CNN? Whether or not we agree with what happened, mainstream reporters need to start paying a lot more attention to blogs. NOW.

How to save blogs from ourselves. Steve Safran at Lost Remote. My favorite line: “Embrace your biases. But let the other guy embrace his, too.

Cori Dauber, Blogosphere as Lynchmob: “The ground is ripe for this case, unlike the Rather one, to be successfully characterized as an Internet lynch mob, a partisan, ideologically driven effort to target a legitimate journalist for no reason other than that he disagreed with conservative bloggers and said things they didn’t want to hear, or worked for a network they didn’t like.”

Watch Jeff Jarvis call out the New York Times
for its story today about Eason Jordan and bloggers. It is a must read.

New World Man:

I wasn’t going to—and won’t—spend too much time on the Eason Jordan stuff, because other sites (like this one and this one and this one) have so ably covered the whole affair, but Jay Rosen’s question to Will Collier and Will’s invitation to discuss on our own got me to thinking. Rosen asks, “Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?” I hope Will rejects the premise.

Blogger Michael Duff in the comments: “I think, for all their complaining about the media, bloggers actually want the MSM (and the people in it) to be better than we are. And we’re disappointed when it seems to ‘sink to our level.’… We’re paying journalists to be professionals, and we feel cheated when they let us down. We want our MSM to be above things like bias and gossip, or to make damn sure they’re clearly labeled when it decides to dive in.”

Blogger Van der Leun in the comment thread:

Add to that the inescapable envy that must be felt by the “pros” as they note the vast number of online writers with solid skill sets who are also unconstrained by the “needs” and “policies” and “stylebooks” and all the other junk that media companies throw up around themselves to distinguish one apple from the next apple in the bin. Plus there’s the freedom of telling it like you see it without worrying how this might affect promotion within or without the organization. On the one hand, yes, they do it for free, but on the other they are free to do it as they please. That’s gotta grind like grit on the molars.

Posted by Jay Rosen at February 13, 2005 7:09 PM   Print


[If you don't mind, this comment at the tale end of the last thread is germane here. The press is worthwhile. The press is media independent.]

My first comments on PressThink, about the time of Bloggercon Boston, were in staunch defence of traditional media. Hell, I am traditional media, however small.

Telescope forward to today, and I have many specific objections to major media, in particular ALL the major TV network news outlets -- and yes, that includes Fox.

It is entirely distracting to have commenters on both sides try to frame "Right" or "Left" as if point of view dictated a particular villainy. The underlying bad practice stands apart from political persuasion and any attempt to characterize it as a fault of persuasion undercuts journalism as a whole.

The problems of journalism stand apart from politics. The problems of politics stand apart from journalism. And too many who posture otherwise are cluttering up comments.

Posted by: sbw at February 13, 2005 7:22 PM | Permalink

I dont desire the destruction of the MSM or desire to have a dialogue with it. I want it to provide the service of journaling without opining verbally or through their writing. I want the story- not a story telling me-for example- that I may have racist tendicies becuase I may not buy wholesale into the theory of affirmative action or something of that sort.
Questions- when did journalism become a degreed program in this country? And from what segment of the population did journalists come from before then?

Posted by: cal-boy at February 13, 2005 7:43 PM | Permalink

I think Suze C has the beginnings of an answer to your question in her post in the last thread. She observed that the Blog Storm Troopers said all they wanted was a clarification or retraction or apology. They got all three and they were still inexplicably waiting for Eason's clarification, retraction, and apology. What arrogance, not to respond to his accusers like that!

Isn't psychosis the technical term for a temporary break from reality testing? I think that language may become relevant somewhere near this refusal to hear or comprehend or even acknowledge the existence of answers to one's own questions. They become rhetorical accusations that demand an answer they refuse to hear.

I was thinking the same thing yesterday--and it morphed into the predictable countercharge that we don't know what he said because he never clarified it. But Suze is exactly right. That is the point. Clarification strangely never clarifies in a Blog Storm Trooper environment. The designated issue in question becomes some kind of original sin. Confession and abject apology become surrealistically irrelevant or non-existent. They never happened, even though they happened. So of course Jordan must resign, because he never explained himself or apologized (while meanwhile in the real world he did all of those things. Repeatedly.)

I'm sensing the main feeling about this story now on the storm trooper side (you non-troopers have already let it be known that your concern is that he kept refusing to say he was sorry. He was in denial. But, again, clarify and apologize is exactly what he did on the spot and again later on (so how do you distinguish yourselves again?)) is that they don't have a video to play over and over on Rush Limbaugh's show for the next 12 months and they no longer have Eason Jordan to kick around. It would have been so convenient for him to stick it out as a prime target for a few more months.

Because as Suze implicitly points out, for many (some present (or hypocritical) company excluded) the goal IS NOT to clarify, it is to crucify. Simply resigning can only be annoying in such a context.

"What ever will we do with the rail, tar, and feathers we already got together and the time we set aside for a shivaree over the next month of Sundays?"

Posted by: Mark Anderson at February 13, 2005 7:50 PM | Permalink

My point, as one blogger who's very often critical of the Mainstream Media, is not to destroy it, but to hold its specific members accountable when they stray from their profession's own written Code of Ethics. Dialog — even monologs — through blogs and elsewhere are useful means for that.

Speaking as a self-confessed and bemused member of the Rathergate pajamahadeen, I'd be the first to admit that some snark and attitude can indeed be useful in drawing attention to the dialog and getting it going.

But I personally find the really hyperbolic stuff — "knuckle-draggers" and "salivating morons" — distracting, and an indication that the writer has stopped even trying to bring objectivity to his opinions. I expect it from the most doctrinaire folks at either extreme of the political spectrum — but no one need be literally or metaphorically drowned in his/her bathtub for it!

And I'd also agree in general that some additional slack ought to be cut for MSM leaders, be it Lovelady or Jordan, who are speaking or writing off the cuff and without editors. Which is to say, when such figures realize that they've strayed into offensive hyperbole or overstatement, or simply said something likely to be misconstrued, the setting in which they made the remarks ought to cut in favor of accepting their subsequent gracious, fulsome, and sincere apologies.

Jordan's own lapse in ethics and judgment would have been excuseable (a) had it been promptly followed by such an apology, (b) had he cooperated in releasing the videotape that would have proved what was actually was said, and (c) had his remarks not been part of a pattern of similar ethical and judgmental lapses over time (all also uncorrected and unapologized for). But (a) it wasn't, (b) he didn't, and (c) it was — so he's gone, and in my humble opinion deserves no better.

Posted by: Beldar [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2005 7:50 PM | Permalink

Mark, your and my almost simultaneous comments nicely illustrate the differing perceptions here.

Eason Jordan's resignation statement was the first genuine apology. It's the closest he's ever come to saying, in substance, that "I did something wrong. What I said, or was reasonably understood to mean, was factually inaccurate, and offensive and harmful." Before that, he did offer excuses and spin, but there was no clear contrition, nor expressed resolve to do better. It was very akin to Dan Rather's "I still believe the substance of those [forged] memos was true." Jordan's previous "clarification, retraction, and apology" were simply believed by many — in cluding me — to be incomplete and unpersuasive.

But the blog swarm (a/k/a Blog Storm Troopers) were also seeking his cooperation in releasing the tape — which still hasn't come. And there's the problem of the pattern of similar prior lapses in ethics and judgment. I do think that before you can accuse the swarmers/troopers of only being interested in destruction of Eason Jordan, you ought to address those points as well.

Posted by: Beldar at February 13, 2005 8:02 PM | Permalink

By all means continue to allow fools to say journalists have an illegitimate academic background.

Posted by: marky48 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2005 8:09 PM | Permalink

And what does saying sorry accomplish anyway? The remarks were taken as Gospel by Middle Eastern personages: are they going to print or relay to their audience EJ's apologia.
Marky48- I am trying to get at the heart of why journalists-by virtue of their jouranlism degree- is accorded all mighty status in connection to all knowledge. So they took some writing classes. Great. Get in line. My BA in History degree doesnt entitle me to a professorship or some high status though I wrote wrote wrote(and this at Berkeley!).

Posted by: cal-boy at February 13, 2005 8:16 PM | Permalink

" Let me ask you something, serious question, Will: Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?"

The point could also be to merge with or supplant.

Of course, people could be getting upset because what used to a a single closed network of affiliations, social connections, professional associations, and a lot of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, now finds itself confronted with a much more open network of looser affiliations, socialnetwork connections, associations that find a prating about professionalism without accountability noxious, and a lot of email, email, link link.

Another, perhaps deeper, source of unease among journalists collecting a check from a media company is the simultaneous revelation and discovery that there are a great many people who collect no check from a media company that are simply much better writers, editors, and checkers.

It was once the case that to assume the mantle of "writer" you had to get a job writing "for" something. Now all you need is a modem and a motive. And while I'll grant you that this change means there is a lot of very bad writing swirling about, that gets filtered out pretty quickly. What is astonishing to me is that, regardless of what subject you care to name, I can quickly discover a substantial number of people with a great deal of expertise in that area who are also quite good at expressing themselves. And don't even get me started on the generalists....

Add to that the inescapable envy that must be felt by the "pros" as they note the vast number of online writers with solid skill sets who are also unconstrained by the "needs" and "policies" and "stylebooks" and all the other junk that media companies throw up around themselves to distinguish one apple from the next apple in the bin. Plus there's the freedom of telling it like you see it without worrying how this might affect promotion within or without the organization. On the one hand, yes, they do it for free, but on the other they are free to do it as they please. That's gotta grind like grit on the molars.

