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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Lynch Mob Continues

posted by Jazz at 2/21/2005 10:03:00 AM


This looks to be a follow-up to my previous article on "a lonely defense of the MSM." David Shaw of the LA Times has an excellent opinion piece out which explains why there is a lot more to the "lynch mob" meme than the "who... me?" conservative bloggers care to admit.
Unlike Blair, Kelley, Glass and Rather, he didn't publish or broadcast a dishonest story. He made — appears to have unintentionally made — a stupid, inflammatory statement that unfairly besmirched the honor of the U.S. armed forces. In the process, he also gave live ammunition to those who argue that the media are not only liberal but unpatriotic. He apologized and tried to explain what he'd meant, though, and that should have been the end of the story.

But bloggers appear to have achieved almost mythical power these days.

can be useful. They did a good job, for example, in bringing the Rather/CBS screw-up to public attention. But some bloggers are just self-important ranters who seem to wake up every morning convinced that the entire Free World awaits their opinions on any subject that's popped into their heads since their last fevered post.

Unfortunately, when these bloggers rise up in arms, grown men weep — and news executives cave in. That's much more alarming than anything Jordan said.
And as I pointed out in the previously linked article, and in this one, that is the bottom line. As the Times piece says, "If Jordan did say American troops target American journalists, he should be ashamed of himself. But he shouldn't have lost his job." Exactly. Even if you accept the fact that there is no such thing as "off the record" anymore with an army of "gotcha" bloggers around, Jordan never published that opinion or statement in CNN.

When you point that out to the proud hatchet weilders at Captains Quarters or their bigger, meaner brothers at Power Line, they immediately start sputtering, "But... but... but... that's not the first time he's said things like that!" I believe the exact "who... me?" quote from Power Line today is, "he "appears to overlook the fact that Mr. Eason Jordan's comments in Davos were neither unclear nor unique. Indeed, he had been making similar statements since 2002, and as recently as last November."" As I pointed out previously, the wingnuts admit that the tape was never released, and I've found three different accounts of "witnesses" in blogs who get his quotes different. Yet, Power Line speaks to it as if they have the tapes and the exact quote. The "similar statements" from before were weak examples at best, as I previously posted.

Professor Bainbridge unintentionally nails the apparently justifiable position of CNN perfectly. "I also suspect Shaw's views will eventually dominate within the MSM, rather than those of Rothenberg, albeit for a slightly different reason. Why? It is in the self-interest of journalists to believe that the blogosphere is a powerful lynch mob going after not only journalistic felons, but also those who commit misdemeanors, errors of judgment, or even innocent mistakes."

And yes, that is the point exactly. And it's what is already happening. Rather than trashing David Shaw's piece, they might try actually reading it and then holding up a mirror.