Monday, February 14, 2005

Community Members weigh on the Times' story re: Eason Jordan & bloggers

Katherine Q. Seelye's technology article "Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters" appears on the front page of Monday's Business section. Kit Seelye's article in the technology section prompted many e-mails. Most, though not all, noted her distortions in the 2000 campaign.
(See previous post for link to The Daily Howler if you're unfamiliar with this topic.)

Marica: Let me get it straight, Seelye, of all people, is doing a story on how hurtful bloggers are because they've knocked out two or three journalists? That's out of bounds? That's going too far? Distorting Al Gore's record, his statements, painting him a liar, ripping him apart in the printed press and now you want to point a finger at bloggers?

[Seelye wrote the article. She researched it with Jacues Steinberg and David F. Gallagher according to the byline.]

Cedric: OH GOOD GOD! The paper wants to whine about fair and unfair? Who went after Cynthia McKinney? Wasn't it the paper? Didn't their journalist swear to Greg Palast that McKinney had made a statement McKinney never made? Didn't she swear to Palast it was in the Congressional Record when it wasn't? The paper needs to get their own sh*t together before they start going after bloggers.

Rob: Who knew blogs ran the world? Who knew they secretely controlled everything? Sounds to me like NYT is a conpiracy theorist! Bloggers didn't have the power to fire [Eason] Jordan. People in power at CNN/AOL/Time/Warner/ABC/Disney/ . . . are the ones who made the call.
Not bloggers. If this points to anything, it points to the cowardice of the media when it comes to standing up to the right wing. Where's that in the article?

Tori: I've never read Jeff Jarvis online (never even heard of him) but I'll never read him now. Who is he to tell anyone what they "should" do? He needs to take care of his own blog and stop worrying about what others are doing. I guess there's a reason - good one - that I've never heard of him, he's the type of person who says "no, you can't" and "don't do that!" He's not my grandfather, even if he wants the role.

Kelli: Here's what I find appalling about the article, we have to wait until the second page, the continued part of the story, and then way down that until we get to the fact that journalists are dying in Iraq (36 and 18 translators) and that our military is responsible for at least nine deaths. That's the story, why three reporters for the paper of record can't find it . . ."

Lloyd: "The online attack of Mr. Jordan, particularly among conservative commentators . . ."
Could someone help me out here because I don't know any liberal bloggers that had their panties in a wad over this. To me, this is one more attempt to not confront the right wing when the story is their actions. What are they so afraid of?

Ben: I love how the reporters feign surprise that the online attacks - from the right, not 'particularly among conservative commentators,' just from the right - were quickly picked up by right wing pundits. I love how the reporters pretend to never have heard of the right wing echo chamber. I don't mind the topic. I do mind that NYT wants to write this story but doesn't have the guts to. Instead they pretend to be 'even-handed.' As though Liberal Oasis was calling for Eason's head or something. This had nothing to do with the left bloggers. This was the right wing alone. But NYT is too chicken sh*t to say so.

Kara: Thank you for waiting and my apologies to the community, I did have the worst work day of my life today. I've read the piece and I think I can comment now. If Eason Jordan's remarks (that I'm not sure he made) were so shocking, then maybe The New York Times should take some of the blame. They haven't exactly been reporting on this. They pretty much buried it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the editorial board noted it a couple of times. But they haven't made this a story and no one has. If the media, including the paper, had done their job and not sugar coated everything, then maybe the public wouldn't be so shocked now. But they've been fed so many lies over and over that this probably does come as a shock to those who depend on TV news from this country and mainstream papers. So the paper needs to look to themselves. And while they're doing that, they can examine whether it was appropriate to mock the BBC's report exposing the truth about Jessica Lynch's stage-managed "rescue." My opinion is they had to know it was true. So why did they act shocked and mock the BBC? They didn't mention that in the mea culpa.

Dallas: When Dan Rather was "devoured," I'm not remember the Times rushing to his defense. I'm remembering quite the opposite. The Times doing their usual one-side says, and the other-side says, nonsense. They didn't cover the remarks of Ben Barnes. They didn't address this situation. I remember in the flare up after Michael Moore's statements about Bush, Elisabeth Bumiller went on PBS and stated that she was really surprised that this had become an issue.
That she was surprised people cared so much about Bush's military record. Maybe the paper should have been less surprised and done more work. The Associated Press did. Others did.
The Times basically reported on what others found out. Up until the CBS dust up. Then the Times reported it solely from the perspective of CBS has said and the right has said. They didn't weigh in, they didn't go after the story. So the Times can print this story about the bad bloggers on the right but they helped those bloggers by refusing to probe this story and investigate it.

Tara: I think Steve Lovelady was speaking about the bloggers on the right when he's referring to Eason Jordan. I would assume that being over CJR Daily, he'd at least read the sites silly blog reports and know where the attacks were coming from. I'm wondering if he's unaware or if the Times shaped his quotes? Regardless, if he knows Eason Jordan, he needs to say so. And probably did but the Times left it out. We're left with a strong statement about Jordan from Lovelady, but we have no clue as to how Lovelady's qualified to make remarks about what Jordan said or didn't say. Was he there when Jordan gave his speech? Does he know Jordan personally? These are issues I'm guessing he addressed when he spoke to the reporters but somehow they don't make it into the story.