Put it all together and I don't think there's a drive to have a "dialogue" with MSM, because frankly dear Scarlett, most don't give a damn. I do think there's a yen to help MSM along to destruction but that's a fantasy ideology. MSM isn't going to any destruction that it isn't fashioning for itself. These little jabs may help it along a bit, but they aren't the determining factor.

What you've got is not some sort of battle to the death in a Hobbesian world, but simply a new species that is thriving in the online environment to an extent that MSM cannot possibly grasp, if for no other reason than that the people who still drive and direct the MSM from atop the corporations cannot, for the most part, type.

If you've ever seen the movie "The Forbin Project," you'll recall that it only got interesting when the rulers of the United States looked up and saw the message board above them begin to flash "THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM."

Posted by: Van der Leun at February 13, 2005 8:28 PM | Permalink

This is not about whether anyone is seeking clarity v. crucifixion, this action is a warning shot meant to illustrate what will happen to anyone in any corporate institution that brings attention to strafe bombing, Fort Benning-trained death squads, torture, 'disappearing' and ghost detainees.

What if Eason Jordan had said, "George Bush takes foreign policy advice from a convicted felon"?

Should he be in trouble because he didn't mention that said felon was pardoned by Bush Sr.?

Journalistic Objectivity can always be moved to the right by a mob, if they are well-funded and backed by fear and the threat of force, and the threat of economic retaliation. In the technological environment, truth is only as good as WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM.

Let's face it, sometimes things like Truth and Facts have a liberal bias.

Is it biased to say, "The best way to reduce terrorism in the world is to stop practicing it"?

Go back to sleep, America.

Posted by: Elliott Abrams at February 13, 2005 8:31 PM | Permalink


re: I am trying to get at the heart of why journalists-by virtue of their jouranlism degree- is accorded all mighty status in connection to all knowledge.

I'm not sure who you're suggesting is doing the according, but it is common for journalists to consider themselves "all mighty" in regard to what they cover because the epistemology and rhetoric of the profession (encountered first in j-schools) teaches them to think this way.

Here's something I wrote about how this works:

We may observe that journalism operates with an objectivist epistemology (i.e. objective idealism): What is real is located in the material world and human actions within that world. What can be known are empirically verifiable phenomena. We are connected to the world by our senses and certain faculties of the mind, which are capable of perceiving the world through the senses and then thinking about, and acting upon, these impressions.

Journalism's challenge in this epistemology is to perceive the world correctly and then represent perceptions correctly through language.

What we cannot perceive through our senses cannot be known (the subjective). For example, journalistic epistemology tells us we cannot know the minds of people without verifiable data collected by, or told to, an objective observer.

In journalism we arrive at truth through a method of induction by collecting data from our senses and reasoning from these data to generalizations about the world. Truth comes before language. Language is a sign system for transcribing truth as it is witnessed or experienced by the reporter and/or the source.

The objective process of reporting and editing fits this epistemology. Reporters observe events and other physical data and/or speak to those who have. The meaning of events (a concept slipping dangerously close to the subjective) is limited to a narrow range of contemporary issues and relationships.

Because it is empirically verifiable that humans disagree about events (our opinions), reporters collect data from "both sides" and present these data without comment, allowing readers to apply their own reasoning to discover the incorrect opinion versus the correct representation of events.

The rhetoric of the profession also fits this epistemology. Journalism students are taught, usually in a specific and uncritical way, that they are able to use the "objective process" of reporting to accurately gather facts and then truthfully and accurately represent complex and ambiguous situations in language in such a way that we may all understand them. This is obviously nonsense, but, then, many j-profs from what I can tell have as little training in the classical trivium as their students. The writing courses offered--even in my own program--do not prepare journalists to fully understand what language is, how it works, and how to use it skillfully and responsibly beyond simple matters of style and usage.

The noetic field (roughly the epistemology/rhetoric of a culture) is changing. The old rhetoric is falling into disfavor (the in-net, blogs, open-source, and civic journalism are helping this along). The old objectivist epistemology and its rhetoric and the attitudes they promote are becoming ever more problematic.

Posted by: acline at February 13, 2005 8:43 PM | Permalink

"Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?"

Neither, really. This isn't about blogs or bloggers. The right analogy here is media as Microsoft vs. citizen-journalists-as-open source programmers. It's time to move journalism into the 21st century, specifically, to move beyond the 20c news story format. This entails:

1) replacing the one-way, top-down pushing of news onto a passive audience with iterative, two-way conversations between journalists and many thousands of intelligent, informed citizens;

2) opening up the news production process to include the input of thousands of experts and those with intimate local knowledge of events:

3) accompanying content with links disclosing info on the background, affiliations, biases, and angle of the author of each news article.

The common thread here is OPENNESS. Get rid of the phony pretension of superior judgment, objectivity, all the Eason Jordan as Global Defender of Truth bullshit.

Journalists are hardworking, intelligent people who write stuff. In most cases they have no special expertise in the subjects they write about, be they the predilections of Baghdad sunnis or MS Word fonts or actuarial tables and assumptions underlying social security or the decision-making process within Putin's or Kuchma's governments. With a web browser and some search technology anyone can gain access to experts on any and all of the above within a minute or two.

For ex., why would anyone seeking to grasp the issues surrounding social security waste time with the NY Times' greenhorn, who's not even an economist, when he or she can go directly to Berkeley economist (and former Clinton admin Treasury official) Brad DeLong's website? DeLong writes better, he's more entertaining, and he's a true expert. The media need to find a way to bring people like Brad, and the Iraqi bloggers, and academics and experts from a thousand different corners, into the conversation. And remember that it is via this two-way (actually, many-to-many) conversation that we iteratively, dialectically, proceed toward truth.

Posted by: thibaud at February 13, 2005 8:47 PM | Permalink


On the previous thread I did not attempt to summarise the Michael Barone article, or to characterise it. I merely asked to comment on one statement Barone made, and to comment on the concluding sentence of the article.

You first called my "summary" incompetent, then asked whether I would prefer "intellectually dishonest". (Neither, thank you.)

Then, having used these fairly insulting words about me you immediately said "But it is silly to argue about words this way." Gee, thanks.

I did not try to avoid the fact that Barone said that rightist blogs "hate" legacy media. You may not accept that - try a liuttle faith ? In fact if I had referred to it, I probably would have questioned it - yes, many rightist blogs attack legacy media, but is it hate, as Barone says ? I don't see Hugh Hewitt as "hating", nor Powerline, for example. Often highly critical, certainly. But usually in a forensic kind of way. Not the pure spleen one often sees on sites like Kos.

Re. your question on this thread - no-one is trying to destroy legacy media. The aim is to get the press and TV to be more balanced - or to state more clearly their political bias. To admit and correct mistakes. If anything, it is the legacy media that risks destroying itself. Look at CNN viewing figures, look at LA Times circulation figures.

And the CJR is trying to destroy any reputation for proper examination of the media if the Steve Loveday and Corey Pein articles are anything to go by. They read like undergrad articles, not serious journalism.

In the recent Jordan affair, most of the best "journalism" in terms of quickly gathering and reporting facts has been on the blogs - not in the press or on TV. Most of the legacy media has been seriously remiss - compared for example to your own good self.

Posted by: JohninLondon at February 13, 2005 8:52 PM | Permalink

Acline, you've hit the nail on the head. The key is that the noetic field is changing. God bless you.

Reynolds, Hewitt and their followers don't realize this but their status is ephemeral, no matter how many people get they get fired.

Duncan Black says it best:

At one time, yes, there were justifications for aligning the "political Left" with "communisim" and then you're a hop skip and a jump away from associating them with being "pro-USSR" and "pro-Stalin." Now, as history progressed those associations were less and less valid until they became totally invalid.

But, now our new scary enemy, "radical Islam," has the good fortune of having nothing to do with the political left as we pretty much love our promiscuity, gay sex, abortions, and banning all religion whenever possible - especially those religions which get in the way of the aforementioned promiscuity, gay sex, and abortion.

Posted by: J. Dimitri Negroponte at February 13, 2005 8:57 PM | Permalink

What is astonishing to me is that, regardless of what subject you care to name, I can quickly discover a substantial number of people with a great deal of expertise in that area who are also quite good at expressing themselves.

Amen. This is especially true of economics, military matters, and foreign societies and polities where the language is a large barrier and the closed nature of the elite is an even larger barrier.

Most media reporting on economics is a joke--if you want a good laugh, read Brad DeLong's ongoing dissections of journalists' hackwork on economic matters. As the military blogs make clear, journalists who've never served in the military routinely make a hash of battlefield accounts. As to overseas reporting, much of what we read in the western press regarding Putin's Russia, for ex., is clueless, wrong, or, even when somewhat accurate, so far behind the curve as to be useless.

Posted by: thibaud at February 13, 2005 9:00 PM | Permalink

cal-boy: when did journalism become a degreed program in this country?

Not quite the precise question you might hope. Many practicing journalists... and many good ones at that.. don't have a journalism degree. A degree might give some entree but practical experience and demonstrable evidence of ability count much more. MSM Journalists climb a ladder... or they are a relative of someone. ;-)

Posted by: sbw at February 13, 2005 9:10 PM | Permalink

acline-thanks-I understand a bit more now to you. What you wrote is something I have understood but didnt have any basis for it-or a base of knowledge to draw from. I understand that no one can ever be truly "objective" simply due to everything in LIFE. I am a Berkeley conservative who happens to enjoy the majority of the NYT writing because it is done well. It is only when the politicization starts creeping through that becomes bothersome ie I dont care that Humpback whales may be gay and suddenly contemplating marriage but the meany right wing sharks wont let them. You know what I mean.

