Saturday, February 12, 2005

Triangle Bloggers Conference Takes Place in Chapel Hill

Triangle Bloggers Conference Takes Place in Chapel Hill

I'm thinking of many fine people I know, who are at the Triangle Blogger's Conference in Chapel Hill today.

There's a lot of Live Blogging going on right now.

My guest blogger and American Street colleague Anonymoses is there.

Yesterday, he'd invited the Charlotte Observer to send someone along to participate in the Triangle conference. It turned into an unlikely cross-blog discussion with new blogger and seasoned writer Bob Henry.

Ed Cone, who is also at the conference, mentioned it at his blog.

Surfette had some comments about the subject.
"Not when there are at least 100 television viewers for every one person who gets a ticket to the track. And that's a very conservative estimate: Last year, NASCAR claimed TV ratings higher than every major-league sport except the NFL, according to this article from Delaware's News Journal. And NASCAR won in a head-to-head competition with the Olympics for viewers in August.

Fortunately, the team behind Knight Ridder's knows it--and now the quality of their Web site shows it.."

Hope you've had a good time at the conference, y'all!

Bob Henry and other NASCAR bloggers: Welcome to Blogdom!


UPDATE: Sally Greene blogs about the conference.

Unfairly tarnished, Eason Quits

Blog-Trial: Unfairly tarnished, Eason Quits

"I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq. I have devoted my professional life to helping make CNN the most trusted and respected news outlet in the world, and I would never do anything to compromise my work or that of the thousands of talented people it is my honor to work alongside."

-- Eason Jordan LINK-ABC News

While not particularly emotional one way or the other about Jordan's actual decision, I will say that this clearly was a case of blog-thuggery and unfair tarnishing, the kind of which I had spoken earlier in the week, and for which I was soundly whipped by Jim Geraghty of the National Review.

The 'Right-wing mouth machine' would like us all to think that Eason Jordan was "bad" and "unAmerican" for saying what he said. CNN has been complicit by their reticence to talk about tough issues. They wound up to be the biggest loser. They lost Eason Jordan. Eason was guilty before being proven innocent by no other process except one: the blog-trial.

The right-wing blogs seem to be the Supreme Court of the blogging community at large.

Why should this be so?

Why are no other rational voices important?

There was never a fair hearing anywhere in the blogworld or in the mainstream media over this case. There was only conjecture and a big agenda, which was to round up enough right-wing activists in the monkey-machine to petition CNN in the hopes they'd fire a man who was branded as a devil for daring to speak out for journalists' protection in a conference most believed was, for the most part, a private panel discussion.

These were "Easongate's" aims:

The purpose of this blog from the very beginning was as follows:

· Act as a clearinghouse for information related to Mr. Jordan's recent and past statement concerning the United States military.
· Provide analysis and commentary on the developing situation.
· Advocate CNN to take real and meaningful disciplinary action against Mr. Jordan.
· Create a petition expressing the public's displeasure with Mr. Jordan's statements.
· Gather information on CNN's advertisers and make this information available to the public.

The activists at Easongate still want the tape. (So Rush Limbaugh can play it 100 times a day *sarcasm*).

Jordan's decision to resign is neither here nor there to me, personally.

I will, however, explain to you where my passion comes in.

I am proud and happy to be a political blogger.

I am free to speak about issues which I believe are crucial to the health of our democracy and no one can fire me .

They can only target me for critcism, as National Review did. I believe that's a good thing. As President Bush would say, "Bring 'em on."

Larry Kudlow claims that CNN has been trying desperately to make the story go away. He says that "bloggers are doing their duty" by calling upon CNN to talk about the issue. To an extent, I agree with him there. CNN should have aired the issue out in public and began to talk about it realistically, from 'Day One'.

However, I have been 'trying desperately' to keep this story alive, from my own point of view. The National Review wishes to delegitimize anyone in the mainstream media who will not toe the White House line like good soldiers. As defenders of freedom and truth, journalists are charged with the duty of getting to the heart and core of matters, even when it means having to have a painful national conversation about those matters. Freedom has nothing to fear from the truth. So why are we so afraid?

In this case, CNN didn't want to have that conversation, the right-wing insisted upon it, and we all have lost something precious in the process. Until mainstream media admits they are the lap dogs of the White House and right-wing, they will always lose.

The people who are calling themselves "new media" are already giving themselves "credit" for Eason Jordan's resignation. I wonder if they realize (or care) that the "credit" signifies a degradation of fairness and freedom of speech in America?

CNN failed to realize, recognize, and appreciate the power of blogs who are in lock-step league with those in the "new media" who are trying to destroy the long-accepted scope and meaning of a journalist's freedom of speech. If that's "new media", count me out.

When I see blogs being used in a way in which I believe American journalism will approach another step closer to being pure propaganda, I will say so.

I'm saying so.
- Jude


Jay Rosen has posted a comprehensive listing of links and commentary about the resignation.

At the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz quotes Jay Rosen:
Jay Rosen [said] he didn't think Jordan "had engaged in a firing offense." Bloggers "made a lot of noise" about the Jordan flap, Rosen said. "But there was basic reporting going on -- finding the people who were there, getting them to make statements, comparing one account to another -- along with accusations and conspiracy thinking and the politics of paranoia and attacks on the MSM, or mainstream media."
Rebecca MacKinnon, who worked with Jordan at one time, says in her final thoughts about the issue:
"I think Eason Jordan resigned because he knew that if the Davos tape came out it would make the situation worse, not better."

Sisyphus has said:
"The tape, and Eason Jordan, would have allowed a full airing of this issue. Pull the skeleton out, shake out the paranoia, shake hands and go back to work.
Jordan's gone. The idea remains."

*My comment- While I understand, I will comment that Easongate is still heavily pressing for the release of the tape. J'accuse: I think there are far deeper motives here than getting people to "shake hands".

Jim Geraghty at National Review Online:
"I would have preferred that the tape be released, that the public have a chance to mull over his comments, and then let Jordan face whatever consequences were appropriate. I have a feeling that the discussion of the "blogs as a lynch mob" is going to get a lot of coverage in the coming days."

*My comment: Hmmm. It sounds as if Jim is saying Right-wing activists got their wish far too soon, before maximum damage could be done to Jordan's reputation and to CNN. And now he expects that the activism, in itself, will be criticized..perhaps even seen for what it is. I hope so. If the hangman's rope fits, the ones holding it must learn how to explain it when it's still caught up in their grasp.

At Editors Weblog, they title their blogpost: Eason Jordan affair: when bloggers appear as the sons of Senator McCarthy
"Sad conclusion in the Eason Jordan affair (see below the New York Times article), sad day for the freedom of expression in America and sad day again for the future of blogging: the defense of the US army honor seemed more important to some bloggers that the defense of reporters' work! Nevertheless, there is one advantage in this story: masks are fallen! Within the honest community of bloggers, some of them claimed to be the sons of the First Amendment, they just were the sons of Senator McCarthy."
My Comment: Well-said.

Steve Lovelady, Columbia Journalism Review's CJR Daily, has written to Jay Rosen:
"The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail. (Where is Jimmy Stewart when we need him ?) This convinces me more than ever that Eason Jordan is guilty of one thing, and one thing only -- caring for the reporters he sent into battle, and haunted by the fact that not all of them came back. Like Gulliver, he was consumed by Lilliputians."'s your Jimmy Stewart. Is anyone listening? *waving*

-- Jude