I have been thinking a bit about Gerard Van Der Leun’s post of yesterday analyzing the mainstream media’s silence over the Eason Jordan Affair. Hugh Hewitt is skeptical of Gerard’s reasoning. I am not, but I would phrase it differently.
Although they will not readily admit it, much of mainstream media is terrified of the blogosphere. They have cause. Two of their crown jewels, the New York Times and CBS News, have been badly wounded by blogs, the latter with a seriousness that may have inflicted permanent damage. Their most prominent house organs like the Columbia Journalism Review have been shown to be almost absurdly unprofessional in their defense.
Now we have the Jordan Affair which on the face of it has the potential to be even more damaging. The news director of CNN is accused of making false statements which border on the seditious in an international public forum. If it can proven that he actually made these statements and that he is unable to prove their veracity, the results could be catastrophic for CNN, at least domestically. (I am not going to speculate here on the workings of Jordan’s unconscious, but he is indeed a strange man.)
The blogosphere is effectively being stonewalled, because, so far, the blogosphere has won its duels with mainstream media. They have accused us of being fast and loose with the facts, but it is they who have had to back down. What is at stake here is great – money, jobs, power – and they know it.
UPDATE: The BBC’s Richard Sambrook, also a panelist at Davos, has replied to Jay Rosen on this question. Unfortunately, however, the BBC’s reputation is now so tarnished that it is difficult to take his comments at face value. Meanwhile, Barney Frank is sticking to his guns.
MORE: Continued indication of a “stonewall” posture here.