J. dmitri negroponte- I dont agree but I love your name. I would say the Left brings up rhetoric which sounds similar to Radical Islam. In fact, sometimes I cannot tell the difference.

Posted by: cal-boy at February 13, 2005 9:18 PM | Permalink

Jay: "Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?"

I think that's an excellent question. It's one I think that motivates some bloggers about the press.

If the blogger has decided that the press is not interested in a dialogue, but out to destroy, the company she works for, the religion she holds dear, the military a loved one serves in, the family/social structure for childraising, ... that blogger may have destruction, or at least a few well aimed shots, on her mind.

Dialogue would be better.

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2005 9:51 PM | Permalink

Is the Blogosphere emancipating us from the MSM?

Posted by: cal-boy at February 13, 2005 9:53 PM | Permalink

Microsoft will be around a long time, and so will the legacy media. But there will be a new ecosphere built around something like an open-source model of journalism, with intelligent citizens and expert citizens contributing their own content to the mix of news sources that the public and the policymakers rely upon.

Firefox is taking share from Explorer. Linux is taking share from Windows. And open-source news reporting will at some point in the next 5-6 years start to take significant share from the legacy media.

Posted by: thibaud at February 13, 2005 10:05 PM | Permalink

Jules Crittenden at Mudville Gazette

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2005 10:07 PM | Permalink

If the blogger has decided that the press is not interested in a dialogue, but out to destroy, the company she works for, the religion she holds dear, the military a loved one serves in, the family/social structure for childraising, ... that blogger may have destruction, or at least a few well aimed shots, on her mind.

Interesting how you turned the question around.

Rosen asks: Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?

You seem to have answered as if you believe the press is trying to destroy you. As if you're being asked to have a dialogue with a deadly enemy.

Is that how you see journalists?

Posted by: tex at February 13, 2005 10:09 PM | Permalink

tex: "You seem to have answered as if you believe the press is trying to destroy you. As if you're being asked to have a dialogue with a deadly enemy.

Is that how you see journalists?"

No. I'm trying to have the dialogue. But you are correct, I did turn the question around.

Do you think I described any bloggers you know?

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2005 10:21 PM | Permalink

I'll ask again:

When did journalism become a degree program in this country?

Posted by: cal-boy at February 13, 2005 10:23 PM | Permalink

Do you think I described any bloggers you know?

No, I assumed you were describing yourself.

Posted by: tex at February 13, 2005 10:30 PM | Permalink

"No, I assumed you were describing yourself."

tsk, tsk, tex. Why would you assume that? I stated in the same comment that dialogue would be better.

In fact, I don't believe you.

I don't believe that you can't think of a single blogger that might feel the way I described.

I think you're using the assumption defense to avoid thinking.

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2005 10:44 PM | Permalink

Dialog does not require civility, nor an absence of emotion - even hate - it requires merely response.

Perhaps the question could be put differently: Is there a point to dialog between what is termed MSM and what is termed bloggers?

I suspect more specificity is required before the question is useful.

Perhaps: Is there a point to have dialog between the cogent and coherent right leaning blogs such as Powerline and Instapundit and media representatives from such as LA Times, New York Times, and CNN? I suspect yes, there is a point, and no, the destruction of either would not be the goals of these dialogs.

Posted by: John Lynch at February 13, 2005 10:52 PM | Permalink

I see that Professor Rosen still demands a higher standard of bearing, comportment, politesse, and argumentation from others than he displays himself. Where's the growth man?

Anyway, the gambit in the last thread where he was trying to convince members of some vaguely defined group ("the right"? "conservatives"? "salivating morons"? "knuckledraggers"?) that if they had the effrotery to deign to criticize a high-level executive at a major news network then they for some reason had a commensurate duty to criticize over-the-top statements by some obscure blogger was particularly hilarious.

So what are we arguing here again? That one shoudl be nice to those who call one "salivating morons"? That excesses in rhetoric are excusable in e-mails or on romenesko but not on blogs? I'm confused.

Posted by: Eric Deamer [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 12:03 AM | Permalink

eric Deamer
I agree- the standards MSM apply to conservatives are now applied to them and how they howl and cry foul! They are the authority and power and the "corporation" and they want no one to question their authority. Of course, question all authority except the MSM, universities, Mikey Moore,NPR, Ward Churchill, Hollywood celebs with precise insight on the historical implications of warfare in Mesopotamia, and Dan Rather...who has been, in an amazing fashion, accurately fake far too long.

Posted by: cal-boy at February 14, 2005 12:31 AM | Permalink

I was thinking the same thing yesterday--and it morphed into the predictable countercharge that we don't know what he said because he never clarified it. But Suze is exactly right. That is the point. Clarification strangely never clarifies in a Blog Storm Trooper environment. The designated issue in question becomes some kind of original sin. Confession and abject apology become surrealistically irrelevant or non-existent. They never happened, even though they happened. So of course Jordan must resign, because he never explained himself or apologized (while meanwhile in the real world he did all of those things. Repeatedly.)

Well so did Trent Lott, but he was forced out of his position anyway because no one really believed him and/or found him to be a liability even if his contrition was genuine. (I didn't weep at his passing myself.) Many seemed to feel that Jordan was giving a pro forma apology, and the suppression of the Davos tape certainly provided fuel for that fire.

Do you really care, or do you just despise Jordan's antagonists?

Perhaps weblogs are just learning the wrong lessons from the media--professional reporters know all about pack journalism and feeding frenzies. So do you--you were egging Rosen on to join the dogpile on some gay guy with trumped up press credentials. (I hope Rosen does get to it--sounds like more fun than yet another round of cliches about the relationship between the press and its laycritics.)

A lynch mob takes some guy and strings him up. What did Jordan's online detractors do? They simply criticized his actions. None of them had the power to do squat to affect CNN's bottom line or even advance the story in the media. Most of CNN's audience neither knows nor cares who Jordan is.

My guess is the brass at CNN were looking to edge Jordan out and this was the last straw. Haven't you ever worked in an office? There's always someone bucking for the top job and employees who hate their current boss. Real life is much more prosaic than your partisan imagination would suggest.

Posted by: Brian at February 14, 2005 12:36 AM | Permalink

I disagree with Suze about the clarification, and the apology that finally came with the resignation.

Jordan claimed that he was misinterpreted and that he was responding to Rep. Frank's "collateral damage". Both Rep. Frank and Sen. Dodd denied that. Both gave the impression that Jordan wasn't clarifying as much as spinning.

Sen. Dodd was very clear in his Imus interview, release the tape and let the people see whether we misinterpreted Jordan's remarks.

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 12:53 AM | Permalink

I'm just an ordinary person.
I read the press; I talk to people about what I read.
Last night at 8:30 pm Elliot Abrams (the Elliot Abrams?) told me what I, citizen thinker, needed to hear. Shouldn't this news really be the fact: JOURNALISTS ARE DYING IN IRAQ...ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE DYING IN IRAQ... POLICEMEN ARE DYING IN IRAQ... SOLDIERS ARE DYING IN IRAQ BECAUSE WE PUT AMERICAN SOLDIERS THERE. Young scared kids and gungho government issue machomen and parents who just want to make a living for their families, they want all wanted to stay alive: that's war.
How many journalists died in WWII; Korea, Nam, Algeria? Why shouldn't journalists count their dead with suspicion and wonder where the bullets came from?
Why are American citizens rationalizing all this killing anyway?

Who's sleeping nights?

Posted by: Palli at February 14, 2005 3:26 AM | Permalink

All right, cards on the table.

They are trying to destroy it, and Jay, you really do know it, and you're not going to convince them otherwise. The Republican party has come to rely on systematically deceiving the American people to stay in power. The press is usually incompetent enough not to interfere too much, but why take the chance? Better to convince everyone that the truth, the facts, objective reality--are a liberal conspiracy against them, and they can only trust Instapundit, Fox, and Rush.

Call me all the names you want, but that's what's going on here. It's laughably obvious.

Posted by: Katherine at February 14, 2005 3:34 AM | Permalink

and one last thing: it is inexcusable for the press to think that Instapundit and the rest of the mob are the only weblogs out there. I know that the TV news network have forgotten that there exists a liberal audience, but yeah--47% of the country, still waiting for a TV news network that serves us, or the newspaper completely unintimidated by the inevitable whining about liberal bias. And we don't demand blind loyalty to our political party! Our demands are approximately the same ones you see on the Columbia Journalism Review most days.

Posted by: Katherine at February 14, 2005 3:38 AM | Permalink


Thanks for posting the discussion at Mudville Gazette - really enlightening. There we have a clear-minded journalist who was actually near the Palestine Hotel incident, embedded with a unit that had been under fire for many many hours. That is what journalism should be about - an attempt to describe events fairly, thoroughly and FULLY.

Journalists of that calibre are to be commended. What causes most criticism of legacy media is the opposite style of journalism - incomplete agenda-driven stories, suppression of alternative events and viewpoints, an arrogance that refuses to debate.

I believe it was your site that said that times have changed now - we the hoi polloi will no longer have someone else's agenda pushed down our throat. In terms of "destroying legacy media" it is the media culprits that are severely damaging themselves - their credibility, and their financial results.

Posted by: JohninLondon at February 14, 2005 3:54 AM | Permalink

I must admit I'm getting confused about roles here. Granted, a journalist isn't playing the social part of journalist-figure all the time.