Rachel: When the media wants to address Jordan's reported remarks, wake me up. Until then, I'll keep snoozing as they try to turn a very serious story into "someone lost a job." CNN's been crap for years. I don't care who runs it. I bailed when they made Judy Woodruff do cooking segments. I care about the remarks Jordan reportedly made and would like to see those explored. I'm not thinking we just lost the only thing that made CNN hard news because admist the constant Scott Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson coverage, I haven't seen news on CNN in sometime.

Erika: Allow me to put the Times on the couch. This story isn't about Eason Jordan. It's about the Ad Nag's site. It's about the blogs (such as this one) that criticize the Times. It's a self-indulgent story that attempts to make a casual link between what happened to Jordan and what's happening to them. It's criticism and they need to learn to take it. And on Jordan, coming so closely after the stir over the stereotypical gender remarks by Lawrence Summers, Jordan was foolish not to immediately respond publicly. If he was misunderstood, it should have been clarified immediately. If he did make the remarks, since the press has not reported on this very serious topic, he was being foolish if he thought his remarks wouldn't be reported on. That's all lost in this story. The Times feels under siege so they attempt to include themselves in the story by making it generic instead of dealing with the very real issues raised.

Jim (of The Third Estate Sunday Review): Is there a reason that "some" bloggers who are "questioning" are cited but the paper didn't bother to speak to any other bloggers?

Trina: I love how they try to act as though the silence on this issue of reporters being murdered in Iraq didn't allow the attacks to spring forth. If Seelye wants to focus on something, she might try focusing on why her paper hasn't made the murders front page news.

Frank in Orlando: Here's what caused the problem, and it wasn't bloggers:
Mr. Abovitz asked some of the journalists at the event [where Eason Jordan spoke] if they were going to write about Mr. Jordan's comments and concluded that they were not because journalists wanted to protect their own. There was also some confusion about whether they could, because the session was officially "off the record."
A speech to journalists is "off the record?" Why did they even agree to that ground rule? It goes against everything the press is supposed to stand for. Instead of focusing on bloggers, Seelye & com. should be looking into the ethics of those journalists at the conference.

Trisha: "The Pentagon has dismissed such theories." And that's that, is it? I'm remembering seeing a story about the family of a dead reporter that wasn't accepting that kind of dismissal. It was on Democracy Now! but I'm forgetting when. Why isn't that in this article?

[I believe the story Trisha's speaking of was aired on Democracy Now! on November 23, 2004.
It's entitled "Family of Spanish Journalist Killed by U.S. Forces in Baghdad Accuses U.S. of War Crime." Here's the intro on that story: "We speak with Javier Couso and Maribel Permuy, the brother and mother of Spanish journalist, Jose Couso, who was killed by US forces in an attack at the Palestine hotel in Baghdad on April 8th 2003. They are calling on a full investigation into whether journalists were deliberately targeted by the military. [includes rush transcript] " I agree it's strange that with all the talk of what happened to Jordan, not one reporter who died is mentioned.]

Kenny: It's more of the usual reporting from the paper that pretends to inform but just marks time and never really says anything.

Lynda: Excuse me, I'm sorry Eason Jordan lost his job, but is he really the story? Isn't the story whether or not his alleged comments are true? This is just like every other story in the paper. It pretends to deal with an issue by offering a lot of Cross Fire type comments.

Kyle: Yawn. Who would've thought even NYT could take such an important story and turn it into such a sleeping pill?

David: Just another mainstream media slam on the blog world. Instead of questing their own sins of ommission on the dead reporters, they want to turn into some sort of "where is the tact?" story. Clutch-the-pearls journalism at it's worst.

Xander: I'm sorry Mr. Jordan lost his job. I think he did make the remarks. I think he was correct. I think the New York Times should focus on digging into what happened to the reporters who are dead. This strikes me as a superficial look at a very important story.

Gore Vidal is God: Sorry to break it to everyone but the story is typical of the Times. It takes up a lot of space but in the end it says nothing. That's the Times. I admire your hope for the paper of record but think you're destined for disappointment.

???: Eason Jordan says that reporters were targeted because they were reporters and he ends up fired. You know, I heard that story. Why is the paper focusing on what happened to the reporters who died? This is a nothing article that, when we all know what happened, the paper can point to and say, "Oh we wrote about it!" But they didn't.

Woody: Sniff, sniff, you bloggers are so mean. Wah-wah-wah. Don't you know how we do it? We hide behind "sources" we know will provide the attacks we want to. Mean bloggers. You make us in the mainstream media cry. Why can't you just go away wah-wah.

Lori: Have so many words ever been used by the paper to say so little? They're afraid to deal with the right wing bloggers so they act like it was both sides going after Eason Jordan. Sloppy reporting covering up for cowardice. The paper owes me for the time it took to read that nonsense.