Eason Jordan Resigns

Embattled CNN head Eason Jordan has resigned over his comments at Davos where he insinuated that US troops were “targeting” journalists. I haven’t been following the Jordan story as closely as I should have, but this is another example of how the relentless investigatory skills of the blogosphere has insured that information that would normally be hidden from the public eye can no longer be swept under the covers.

What Jordan said was idiotic and irresponsible, and even he seemed to have immediately tried to back away from it. However, the damage was done. Jordan had every right to say what he said, but his rights do not extend to being free of the consequences of his statements. The right of free speech does not entail the right to be free from criticism.

At the same time, I am somewhat disturbed by this affair. The meeting in which Jordan made his comments was being made under the Chatham House Rules in which comments are supposed to be anonymous. Those rules give participants the freedom to explore ideas of a controversial nature without fear of retribution. If a conservative speaker did the same thing, they will undoubtedly receive even more critical treatment.

Jordan should have resigned when he admitted that CNN covered up atrocities committed by the Hussein regime in trade for access. This comment is one of a long line of irresponsible actions, but bloggers should also be wary of their own power — when anything you say can be used against you those who speak the most are the most at risk.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Jeff Jarvis points out that had Jordan come clean from the start he might have avoided this whole mess.

It appears that honesty and full disclosure is the best policy — sad that the mainstream media still doesn’t have the self-confidence to admit its mistakes.

UPDATE: Captain Ed, who’s done an excellent job of digging for the truth has some more thoughts on the Jordan affair. There is no doubt that all the bloggers who followed this story and kept the pressure on deserve credit for their hard work. On the other hand, something about this doesn’t quite sit right with me. I can’t nor would I defend what Jordan said, but I also fear an age where comments that should be off the record suddenly come back to haunt you. The blogosphere has demonstrated its power time and time again — but as the comic-book character says, with great power comes great responsibility.

2 thoughts on “Eason Jordan Resigns

  1. As far as I can discern, the “Chatham House Rules” thing was only announced after the fact. Jordan supporter Rececca McKinnon certainly didn’t think that was the case, and she’s a pro-journalist.

  2. Jay, one aspect of this that bothers me is the likelihood that what remains of our civic dialogue in the US is rapidly being polarized by escalating attacks from both sides. I’ve been talking about it over at Winds of Change in several posts this past week.

    I was very angry at the reports of Jordan’s remarks: I am, after all, the wife of a retired military officer and the friend of a many others. Moreover, there seems to have been a pattern to Jordan on this topic, one that goes beyond the Davos panel discussion.

    So I don’t fault the blogosphere for going after him and pressuring CNN to release the videotape or otherwise to deal with their executive. OTOH, he already had been eased out of day to day control of news, so I suspect this is just a superficial move by Time Warner to ditch an executive whose usefulness to them was already waning.

    The bigger question is how we can restore or create ways to disseminate news and analysis that are credible. It’s an important part of our democratic republic and I’m not at all sure the blogosphere will fill that gap alone.

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