Is he allowed to make testy remarks on a blog, or at a party over a few drinks, and then say, to quote John Cleese in "The Argument Sketch": "I could be arguing in my spare time!"..?

Well, yes. (We can't expect the doctor to be a doctor 24-7... or can we?)

But granted all that, the journalist must still be careful to mention when he speaks as Eason Jordan, News Professional and when he speaks as Eason Jordan, Citizen.

At the Davos meeting, he was expected to speak in his role as a professional. What he says in private is another matter.

But: where do we draw the line between public and private life? This is a weblog, a kind of public forum. Yet, people tend to get emotional and say things on blogs that sound like a private discussion. There is a confusion about the role of blogs in the social sphere.

I guess in time, these roles will be worked out.


Posted by: A.R.Yngve at February 14, 2005 5:32 AM | Permalink

Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?

neither. the point is to control the MSM.

Jordan retracted his statement immediately upon having it challenged. That should have been the end of it. But it wasn't.

And the reason it wasn't is that the rightloons suspected that Jordan might actually have a poor opinion of the US military, and the way it is operating in Iraq. Jordan was targetted because the rightloons were afraid that American audiences would be exposed to facts and ideas that they don't like. They are afraid that statements by the US military will be treated with some skepticism, rather than as absolute facts delivered from Mt. Olympus. They are desperately afraid that American audiences might be exposed to the kind of information that the rest of the world receives, and that Americans might begin to percieve this administration in the same way that the rest of the world does.

The right wing is attempting to impose groupthink on America by making it impossible to offer certain opinions and ideas to the American public. Their message is clear and unambiguous --- you are risking you career and your reputation if you present ideas that we don't agree with. Today, the boundaries are questioning the US military, and pointing out how US policy in the Middle East practically guaranteed the development of fundamentalist Islam that used terrorism as a weapon. But the limits of acceptable ideas will continue to shrink, because the rightloons actually believe that "they hate us because of our freedoms" and want to make sure that everyone else thinks that way.

The reality is this --- we don't know if the US military is targetting journalists or not, although we do know that there is quite a bit of evidence which suggests that some have been/are being targetted. By focussing on an incorrect factual assertion made by Jordan (and immediately retracted), the right wing assures that further evidence of "targetting" is not reported in the American press.

Can anyone really imagine that if Jordan had said "The US military is abusing, torturing, and killing Iraqi prisoners" prior to the release of the Abu Ghraib photos that he would not have been sujected to the same Blogstormtroopers?

The problem is that it is far too easy for anyone who is exposed to the international media to believe that the US is targetting journalists. After all, the US shut down the last hospital in Fallujah, rather than have doctors there telling reporters about civilian casualties---how many people died in Fallujah during the assault on that city because there was no medical care available? How difficult is it to believe that if the US is going to murder people in Fallujah by bombing their city then denying them access to medical care when they become "collateral damage" in order to prevent certain news from getting out of that city, that the US military would not simply murder a journalist to achieve the same ends?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at February 14, 2005 7:28 AM | Permalink


You would be wise to consider blog software that allows comments to follow individual threads of discussion and subsidiary discussions to be represented by indented subject lines, much like Apple has for their discussions.

A single thread, like this, makes it difficult to follow common, connected thoughts.

Furthermore, threaded discussions have a natural life. Trolls, and comments that don't further the discussion, are left hanging at the end of a thread, so to speak.

Posted by: sbw at February 14, 2005 8:06 AM | Permalink


Are you sure you're not really looking for a sandy beach to stick your head into? As if you can't locate unapologetic left-liberal news and commentary...get a clue. Your comments are totally unuseful and quite self-indulgent.

Notice how much of the discussion here (including your efforts) consists of discussants waiting patiently to hear from someone who totally agrees with them and ignoring everything else. What is the point? Start really talking to (and listening to) people with different views instead of finding new ways to categorize them as mindless or sinister.

Posted by: Brian at February 14, 2005 8:34 AM | Permalink

Once again, I agree with p.lukasiak. The right wing doesn’t want better journalism, they want subservient journalism. They want propaganda. If they were so concerned about improving the MSM why is there not an uproar about journalist on the administration’s payroll or ringers in the White House press pool.

Why hasn’t the right wing bloggers come down on The New York Times for front paging Judith Miller’s fabrications? Her stories on WMD and mobile labs sure helped Cheney and Rice when they appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows quoting them as confirmation on the administration’s claims and justification for the invasion of Iraq. To attack the MSM for that would be to attack Bush, and that will never happen.

Right wing bloggers don’t want a free, objective press; they want to bring it into the fold; have it climb on that hallelujah bandwagon.

There are many things wrong with the MSM such as Ms. Miller and CBS’s memo story use of unattributable sources. Journalists who use unnamed sources get what they deserve.

Blogs on the whole are good for MSM and journalism. I believe journalism will improve with the kind of criticism blogs bring. After reviewing a list of journalist killed in Iraq and assuming it is the same as the one Jordan was referencing, I have to agree with the right, Jordan’s alleged remarks where irresponsible for a person in his position. I would not have known that had it not been for the right wing bloggers.

However, if given a choice between a liberal or conservative bias MSM, I would choose the liberal slant. Liberals will admit they made a mistake and print a retraction, while conservative never will. MSM will survive the right wing assault and be better organizations for it.

Posted by: scout29c at February 14, 2005 8:44 AM | Permalink

scout29c: Once again, I agree with p.lukasiak. The right wing doesn’t want better journalism, they want subservient journalism. They want propaganda.

You are welcome to believe it, but it will not necessarily make it so. If you plan your life on this presumption, who knows what surprises are in store for you.

Time for me to take a breath of fresh air.

Posted by: sbw at February 14, 2005 9:01 AM | Permalink

Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?

Since no dialogue occurred, the destruction was all that was left. Clearly, the tape vindicated or condemned Jordan. Jordan/CNN chose not to have the tape released, but felt he/they could use his/their 'character' to vouch for his/their integrity. Accusations were made, and a 'trial' was to begin, based on the evidence. The 'defendant' stated his innocence, then accepted the punishment for the 'offense' before evidence could be known. Critics of the Bloggers have still failed to try and find out, what was said. They accepted the integrity defense, and basically ignored/refused to ask for the evidence. Media cannot offer the 'free pass' selectively based upon their opinion or they are no better than what they believe bloggers to be. The big difference is that bloggers were in search of the facts, the media, for the most part, did not need the facts to pass judgment. Irresponsible? ALL critics of bloggers, who have passed judgment without knowing/seeking the facts, can never state they are journalists, and should never think themselves better than bloggers. Do I know what happened in Davos? No. Were accusations made with a clearcut solution of releasing the tape, to substantiate or refute these allegations? Yes. If Mr. Jordan resigned prior to the presentment of the audio/video, it clearly proves that the allegations were true. Does the media care? It is far more important to journalism than what bloggers are doing.

Posted by: mark l at February 14, 2005 9:14 AM | Permalink

I think most bloggers would say they're trying to improve the mainstream media. I don't think anyone really expects blogging to replace the media. We're just hoping, in true libertarian fashion, that the competition will make it better.

I'll go a step further and say that bloggers don't hate the mainstream media for what it is. They hate it only to the extent that it is biased, sloppy, and unfair. And any honest defender of the system should hate it for the same reasons we do.

I think, for all their complaining about the media, bloggers actually want the MSM (and the people in it) to be better than we are. And we're disappointed when it seems to "sink to our level."

All blogs are not created equal, after all. There are blogs who watch their language and stay above the fray, then there are gossipy blogs that publish rumors and engage in wild speculation. There's a place for all this on the Internet, but when we log on to bonafide media sites, we want those organizations to be held to a higher standard.

Ultimately, that's what we're paying for. We're paying journalists to be professionals, and we feel cheated when they let us down. We want our MSM to be above things like bias and gossip, or to make damn sure they're clearly labeled when it decides to dive in.

We don't want to replace the media. We want to make it better.

Posted by: michaelduff [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 9:19 AM | Permalink

Anyone from the Columbia Journalism crowd has big ones to condemn bloggers re: Jordangate.

As a 2nd generation Ukrainian American, I have been promoting Gareth Jones who was executed by the KGB after exposing the Ukrainian Holodomor (and Duranty).

After the recent discovery of his diaries, we had the niece speak of Jones' work at Columbia at the Harriman Inst.

Naturally, we tried to get an invite to the Pulitzer and the Columbia Journalism Review but they were in the process of developing the "We can't airbrush Stalin and sloppy journalism from history" spin for the soon-to-be reaffirmation of the Duranty Pulitzer.

Of course, they completely ignored all requests as they apparently had no interest in this murdered journalist - and certainly none for the 10 million non-journalist victims.

Posted by: R. Chelak at February 14, 2005 9:37 AM | Permalink

In many ways this is a bit like a repeat of the 60’s. There you had a segment of the population who turned against authority, in a generalization, the government. Today you have another segment of the population turning against another authoirty, the media.

No one probably sees these parallels and maybe they do not exist. I just read with interest the postings of Katherine and the tone and the words sound so familiar, the subject is just different.

Posted by: Joe at February 14, 2005 9:40 AM | Permalink

Critics of the Bloggers have still failed to try and find out, what was said. They accepted the integrity defense, and basically ignored/refused to ask for the evidence.

evidence of what? Every account has him withdrawing the controversial statement (whatever it was) immediately upon its being challenged.

Its pretty clear that "evidence" that the wingnuts are looking for is evidence of ThoughtCrime. And if there is evidence of the ThoughtCrime of thinking poorly of Our Glorious and Flawless US Military, Jordan is to be treated as a ThoughtCriminal, and not be allowed to Pollute American minds with Bad Facts.

