Thursday, February 17, 2005


Eason Jordan, meet Judge Roy Bean

So Eason Jordan is gone, and on the balance sheet that’s a plus. Based on the long history of irresponsible remarks and comments that have come to light, it’s pretty clear that the guy was a jerk, and a card-carrying member of the “hate America, blame America” crowd. It’s also pretty clear that he was willing to pander to the America haters overseas to maintain CNN’s access and position.

BUT…I’m really not sure what to make of the behavior of the blogosphere on this one.

Hey, “dogpile on Dan Rather” was loads of fun to watch, and Rather richly deserved what he got, and more…the duplicitous old cretin should have been fired outright. He’s not some talking head reporter reading the script he’s handed, he’s the managing editor, and that should mean he’s responsible for the content. With power comes responsibility. Or at least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

But as I watched the Jordan affair unfold, I didn’t have that same gleeful sense of watching somebody ask for it, even beg for it, and then get it. Instead, I had this kind of uneasy feeling that I was watching the old Karloff classic version of “Frankenstein.” You know, that part where the torch wielding villagers form a mob and go hunting the monster. I wasn’t sure why I felt that way, but I did.

Finally it dawned on me. Rather’s forged documents were right there, up front, in black and white and Times New Roman for all to see. The experts warned CBS, yet they went ahead. And when the fraud was quickly exposed, Rather lied repeatedly. About authentication, about sources, about everything. And kept lying. And everybody knew it.

But the Jordan affair was different, and here’s why: the stupid remarks were reported, and out came the villagers with their torches, calling for his head. Unfortunately, that was putting the cart before the horse, because what the angry mob should have been after was the truth…and the tape. Within a few days it was known that a tape existed. While a few bloggers called for the release of the tape, most were already caught up in demanding the release of Jordan from his employment. No presumption of innocence here. Just “let’s get him.”

Now, the fact that Jordan resigned without himself ever calling for the release of the tape is pretty good circumstantial evidence that he knew what was on the tape, and it wasn’t gonna be good for him. But that’s hindsight. I hate to say it, but the MSM is real close to right about this being a witch hunt.

With power comes responsibility. Or at least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Some members of the blogosphere , caught up in “the Pajamahadeen Ride Again”, may have lost sight of that principle. And of that famous principle of frontier justice, often attributed to the infamous "Judge" Roy Bean: “First we’ll give you a fair trial. Then we’ll hang you.”

Next time, we should have the trial before the hanging.

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