THIS COLUMN BY DAVID SHAW in the Los Angeles Times adds to the bloggers-as-lynch-mob meme that a lot of Big Media folks are peddling:
Bloggers 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.
What’s funny, though, is that Shaw’s views on the Eason Jordan controversy seem to be exactly the same as those most commonly found throughout the blogosphere:
Although the official word is that Jordan’s resignation was voluntary, I have to believe that the top brass at CNN, instead of rejecting his resignation, as they should have done, gave him a not-so-gentle push toward the door to defuse the increasingly nasty controversy.
What I don’t understand is why they — and he — caved in so quickly. I wish he’d asked — begged, demanded — that the organizers of the Davos forum release the videotape of his panel. I can only assume that he said what he’s accused of saying and that he doesn’t want those remarks in the public domain, even if they were followed by his quick backtracking.
If Jordan did say American troops target American journalists, he should be ashamed of himself. But he shouldn’t have lost his job.
Well, whether he should have lost his job was always CNN’s decision, of course. But we wanted to see the tape. As I’ve noted before, bloggers wanted the tape made public more than they wanted to get rid of Jordan. CNN, on the other hand, decided it would rather be rid of Jordan than see the tape made public.
The funny thing, though, is that the herd-mentality among media executives will probably make the “bloggers as irresistible force” idea truer, as the result of pieces like this one, than it was before.
UPDATE: Prof. Bainbridge has thoughts on why Shaw’s lynch-mob meme is likely to catch on: “Blaming others for one’s misfortunes is always easier than considring whether one’s own conduct may have caused them. So I expect the MSM to go right on whining about blogs, even if those of us in the blogosphere really don’t have anywhere near the amount of influence we would like to think we possess.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Jones emails:
If the blogs are the lynch mob, and Eason Jordan was not guilty of a hanging offense, then CNN’s role is that of the cowardly sheriff who gives in to the mob. So why doesn’t the MSM investigate that? Could it be that the sheriff has something to hide?