Its interesting, because the only claims of "bias" that the totalitarians of the right can claim against CNN is that the network is not providing enough Approved HappyNews about Iraq. To them, "Jeff Gannon" is an impartial source because he quotes verbatim from administration press releases without attribution--- to these totalitarians, if the Bush regime says its true, it is true, and must be reported as undisputed fact.

So, again I ask you "evidence of WHAT" exactly?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at February 14, 2005 9:43 AM | Permalink

I honestly don't think most blog readers care too much one way or another about the ultimate fate of the MSM. Sure there's plenty of well deserved disdain. It's not pleasant to be condescended to and lied to, but I think most of us are way too busy and engaged to care very deeply about CNN or Eason Jordan. We're looking for a little good reporting, a little entertainment, a little analysis.

It seems to me that the blogosphere is better at delivering these, and that results in the ultimate insult to the MSM. We simply stop paying attention. And when the next Rathergate storms up, we briefly take note and conclude, "Oh yeah. Those bozos effed up again. Now I remember why I dropped my subscription to the (insert MSM outlet of choice).

When and if the MSM starts delivering a better product, watch this "controversy" fizzle.

Posted by: Old Dad at February 14, 2005 9:47 AM | Permalink

We want our MSM to be above things like bias and gossip, or to make damn sure they're clearly labeled when it decides to dive in.

the totalitarian right --- the ones pursuing evidence of Jordan's ThoughtCrimes --- has no interest in improving the MSM. If they did, they would be screaming bloody murder about FoxNews, and demanding the resignation of Brit Hume for lying about FDR's position on private accounts. They would be absolutely livid that any MSM outlet gave airtime to the lies of the Swift Boat Scumbags before they fully checked out those stories.

But the people who went after Jordan are clearly not interested in right wing liars like Hume masquerading as "anchors", or the acceptance of liars as credible witnesses. Indeed, they would object if the mainstream media introduced Eliot Abrams as a convicted felon---Abrams' criminal past has been erased from the consciousness of the mainstream media.

So please don't pretend that these right-wing fascists are up to any good. They aren't.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at February 14, 2005 9:52 AM | Permalink

RE:p.lukasiak- "evidence of what? Every account has him withdrawing the controversial statement (whatever it was) immediately upon its being challenged."

All that has been asked for by bloggers is the evidence. The actual evidence. Everything the right and left have suggested is suspect. I trust neither source. By the fact that you accept a statement of apology, but do not even know what the apology was exactly for, suggests that you have decided that the left is true, and the right is always suspect.

"Every Account"-every account, but the actual facts. The video/audio is the only account that is true. Everything else is subjective. Asking for objective evidence is not a crime. Accepting subjective information and failing to see that the objective remains hidden, and still passing judgment is laughable.

Posted by: mark at February 14, 2005 10:05 AM | Permalink

Re: Jarvis

Astonishing--my jaw hit the floor--that the NYT wouldn't even bother getting a quote from Jarvis (see Instead, just selectively extract something that fits the story from his weblog. This is taking the oft-told tale of reporters mining an interview for anything that will fit their pre-fab story to a whole new level.

Professionalism, we've heard of it.

Posted by: Brian at February 14, 2005 10:23 AM | Permalink

Stuart Hughes has posted these words by Richard Sambrook:

"I'm shocked by Eason Jordan's resignation at the end of last week following his remarks on a panel at Davos (see earlier post). He was being hounded by the US bloggers - unreasonably. He had clarified his comments and apologised for any misunderstanding. However the bloggers scented blood and continued to pile on the pressure, the story broke into the mainstream and Eason felt he should stand down rather than let CNN be damaged by association. So he has resigned because he was accused of holding views which he repeatedly said he didn't hold...a strange world.

"Eason is a good man. In the last year alone he has made 12 trips to Baghdad to support the CNN team and to try to put in place arrangements to improve their safety. He joined CNN in its earliest days and developed their newsgathering through the eighties and nineties, building for himself a reputation as a fierce and uncompromising competitor.
"The broadcast news industry is the worse for his departure."

As Stuart says, "At least 4 journalists from the mainstream media have already died on assignment this year.

Let me know when a blogger puts his or her life in mortal danger to get a story and I'll rethink."

You may remember Stuart Hughes as the BBC reporter who had a foot blown off by a landmine during the US invasion of Iraq. He's now an amputee.

By the way, Jay, Jarvis' post is pathetic. As usual, it's an opportunistic attempt to get attention. Vent at each other? Puhleeze. Here's the nut of Jarvis' post: "So how about it, Mr. Keller? We'll bring the bagels, you bring the sandwiches." Who is this "we?" Jeff's blogstorm troopers army?

Posted by: tex at February 14, 2005 10:39 AM | Permalink

First of all, withdrawing every comment after it is made is hardly penance. It is similar to the front page attack on an individual that gets corrected on page B20 3 weeks after the original attack. For someone of Eason Jordan's stature to make such attacks that need to be retracted calls into question his own clarity of thought to be running a news channel with CNN's stature.

And Mark is correct. Jordan has never really fully "backtracked." Why not release the video? Since CNN probably withheld the firing until viewing the Davos video, my guess is that it was pretty damaging. Of course, they may also simply be playing the overcautious network without a backbone, but who knows.

A recent episode with Bill Moyers should act as guidance for all people who make mistakes such as Jordan. He wrote an editorial attributing some pretty dumb stuff to James Watt which made obvious that Moyers had not done the simplest of fact checking and instead had simply repeated incorrect rumour. Moyers was called to the carpet for it. Instead of trying to circumnavigate his way around the truth so that he would not have to fully admit mistake, he wrote an eloquent apology taking full responsibility for his words. I can't tell you the amount of respect he gained from some quarters with the simple act of saying I am sorry and I was wrong.

That's all Eason Jordan needed to say. My guess is Dan Rather wishes he had done the same thing.

Posted by: Alex at February 14, 2005 10:41 AM | Permalink

Let me know when a blogger puts his or her life in mortal danger to get a story and I'll rethink."

Iraqi and mil bloggers do it every day asshole. Guess they don't count.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at February 14, 2005 10:43 AM | Permalink

Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?

Neither, exactly. Although I'd be pleased with dialogue. I'm a centrist politically who warned against mobblogging. But I do think the MSM needs to realize just how many people in the US no longer trust them.

If Carlyle is to be believed, it was Edmund Burke who first called the press the Fourth Estate of government. It's on that notion, i.e. that the press provide information which is essential to good and free governance of the country, that press freedom and privileges are based.

Today, however, we see the confluence of two strong trends. First, digital technologies make the intermediation of the MSM as information gatherers and filters less important - we can to to the source of the info directly in many cases. And second, we see a diminution of identification of the MSM with the country or this society. Witness Jordan's perfectly understandable interview in the Transnational Broadcasting Studies journal last fall, in which he made it clear the CNNi under his leadership did not consider itself American.

The confluence of these two is deadly for the MSM whenever the MSM presents less than a total and unbiased view of events. When a significant gap opens between what the MSM report and what people know or hear from those they have reason to trust, it's the reputation and position of the MSM that takes the hit. And in most cases, rightly so. The MSM should be aware that this meme is often and seriously aimed at them: "They're not mistaken - they're on the other side." In other words, many in our society no longer think errors of fact and omission in media accounts are inadvertent. They think, often but not always with good reason, that such errors are either deliberate or at a minimum the result of pervasive bias and contempt on the part of journalists.

I am one blogger who wants a strong, healthy Press. I increasingly wonder if I will find it in the MSM, however. That's what I warned journalists about over at Poynter before Jordan's resignation and I think it's a cogent point still.

Posted by: Robin Burk at February 14, 2005 10:48 AM | Permalink

Just to start something.

If the military really did "target" journalists, would it be a case of self-defense?

Posted by: Tim at February 14, 2005 10:57 AM | Permalink

The long-repressed voices of opposition in a free society, now ringing loud and clear through talk radio, cable TV and -- of course -- the blogosphere, will force the left to rethink its arguments or go extinct.

Bloggers are "cracking, popping, drilling and peeling their victims open"

Posted by: Sissy Willis at February 14, 2005 11:04 AM | Permalink

So anyway "cause destruction" or "have dialogue with"? Am I alone in thinking that the question is a bit of a "loaded question", a trap laid, prepared with condescension in mind. I think what we're supposed to say is: "Ooh, ooh Professor, I think I know the right answer! I want to have dialogue, because it is only through the dialectic of dialogue that we can pull together to reform our broken press contraption and once again it can function to allow our public institutions to work as they should for the betterment of all yadda yadda"

But, if we don't choose that answer we can always go with "No! no dialogue! Me want smash! Smash emesemm! Me hate perfessor! Him make brain hurt! Now me turn on Fox!" And the "salivating moron" charge, that little dollop of "attitude" on top of the twist of argument swizzled with the orange rinds of emotion, is now - aha! -proven.

Anyway, the answer, mister Professor Rosen - to your obviously insincerely, condescendingly asked non-question question, is neither. Dialogue is bullshit. Dialogue is Big Media people saying that bloggers are unprofessional, right-wing, stupid, haven't gone to J-School, probably live in red states and fuck their cousins etc. while bloggers say that Big Media cats are Northereastern, effete, commies, drive volvos, didn't embrace the Passion of the Christ as the greatest film ever in the history of mankind etc. etc. At the end of the day nothing has happened.

