February 16, 2005

THIS ARTICLE from The Australian on blogs, Eason Jordan, etc., isn't bad, but the headline -- as Reckers notes -- is probably wrong: bloggers were far more interested in seeing the Davos tape than in getting rid of Eason Jordan. But my opening quote on the media reaction is this:

"THEY'RE scared spitless," says Glenn Reynolds. "But they shouldn't be."

They are. And they shouldn't be. I just listened to the WSJ's Bret Stephens on Hugh Hewitt's show, and his basic line seemed to be that everybody screws up, so nobody should be criticized too harshly.

Well, everybody does screw up, and there's nothing unforgivable about screwing up. What's unforgivable is either deliberately misleading, as with the Rather bogus-document story, or following a screwup with denials and stonewalls as with Rather or Jordan. The defensiveness with which a lot of Big Media folks are responding to this topic suggest to me that either they're unable to imagine a swift and open correction, or that their work is even worse than we think . . . . At any rate, as I said on Charlie Rose, they could easily incorporate bloggers as unpaid fact-checkers and assistant editors, improving their product and making friends. All they need to do is get off those high horses for a while.

UPDATE: Davos insider and blogger Lance Knobel weighs in on what's going on:

Although the Forum has long claimed non-plenary sessions are off the record, this is followed far more in the breach than the observance. Much of the reporting from Davos comes out of so-called off-the-record sessions, without the journalist obtaining the consent of all involved. Further, most people recognise that it is futile to claim an event attended by more than a few people can truly be off the record. Larry Summers, when he was deputy Treasury secretary, told me in Davos that the first thing he learned in Washington was that any conversation with more than two participants would never be off the record (a lesson he has had to relearn recently). . . .

What certainly could have happened, shielding the Forum from embarrassment, was for Eason to have asked for the recording to be released. Even in more formal off-the-record situations, if the participants agree after the fact, material can move to on the record.

As several people have commented since the Eason resignation, what was on the tape must have been as bad or worse than reported. I suspect the Forum would have released the recording on Eason's request, but no such request was forthcoming because of what would have resulted.

I suspect the same thing. (Via Dave Winer). And, by the way, I should mention that I have more on the Jordan / blogs fallout over at