Patterico's Pontifications

2/14/2005

L.A. Times: Clueless About the History of Eason Jordan

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:55 pm

I’m falling asleep on the job, folks. The L.A. Times story on Eason Jordan’s resignation had this absurd paragraph:

While at CNN, Jordan also had provoked many activists and critics in an April 2003 opinion piece in the New York Times. Jordan asserted that he sometimes could not allow his network to report all it had learned during the intense early days of combat in Iraq, for fear that releasing certain confidential information would put lives in jeopardy.

Ha! Power Line reports that alert L.A. Times reader Diana Magrann wrote the “Readers’ Representative” to suggest a more accurate version of reality:

In April 2003, Jordan admitted in a New York Times opinion piece that CNN had withheld knowledge of numerous instances of Saddam’s brutality in order to maintain access.

Given the paper’s past demonstrated inability to correctly interpret op-ed pieces, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the “Readers’ Representative” is recommending a correction. Thanks to Ms. Magrann for keeping the paper honest. She can guest-blog here any time. (Thanks to Xrlq for the pointer to the Power Line post.)

UPDATE: The correction, which also touches on the mistake in referring to a link to Roger L. Simon, is technically accurate but ridiculously devoid of content:

CNN resignation — An article Saturday in Section A about the resignation of Eason Jordan, CNN’s vice president and chief news executive, said that a website called Easongate.com offered a clearinghouse of criticism related to Jordan’s statements about journalists killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, including a link to “mainstream columnists such as Roger L. Simon.” In fact, one link is to a website and blog by Roger L. Simon, a mystery writer and screenwriter, not Roger Simon, the columnist for U.S. News & World Report. The article also said that in an April 2003 opinion piece in the New York Times, Jordan wrote that he did not allow his network to report all it had learned “during the intense early days of combat in Iraq, for fear that releasing certain confidential information would put lives in jeopardy.” Jordan’s essay was about his network’s coverage in the years preceding the war as well as in the early days of the war.

Instead of the bolded language, what was wrong with Diana Magrann’s language? This way, even with the correction, L.A. Times readers never learn about the scandal of Jordan’s decision to cover up Saddam’s brutality in order to keep a CNN bureau in Baghdad. That can’t be the right way to handle this correction.

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link, and welcome to her readers. If you wish to bookmark the site, here is a link to the main page.

UPDATE x2: If you look at Jordan’s op-ed itself, there is only one incident described there that even arguably could have occurred after the war began. The vast majority of the incidents he described occurred well before the beginning of the current war.

More Reflections on Eason Jordan

Filed under: General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 10:11 pm

Like Jay Rosen, I am not particularly happy that Eason Jordan resigned over his Davos comments.

Jay is unhappy because he believes that “it is an outcome unjust on its face, based on what I know.”

I am unhappy for a similar but not identical reason, which Jay also expresses in his post:

Neither the public overlooking this sad event, nor the participants in it know why Eason Jordan quit. No reasons have been given, beyond saving CNN the trouble of a controversy.

In other words, we don’t know the truth.

Journalism — and the blogosphere — are supposed to be about the truth. And I don’t know what the truth is about Jordan’s comments. There are too many conflicting reports.

The fact that there apparently exists a tape that could settle this whole controversy — and the fact that we are unlikely to see it — should frustrate anyone interested in the truth.

I join the chorus of those who caution against gathering scalps in the absence of a revelation that justifies it. I don’t know if we have such a revelation yet. As Glenn Reynolds said on Friday (and I agreed), Jordan’s resignation certainly suggests that the tape would provide such a revelation. But, upon further reflection, I must admit that this is only an educated guess — one which may be wrong. We just don’t know. And we should.

So I’m not satisfied. And I won’t be until we know the truth.

One Million Page Views

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:44 pm

I never really pay attention to page views as a statistic, but I couldn’t help but notice that the blog passed one million page views today. Pretty cool.

Of course, to a popular blogger like Instapundit, who gets over a million page views a week, this relatively unimpressive statistic is reminiscent of when Dr. Evil says: “I demand the sum . . . OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”

Blog Design

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:38 pm

One Fine Jay is working on the design of the site. He is still planning to make changes, but we’re taking this design for a spin. Let me know what you think. I’m especially interested in hearing about any problems with loading the page.

Great Piece on Black “Leaders”

Filed under: General,Race — Patterico @ 7:37 am

There’s a fantastic article in yesterday’s L.A. Times about the increasing irrelevance of black civil-rights “leaders.”

NPR Piece on “Outside the Tent”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:09 am

David Folkenflik at NPR.org has a piece on the L.A. Times “Outside the Tent” feature.

Which reminds me: before Harry Shearer gets upset at me again for stealing the term “Dog Trainer,” allow me to point out once again that he is the guy who came up with that name for the L.A. Times. Heck, I hardly use it any more, anyway.

The NPR piece also reminds me of my biggest disappointment in my piece that ran yesterday: not enough humor. As in: none at all.

Some earlier drafts included, well, attempts at humor. But they didn’t always go over well with the people who read them [UPDATE: so it’s clear, I’m talking about my friends who read early drafts, not L.A. Times editors]. For example, an early version of the piece said:

If The Times’ news coverage is any indication, the newsroom at The Times is packed to the gills with folks who lean left politically. (Many Times editors and reporters would probably admit this — after a few beers.)

Okay, I didn’t say anyone was going to be splitting their sides. All I’m trying to say is that some portions of some of the earlier drafts had a lighter touch. If I have any regret about the way the piece turned out, it’s that none of that survived.

Or should that instead be my biggest relief? You be the judge. . .


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