A journalist called me up today to talk about the Eason Jordan situation, which culminated in Jordan's resignation from CNN on Friday. I've not commented on it mainly because I still don't know what the man actually said at the now-notorious World Economic Forum panel.
Whatever it was, it was apparently a horrendous gaffe. If, as reported, he claimed U.S. forces were deliberately killing reporters in Iraq, that's an outrageous statement, unless there's evidence. But it's also widely reported that he backed off from his remark.
There's no doubt about one thing: The bloggers who pounded on Jordan and his now-former employer, CNN, helped make the story a story long before most of the major media picked it up -- and most of them picked it up only to cover his resignation.
Was it a story? Of course. A senior news executive for a global news presence makes news when he makes a statement that, if true, is important information. Braggadocio in public forums is not a great quality for such people, and misstatements about matters so potentially explosive are career-threatening mistakes.
Like Jeff Jarvis and others who've commented to enormous length on this situation, I agree that a very quick and public retraction and apology would probably have saved his job. Too late now -- and like many I now also suspect that whatever is on that video recording may be worse than we've been led to believe.
If I understand this correctly, the aristocrats and functionaries who run the World Economic Forum control the video and refuse to let it loose. They are making a bad situation worse.
The very notion that a roomful of well-connected people could or would keep anything like this "off the record" is ludicrous. Non-journalists don't know what this notion means, or don't care. Let's just do away with it altogether.
CNN's response to the affair deserves some attention. In contrast to the CBS debacle last fall, CNN does seem to have attempted to make its case with bloggers (before the Big Media caught on that anything was happening) fairly early.
The chest-pounding in the blog world over this and other recent events is not the most attractive side of the blogosphere. Nobody likes the kid who brags all day in school.
But this is about something more serious than tone. Bloggers and other citizen journalists are doing increasingly valuable work.
This is a time when professionals and citizen journalists should be finding common ground, or at least listening to each other with growing respect. Instead, I fear, the gulf is growing.