"Cause destruction"!? Either you're being daft or disengenuous. Obviously, something like the "MSM" is going to exist for the foreseeable future, and it's beyond the power of a lynch mob, no matter how much they salivate, to destroy it. (And yes, I realize that "MSM" is distinct from "the press" etc.) I think the original idea was for there to be more of a symbiotic relationship but that was hashed because the big media guys were such assholes about it. Now, in the last few months, I've noticed a countervailing trend in which a lot of the anti-Big Media bloggers are being perfect pricks too, but hey, the other guys started it!

But seriously, I really think that all that a lot of bloggers want (excluding those who merely want all legacy media reporting to fit their right or left agenda) is for the media to live up to its own stated standards and to reform its own practices where needed. I mean, when you have the AP credulously passing on a picture of a GI Joe doll and saying it's a captured American soldier and the blogosphere correcting them literally within seconds, something's broken. And it ain't the blogosphere.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at February 14, 2005 11:51 AM | Permalink

Suze & Mark Anderson both think that because Jordan has apologized for his remarks at Davos, all is well.

There are two problems here.

1) Jordan claimed that he never said troops were deliberately killing journalists. That is, he apologized not for what he said, but for "lack of clarity."

2)Last November, he said this in Portugal to a roomful of news executives:

"Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces."


So I do not believe Jordan's claim that he was "misunderstood" at Davos, and I want to see the videotape. As a member of the US public, unaffiliated with any political party, and an ordinary citizen, I want to know EXACTLY what he actually said to a roomful of world leaders.

Posted by: Bostonian at February 14, 2005 12:08 PM | Permalink

And if that makes me a right-wing fascist, then words have lost all meaning.

Posted by: Bostonian at February 14, 2005 12:10 PM | Permalink

Those who claim the right-wing-bloggers only want their own propaganda are correct. That's the take home message. To them, a liberal conspiracy is the only way to the hallowed land. They use storm trooper tactics, innuendo and lies; all of the shades of propaganda. It's their version or nothing and the the journalists THEY like and want to clone are a conservative PR firm.

Just try to get that pile of dung past me.

Posted by: marky48 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 12:28 PM | Permalink

"Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces."

and what precisely is wrong with this statement. It draws a clear distinction between the deaths of journalists, and journalists being arrested and tortured by US forces. It certainly does suggest the possibility that US forces are targetting journalists----but there is more than sufficient evidence to make that a reasonable conjecture.

First of all, withdrawing every comment after it is made is hardly penance. It is similar to the front page attack on an individual that gets corrected on page B20 3 weeks after the original attack.

it was withdrawn immediately, in front of the same audience who heard it originally. At that point, no further apology is really necessary---and those who demand more of an apology are clearly fascists out to convict Jordan for ThoughtCrimes.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at February 14, 2005 12:32 PM | Permalink


I don't want Jordan's apology.

I want to see that videotape.

Posted by: Bostonian at February 14, 2005 12:36 PM | Permalink

If Jordan had not made the report about how CNN kissed up to Saddam before the war, this would have gone away in a hurry. If he had admitted to hyperbole and completely backed down instead of making a backdoor plea for his original assertion, in a Rather-esque fashion, this would have gone away in a hurry. As it is CNN could have toughed it out anyway. Bloghounds can bay at the door, but you don't have to pay any mind.

I'm suspecting that someone at CNN decided they don't like the way Jordan thinks. If not at CNN, maybe they got a friendly call from someone in a position to put on some pressure. Maybe it was Barney Frank.

Posted by: jj at February 14, 2005 12:36 PM | Permalink

Prof. Rosen, you came out pretty strong in that last thread against the mob mentality. Let me pose a third question to you (to supplement the two you originally posted about):

Do you now suspect that, through your blogging activities, you personally are unintetionally enabling the destruction of something you love, truth-telling journalism?

Posted by: Mithras [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 12:47 PM | Permalink

Do you now suspect that, through your blogging activities, you personally are unintetionally enabling the destruction of something you love, truth-telling journalism?

OMG! So, like, just by posting something in Movable Type he's leading to the destruction of "truth-telling journalism"!? So, it's like eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or some shit? That is just so ridiculous. Both blog-evangelists and blog-haters accord blogging some sort of mystical power that it just doesn't possess.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at February 14, 2005 12:56 PM | Permalink


The mentality is typical of people who want to bully or coerce someone into conformity. Since calling Jay a "rightloon" or "blog storm trooper" would just get a bunch of laughs, go at it from the "they are just using you to further their perfidy" angle. (Alternately, "Jay you are unintentionally destroying journalism". Maybe, but Dan Rather got a head start.)

You are either with us or against us. Now's your last chance to make your allegiance clear, because when the revolution comes...etc. And it's not even amusing to listen to this kind of hyperbole, which is so thick with dumb cliches from 1972 that you could launch a career in Orwell studies based on a couple of comment threads.

Who knew that just by registering as a Republican 18 years ago I was being inducted into an exciting life of destroying the truth, bringing about totalitarian empire, and making P. Lukasiak shake with fury?

Well, gotta go, Prince Harry and I are going shopping for more Nazi regalia followed by a torrid mid-afternoon coupling (don't you know we fascists are invariably shameful pre-verts).

Posted by: Brian at February 14, 2005 1:33 PM | Permalink

Enter the "Blogosphere" (aka Smogosphere; my coinage). If you have ever visited a BBS you know exactly what the smogosphere is. There are no rational, enlightening discussions going on (but the vast majority of participants in both the BBS community and Smogosphere believe there is); just like on the BBS, the Smogosphere is just one side repeating the same arguments, not listening to what the other side says (but claiming to of course), flaming opponents, and carrying out witch hunts or crusades against members of the community it disagrees with. The fight of left versus right has simply carried over into a new medium. Each side has its paragons. The Left in the MSM has CNN/CBS; has papers such as the NYTimes, WaPo, and LATimes; in the smogosphere, the Left has dailykos and wonkette. The Right has FOX News in the MSM and has Instapundit and Hugh Hewitt in the smogosphere.

So in addition to a tendentious media seeking to entertain not educate, and to support existing views rather than educate and expand views, you have the smogosphere where any unqualified person can rattle off their uninformed *opinions*.

The "Mainstream Media" is already full of "experts" just foaming at the mouth to get on and vomit their opinon all over the air. Even worse is when you get 4 "experts" together and it turns into a shouting match. You can't hear any of them, can't understand what they are saying, and its not an edifying experience. Now, enter the "blogosphere" and you jump from 4 talking heads to 4 million even less qualified Nimrods babling back and forth across the Internet, or the 10th Circle of Hell that Dante neglected to write about.

The "truth" of the matter is that 99% of bloggers are nebbishes driving Ford Taurus' who take themselves too seriously. The ones that do get something (book deal, column in a paper) from this calamity of "free speech" are just going to be absorbed into whatever side (liberal or conservative) they were being a mouthpiece for in the first place.

Truth? *You* the MEDIA (read, MSM and Blog) are supposed to inform me of the *TRUTH*? I thought thats what Plato, Descartes, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Hegel, Heidegger, Hume, Spinoza and all the other philosophers were supposed to be doing. After all, they dedicated their _lives_ to it.

Posted by: La_r0chefoucauld at February 14, 2005 2:53 PM | Permalink

Hmmm, why does "New World Man's" tactic of rejecting the premise sound familiar to me somehow. Wait! I know, because I did the exact same thing. Only, nwm was too polite to point out the fact the "question" was merely a trap. I demand a front-page link! No, wait a minute, I don't care!

What new world man says is fairly obvious and I can't believe it never occured to the perfessor. The basic point of blogs was, in essence, a really amped up letters to the editor section. Before, if you had some issue with a story, or had been misquoted, or defamed, or if you had expertise and you knew for a fact that a writer was wrong, your only recourse was to write a letter to the editor. They receive 40,000 and print four, with two of them being from Paul Lukasiak types to provide "balance". Blogs provided a platform for all of that feedback that was lost, or wasn't even attempted because of the feeling that it would be futile. The general idea, one would hope, would be that by weeding through all this feedback and incorporating it into future stories, the media would do better. I guess if you want to be pencil-necked about it you could call that "dialogue", but to me it just seems like improvement/watchdogging, but it's certainly far removed from "destruction".

Posted by: Eric Deamer at February 14, 2005 2:54 PM | Permalink

Jay, I got excited about the possibilities of blogging when a newspaper story I wrote gained some currency in the blogosphere. It was exhilarating (and a bit humbling) to see my story analyzed, sometimes line by line, by people who were better versed in the topic than I was. I promptly started what I believe was the first blog linked to a news site in Montana.

But my enthusiasm has waned (last blog entry: Feb. 1. Next: Who knows?). Too many blogging myths about MSM make me doubt there can ever be fruitful cooperation. Among them:

1. The liberal bias myth. Sure, most reporters and editors are left of center. But to assume that colors everything they do is reductive and absurd. Reading about it is a waste of time.

2. The ivory tower myth. Many bloggers think journalists are shocked to discover that other people can write and report. In 25 years in the news biz, I don't think I've ever met a reporter who thought journalism required any special skills -- certainly not academic skills. I've never known a journalist who disagreed with Walter Lippmann's observation that "Journalism is the last refuge of the vaguely talented." Journalists get paid to write because they are willing to work bad hours for low pay. The best of the bunch succeed not because of academic training but because of personal qualities that are rarely exhibited in the blogosphere.

3. The blogophobia myth. Journalists supposedly despise bloggers because we fear the power of a new idea. I think many journalists despise bloggers for the same reason that reporters despise other "thumb suckers" who sit around and criticize without ever getting their hands dirty. Writing pithy op-ed comments about the reporting of others is the easiest job in the world. Don't expect to be admired for it.

