Roger L. Simon

A Moral Issue

You won’t be surprised to know that one of the things that got through to me in my hospital room as I lay there “like a patient etherized upon a table,” (in my case it was morphinized), waiting to have my gall bladder extracted, was the defenestration of Eason Jordan by CNN. I was a little surprised that it happened that quickly. But he got what he deserved (with a golden parachute to cushion the blow, I would imagine). I will get back to that in a minute, however. First I must deal with an odd side issue.

I had to laugh that Los Angeles Times article on the event lists me with the mainstream media instead of the blogosphere, confusing me with the US News’ Roger Simon. What is particularly funny in that is that I have written for the Times frequently and am this year a judge in their Book Awards. Bad fact-checking or no fact-checking? It’s got to be one or the other. Having written for the Times, I can tell you a little more. The credit “Special to the Times” usually means the piece was written by a freelancer, not a staffer. (I’ve had that credit.) They should have checked it yet more thoroughly, but, as we all know, it is more difficult for newspapers to check facts than for blogs. The reasons are obvious too. We are more transparent with a legion of fact checkers. I also think this kind of mix-up is yet another indication of the increasingly false dichotomy between mainstream media and blogs, but that’s the subject of another post.

Back to Jordan. While off on my morphine trip, I thought about him. I had always been disturbed that he was having an affair with Danny Pearl’s widow (apparently extra-marital–I hadn’t known that). I admired Pearl so much and want my saints pure and their widows untouched. Too bad. It is hard to find sympathy for Jordan, although a great many in the “MSM” do. This is a man who was willing to overlook the evils of Saddam so that his reporters in Iraq would be safe. Or so he claimed. How about telling the truth about Saddam from the outside? Evidently he wasn’t interested in something so obvious. The people of Iraq were irrelevant to him. Only CNN and his own career, it seems. The amount of compromise that flows from a decision like that is stunning. That such a person would later want to think that US troops were “targeting” journalists is natural. It’s pure self-justification. No, I’m not going to cry for Eason Jordan. In his own way, he’s considerably worse than Dan Rather, who is more of a buffoon.