Eason Jordan quits

Eason Jordan quits

: Eason Jordan resigns CNN. And I honestly don’t get it. If he had been upfront about what he said from the start; if he had demanded that Davos release the tape and transcript; if he had admitted to putting his foot in his mouth and apologized and said he was wrong; if he’d done that, he’d still have a job. For a lesson, see: Dan Rather. But he released obfuscating statements and didn’t level with the public he’s supposed to serve and now he’s slinking away like a criminal when he should be apologizing for saying something stupid. Pride goeth with the fall:

CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit Friday amid a furor over remarks he made in Switzerland last month about journalists killed by the U.S. military in Iraq. Jordan said he was quitting to avoid CNN being “unfairly tarnished” by the controversy….

“I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise,” Jordan said in a memo to fellow staff members at CNN.

But the damage had been done, compounded by the fact that no transcript of his actual remarks has turned up. There was an online petition calling on CNN to find a transcript, and fire Jordan if he said the military had intentionally killed journalists….

“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,” Jordan said….

He could have called his muckety-buddies at Davos and gotten the tape and released a transcript and admitted his error and apologized for it. But he didn’t. I repeat: I don’t get it. Could it be that he watched the tape and saw that it was a killer? But how could it have been worse than what was reported already?

Or could it be that this was a final straw with his bosses, who said that he’d marched on his tongue once too often? If that is the case, then the bosses sure took a long time to decide that.

Oh, yeah, I used to work at Time Warner. They do take a long time to decide anything. It’s not easy getting task forces to meet.

Here’s what has always amazed me about my business: News people, who are used by PR people, are the worst at figuring out their own PR.

: Jay Rosen has Jordan’s statement.

While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the U.S. military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that U.S. military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been.

I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise. I have great admiration and respect for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, with whom I have worked closely and been embedded in Baghdad, Tikrit, and Mosul, in addition to my time with American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Arabian Gulf.

: Here’s NZ Bear’s Eason roundup.

: Lucianne says: “High tens to the Pajamahadeen – Let the revolution begin”

: At 8:20p I still can’t find the story on CNN.com.

: UPDATE: CNN has the story up. Says it went up at 8:19; missed each other by a minute.

: On the air at 10:08p, CNN reports on l’affaire Gannon. I don’t hear anything about l’affaire Jordan.

: I’ll repeat what I said a few days ago: This is about the speed of news in a world of citizen publishers (which means you can’t wait almost two weeks to respond to citizens’ questions and demands) and about the gatekeepers losing their gates (and their control) and about the death of off-the-record (when anybody who hears you can publish to the world).

: Sisyphus is baffled.

: The delicious tags feed on Jordan.

More from La Shawn Barber.

: Kaus adds:

P.S.: It should also be noted that the controversy was kept alive not just by blogs, but by the refusal of a relatively liberal Democrat, Barney Frank, to sweep it under the rug in gentlemanly fashion. …

: Mark at Decision ’08 predicts what some will say about blogs tomorrow:

No, this one is different. This time it was the bloggers, and the bloggers alone, that pushed this man out. That will be heady stuff for some; it will scare the pants off of others…but what does it mean, really? Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards with no oversight, no editors, and no accountability? Or does it mean that we’ve entered a brave new world where the MSM has become irrelevant?

I would argue that neither of those extremes is the case. What has been shown, though, is that the mass media, mainstream media, MSM, whatever you want to call it, is being held to account as never before by the strong force of individual citizens who won’t settle for sloppy research and inflammatory comments without foundation, particularly from those with a wide national reach, such as Rather and Eason….

: What’s the goal of these hunts? To get people fired? Or to get to the truth? I’d like to think it is the latter. If Dan Rather had come out the day after his report and said, “Thank you,” to the bloggers and sought the truth, many would have still been suspicious and critical, but I think his tale would have a different ending. If Jordan had left a comment on the Davos blog as soon as the post went up and said, “Man, I misspoke and didn’t mean to say that and I was wrong,” people would still be pissed, but I think his tale would have a different ending. If “Jeff Gannon” had fessed up immediately, he wouldn’t have had a different ending — he’d be out of the press club — but he wouldn’t be whining about being “harrassed.”

Take a lesson from Bill Moyers, who messed up and correctd himself and apologized like a man (and a journalist). I’m not Moyers’ biggest fan but you have to say that he put the truth ahead of his stubborness.

Learn this lesson well: The speed of news has changed and so has the speed of scandal. You can’t wait and hope something will go away. Today, that’s tantamount to a coverup. Dan Rather: Remember Dick Nixon?

Citizens’ media has turn down the stonewall.

: Oh, yes, and before we forget… Davos: Release the tape! You, too, can’t stonewall or your little club will become known as the place where the powerful can try to lie.

: NEXT MORNING UPDATE: Joe Gandelman has one of his patented roundups.

: Rebecca MacKinnon worries:

The point is, there are clearly some real tensions and disagreements about what’s been taking place on the ground in Iraq – and why. As a member of the audience during the now-infamous panel, one thing was very clear to me: bad feeling between U.S. servicepeople and journalists in Iraq is coloring news coverage. No matter where you stand on the war or anything else, you have to recognize that nobody is served by letting this bad feeling fester, supported by much rumor and few facts.