4. The accountability myth. Bloggers say that for the first time, journalists are being held accountable. Baloney. My name goes on every word I write, and I never go anywhere without seeing and hearing from people who have opinions about my work. If I'm not accountable, I'm out of business.

5. The priesthood myth. Journalists supposedly believe they have some special knowledge and right to decide what the public gets to read or hear. It's called news judgment, and it derives from the obligation to make the best use possible of limited space and time. No one but a fool ever imagined that what we don't print doesn't matter. But we can't print everything.

No story has demonstrated the gap between bloggers and working journalists more than "Easongate." To journalists, the guy admitted he misspoke and almost immediately tried to correct the record. Unless he's the president or a rock star, there's no story there. Reporters make a living by quoting people saying provocative things, but no responsible reporter takes pride in seeing a guy lose his job over a matter like this. I feel like garbage when it happens, especially if it's because of a story I wrote -- even if the speaker deserved it. The gloating in the blogosphere over this incident makes me think that this is a world I do not wish to inhabit.

Posted by: David Crisp at February 14, 2005 2:55 PM | Permalink

David Crisp:

1. Will be discussed and debated until the end of time. I agree that they are not as monolithic nor as conspiratorial as some of the less level-headed detractors say, but your near-classic cliche formulation "Of course we're all left-of-center, but our gargantuan frontal lobes allow us to supress our bias/it just doesn't matter/it's much more complicated than that, and I'll leave it at that", beloved as it is by Professor Rosen and so many others, just doesn't cut it. I agree that it's not convincing when some of the more unhinged "MSM" haters see every thing as an example of bias. But what about us more nuanced folks, who don't think it "colors everything they do", but that it is a meaningful factor? Simply by rejecting the maximalist case you haven't disproved that left-of-center bias is a factor. I like the classic answer to your argument that I saw Michael Barone give at a panel. Fellow like yourself says that sure, 90% (or whatever) of journalists register as Democrats, but it doesn't matter because of professional standards and blah blah blah. Barone says, "So if 90% of them were Republicans you think your work product would be the same?" He says, "No, then it would be biased." Ask yourself the same question. Ask yourself how you respond to Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting and other media which is suspected of having a conservative bias.

2. I live in New York, and I've met many journalists who confirm the ivory tower myth. Do some googling, there are at least a fair number of these folks who are just dripping with condesecension. You can easily find a fair number of anti-blog op-eds, particularly in CJR and stuff like that, which bring-up the lack of credentials etc.

3. I don't think journalists despise bloggers for the most part. The whole idea that it's somehow more noble to "get your hands dirty" than to "sit around and criticize", however, is facile. So bloggers don't have the right to criticize reporters if they've never done reporting. Have all the reporters who write stories critical of cops, soldiers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, doctors, executives, etc. actually performed all those jobs? NO. Then why do they have to right to write critical stories? Why do they expect to be admired for it?

4. Your name on the piece doesn't mean that you're accountable. Has your paper run a correction as prominent as the original mistake every-time you've fucked up? Does your paper prominently correct and climb down and apologize to the people wronged every time they make a correction? These things define accountability, not a byline.

5. Yeah, um, maybe your news judgment isn't infallible. And you can print everything now. You have the internet to post full interview transcripts, original drafts, clarifications, etc. Why don't you use it.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at February 14, 2005 3:19 PM | Permalink

David Crisp

You are wrong on the central issue. Jordan did NOT admit that he said the things that several eyewitnesses claim. He spun, he twisted, he gave the clear impression of denying that he had said what Rony and others state.

You may be OK on the journalism you are doing in Montana - but I don't think you would be first choice for hiring for a story on Jordan if you can't even define the central issue correctly.

And your claim that it is immaterial and no likely indication of bias that 90% of journalists are Dems is simply ludicrous.

Posted by: JohninLondon at February 14, 2005 4:02 PM | Permalink

The form ....the tape and so on. The transcript is never enough. Cling to that hope oh biased ones. It's all you have.

Posted by: marky48 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 4:17 PM | Permalink

Ludicrous to you john not to anyone capable of objective thought.

Posted by: marky48 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 4:18 PM | Permalink

David Crisp me either. Well said. Without these myths this blog would close or have no comments at all.

Posted by: marky48 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 4:22 PM | Permalink

"4. The accountability myth. Bloggers say that for the first time, journalists are being held accountable. Baloney. My name goes on every word I write, and I never go anywhere without seeing and hearing from people who have opinions about my work. If I'm not accountable, I'm out of business."

Ah, but its a far different matter having a person here and a person there bump into you at a restaurant versus having a couple of thousand emails arrive at your employer's email account. Whether the emails themselves are sensible and informed is another matter entirely, but there can be no doubt that accountability has taken on new dimensions.

Posted by: Crusader at February 14, 2005 4:45 PM | Permalink

I am deeply amused by the notion of bloggers applying "pressure". This is not to demean their ability to influence events, but surely it is not the bloggers who determine the course of events but their audience. A blog is like the tree falling in the woods. It can only make noise if there is someone present to hear. And clearly, there is an audience, and woe to the MSM, it is growing.

Posted by: DiplomatUSA at February 14, 2005 5:26 PM | Permalink

For those who may care, I am scheduled to be on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (PBS) tonight around half way through the program, discussing everything being discussed here. So check it out.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 14, 2005 5:31 PM | Permalink


You've hit the nail on the head. And we're tired of being lied to, having our intelligence insulted, being given interpretations instead of facts, and having no visibility of any facts or arguments that might undermine the storyline.

For example, last year, an AP story said that an audience of Republicans had booed when GWB mentioned Clinton's trip to the hospital.

I saw the original story and I listened to the audio, supplied by an audience member and made available on a blog. It was definitely the same speech and there was no booing where the reporter had claimed. He just flat-out invented it.

The AP silently removed the lie pretty soon, BTW. I'm glad they fixed it, but it was not honest to do it without saying so.

How many times did that happen before anyone was there to catch these things and make them public?! The thought is horrifying!

Posted by: Bostonian [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2005 5:40 PM | Permalink

New....Closing Thoughts on the Resignation of Eason Jordan

Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 14, 2005 5:42 PM | Permalink

"Without these myths this blog would close or have no comments at all."

I think not. You and Paul and Mark would still be here talking about BushCo and rightloons and fascist totalitarian storm troopers while fuming whenever Rosen allows some heretical suggestion in bounds. Tell me you wouldn't.

Posted by: Brian at February 14, 2005 5:43 PM | Permalink


Haven't you flogged that question to death already, since I posted the link to Barone's article ?

You keep quoting and evidently agreeing with Barone's line that right blogs hate MSM/legacy media. Plenty of people have said it is NOT hate in the sense of Kos parroting Bush=Hitler. It is CRITICISM, challenging some of the dinosaurs to come up with the facts to support the opinions they keep foisting on everyone. Challenging them to give better balance, to be less partisan in the stories they report on - and to actually do a better job of journalism.

Most of the legacy media have performed abysmally over the Jordan affair. They have failed to investigate the story or the issues properly. Their stories are woefully incomplete - if they actually have any stories.

If we are saying stuff like that, how do you or Barone leap to the idea that we "hate" them ? Very sloppy use of the word "hate".

Posted by: JohninLondon at February 14, 2005 6:30 PM | Permalink

Again- I do not wish the destruction of the MSM nor do I want a dialogue with it. I am merely emancipating myself from the MSM. I do not trust the MSM with political news. I dont need a person with a $130,000 journalism degree who has taken two poli-sci classes from a marxist professor giving me his/her "special insight" into the geopolitical ramifications of our foreign policy around the world. Journalists have become intellectually overrated.
RE: Eason Jordan- the more the MSM became "nuanced" regarding his comments the more it became apparent they were hiding something or self-censoring the story to protect their own.
They have become a sham.
Remember is "criticism" if the MSM gives it, but it is "hate" if we give it. Free at last!

Posted by: cal-boy at February 14, 2005 6:59 PM | Permalink

Two comments to consider:

[...] I dont desire the destruction of the MSM or desire to have a dialogue with it. I want it to provide the service of journaling without opining verbally or through their writing.[...] -cal-boy

[...] Let's face it, sometimes things like Truth and Facts have a liberal bias.[...] -Elliott Abrams

The former is what I want from the media. The latter is what I usually get.

It is damn irritating to pay someone to condescend to me. They are saying "you don't have the judgement to make your own assessment of the facts and come to your own conclusions, so I'm going to 'help' you a little bit".

I hate that, and no, hate is not too strong a word. And it's been going on for decades.

Posted by: rosignol at February 14, 2005 8:50 PM | Permalink

I do not want the mainstream media to collapse, particuarly since I have a keen interest in pursuing journalism as a career because I believe it serves a vital service to society, a service that bloggers can't do by themselves with the requisite accountability (even with the accountability, they could not do the job of informing the public of all the day's events). Blogs are ultimately dependent UPON journalists to have something to blog about.

I also do not want more careers and lives shattered.

But, what I want is for the mainstream journalists to finally realize they are not kings who are not accountable to readers and viewers.

Don't the final planks of both the SPJ and RTNDA ethics codes include accountability to the public?

How is Steve Lovelady's comments reflective of a journalist wanting to live up to the ethics set out by journalistic organizations?

Just how much will it take for journalists to finally listen to the people out here on the other side who are trying to send them a message: be fair, balanced, do deeper journalism than "some think this, some think that" lazy style, stop denigrating people you disagree with! How long will it take for most reporters to finally live up to the SPJ Code of Ethics?

I hope soon. It is a wonderful set of guiding principles. Now, you need to live it.

Do that, and your integrity will be again regained.

Posted by: Roy Waggoner at February 14, 2005 10:31 PM | Permalink

I precisely said bloggers could not live up to journalistic standards. Comparing implies I said bloggers are fair and accurate, which is obviously not always (or perhaps mostly) the case.

Journalists fail to uphold ethics when they print stories that are clearly biased in favor of the left. Journalists fail to uphold ethics when they scoff at their critics, brushing off concerns of bias. Journalists fail to uphold ethics when they treat the public like little children that are simpletons by writing silly "analysis" pieces that are really opinions masquerading as journalism. Journalists fail to uphold ethics when they can't take any criticism.

Posted by: Roy Waggoner at February 15, 2005 12:06 AM | Permalink

"When have they not lived up to it?"

Earth to marky48. Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, Howell Raines, Dan Rather, Judith Miller, Janet this transmission getting through?

Journalists aren't some new breed of superman, even if you do have a J-school degree (knock me over with a feather). I expect that they're a lot like the people I work with--some good, some bad, some lazy, some eager to blame someone else for their own screwups.

And yes, I read a number of weblogs that blow commentators like Maureen Dowd or Mike Barone away on seriousness and credibility. Enough with the cartoons. I read lawyers, economists, researchers, programmers, all kinds of people who don't fit within the ecology of mainstream news, where instead I see a daily, dreary sameness of voice and attitude. Hate them? Bored to tears by them is more like it. Bob Somerby (and many other bloggers, pro and con) did more serious writing on Bush's Social Security proposal weeks before one of these highly paid hacks had the temerity to question any of the assumptions. Tell me again why I am supposed to be impressed by the regular output of many journalists and their editors.

The editorial pages of most daily newspapers are a dead loss compared to the better weblogs out there.

Posted by: Brian at February 15, 2005 12:41 AM | Permalink

> I don't want Jordan's apology.

> I want to see that videotape.

WHY do you want to see the videotape? That is the real question.

And the ONLY answer is to crucify Jordan for ThoughtCrimes.

Stop pretending that you and the rest of the wingnuts have any interest in facts and knowledge. You worship a president who lies every time he opens his mouth, and you want those lies covered as if they were established facts.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at February 15, 2005 6:01 AM | Permalink


You do not know a single thing about me. You're inventing me based on your preconceived ideas. If you are a journalist or want to be one, I hope you learn to stop doing that.

Very interestingly, you find my motivations more important than the contents of that tape. I'm just an ordinary private citizen.

Eason Jordan spoke publicly as a representative of a multinational corporation. But you think I need to have some kind of credentials of correct thinking before I can question him.

And ironically *you* use the word "ThoughtCrimes" in your little diatribe.

Posted by: Bostonian at February 15, 2005 9:22 AM | Permalink

The point is DESTRUCTION of the MSM LIES.

Like the lie the Jordan "didn't mean it" -- based on his previous statements. (Kudos for Jay's guest on "permanence" as a significant new trait. "History" is being reborn in an age of one minute attention spans).

Like the lie that Kerry released his military records (NO Form 180).

And the destruction of the biased half-truth as if it was the whole truth (Jordan's comments not important because we in the news say they're not important.)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at February 15, 2005 9:39 AM | Permalink

"WHY do you want to see the videotape? That is the real question."

Its *not* "the real question", but it illustrates quite nicely the disconnect between MSM and its detractors. We no longer TRUST the MSM to give us the straight story--hence the desire to see the tape for ourselves.

Posted by: Crusader at February 15, 2005 12:53 PM | Permalink

WHY do you want to see the videotape? That is the real question.

So I can see for myself what was said, and evaluate the facts for myself, without the baggage of other people's opinions getting in the way.

And the ONLY answer is to crucify Jordan for ThoughtCrimes.

How would you know? Are you telepathic? Precognitive? Omniscient, perhaps? No?

Then please quit acting as if you are.

Posted by: rosignol at February 15, 2005 2:06 PM | Permalink

The few times in my life when I've been in a position to know what actually happened before it was reported in the news, I was shocked to discover that the events were misrepresented, quotes were incorrectly attributed, and half the names were spelled wrong. I'm sure papers today are more professional, having hired so many journalism students, but I'm still glad that there is a way to balance these reports now.

Posted by: jj at February 15, 2005 5:04 PM | Permalink

Now that things have quieted down a bit, maybe I'll burn some of Jay's bandwidth and respond to Eric Dreamer above.

1. "You haven't proved that left-of-center bias isn't a factor." True, and I would never try to do that. I just think it's wildly overrated. What about Fox News? I like Fox News just fine and watch it often. During the invasion of Iraq, I switched back and forth between CNN and Fox repeatedly to track how each covered the story. Saddam got his butt kicked on both networks.

2. I'm sure there are condescending journalists out there, and I've encountered a few myself. It takes a certain amount of arrogance to even do this job. But I've spent most of my working life around journalists and find them with rare exceptions to be funny, skeptical, quick with a good story, and not at all ideological. Most of the condescension I encounter is in the blogosphere.

3. Yes, some of the criticism of those who don't get their hands dirty is facile, but it also is a longstanding American tradition. Just look at movie heroes: They're always the guys who are out bustin' ass in the field, never the bureaucrats who fill out the evaluation forms. Do journalists expect to be admired for what they do? I don't think anybody with that illusion lasts long in this business.

4. Oh yeah, I'm accountable. My name isn't just on the stories. It's also on the masthead. I sign the paychecks. When an advertiser pulls ads because of something I wrote, the money comes out of my pocket. I once worked at a small Texas daily that had the highest city-zone penetration in the state. When I wrote a hot story or a tough editorial, it wasn't just a couple of people in a restaurant who noticed. Virtually everybody I met, on every street corner, had read the story, and most of them recognized me. That's accountability.

In some ways, I think, what blogging has done is to make every newspaper a small-town daily. Now you have readers up front and in your face whether you edit the New York Times or the Palestine Herald-Press. It's a strange new world for some people, but it's the way newspapering was meant to be. One big difference: When I wrote in East Texas, I knew I had to look my readers in the eye the next day, and they had to look at me. That enforced a certain civility that's sadly lacking in much of the blogosphere. As for corrections, we run all of them on Page 2, mostly without apology.

5. Yes, it's true: My news judgment isn't infallible. And we could certainly make better use of the web to amplify and expand upon stories. The big obstacle: I can't figure out how to make money at it. I don't have time for it, and I can't afford to pay anybody else to do it. I spend too much time working for free as it is.

Posted by: David Crisp at February 17, 2005 9:20 PM | Permalink

I accidenatlly posted the first part without knowing-sorry.

To the Right Honorable David Crisp:
Thank you and much appreciation for the post.

Some thoughts:
Re: 1. One center-right news network doth not undo a biased "news world" in which we live in. Within a few seconds I can type out NYT, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, LA times, WaPo, NPR etc. I understand it is all to fashionable to come up with the ONE network that Liberals deem a conservative network. However, that is neither here nor there. The MSM is considered to the Left because of A. The type of stories they cover
B. The verbage employed within that story ie anti-choice, pro-gun, anti-abortion, etc.
C. The opining and insight of the journalist who is supposedly doing an "objective" piece of journalism.
Plus, what in your mind would prove a left wing bias?
RE: 2 and 4..
The bias, condescension, and ideology come out in something like this; "Bush TANG memos Fake yet Accurate."
Where would you like me to to start and where would you like me to end?
New York City is not Palestine, Texas.
First, and above all, Palestine High School can beat any College Team in New York.
Seriously, the working situations are vastly different. NYT writers dont go out at night worrying about the advertising dollars coming into the paper. Mo Dowd might 'halucidate'
with her opinions yet there are no worries whether people or advertisers in NYC might disagree with her or pull their dollars. They are highly unaccountable.
She can be wrong 100 times and who cares? If a blog is consistently wrong no one visits it.
More importantly, the UN-civility of the press is comical. Was is Jennings who said in 1994 the US was experiencing a temper tantrum...I could go on and on but what is the point?
I am not saying the Right is perfect- it isnt, like everything else in life. You have idiots everywhere and there isnt a common denominator based upon their political affiliation.
At this point in history, I believe the hypocrisy of the Left to be more hypocritical than the hypocrisy of the Right. I am sure there will come and time when it will be reversed and I will complain in the same manner.
But then again, my beliefs as defined by the MSM make me a racist, homophobe, anti-abortion, UN hating, Francophobe, death penalty loving, homeless hating, bible-thumping jingoist Nazi.
But I digress...
Once again, thanks for the post and the civil manner in which it was written.

Posted by: cal-boy at February 17, 2005 11:10 PM | Permalink

I guess what it comes down to(I am not a journalist and must find my words) is something similar I posted a few days ago about emancipating myself from the MSM- more to the point-the political writing of the MSM.
But even more than that: I just dont care about the MSM anymore. They are to me in ways regressive, inarticulate, illiberal, un-intellectual(see Mo Dowd's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet!)...they are boring. Simply boring with no erudition. They are like a bad Tom Robbins novel...sorry for the ironical redundancy.

Posted by: cal-boy at February 17, 2005 11:57 PM | Permalink

Latest Dowd:
"Even the Nixon White House didnt do anything this creepy."
She gets paid for this.

Posted by: cal-boy at February 18, 2005 1:04 AM | Permalink

From the Intro