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Eason Jordan Update
By Ed Driscoll · February 7, 2005 10:46 AM · Oh, That Liberal Media!

Barney Frank is talking. Howard Kurtz is not. (Needless to say, Jordan isn't either.)

John Hinderaker of Power Line writes, "This story is playing out in excruciatingly slow motion, but the ending has already been written: Eason Jordan is finished."

I'll believe it when I see it--and will the fellow who replaces him be any better? Incidentally, back in December, Roger Ailes told Brian Lamb that as bad as the main CNN cable channel can be, CNNi, their international feed, which Jordan helped to launch, is much worse--almost Al Jazeera worse. Of course, that's also good for business:

Well, the best way to get distribution around the world is to be the BBC or Al Jazeera or CNNi, basically do -- if you watch it day in and day out, you can't find a whole lot good about America. Now, they have no obligation to do good stories about America, but they do have an obligation to have balance and context. And Al Jazeera simply doesn't. BBC doesn't. And CNNi is less offensive, but they don't do it much, either. And I think that context is critically important to the news.
Too bad Jordan didn't when he decided to slander American soldiers.

Update: Speaking of Al Jazeera and CNN, Jim Geraghty writes:

At stake in the memo controversy was CBS' reputation - Rather and Mapes insisted they had a huge scoop; the bloggers responded, "you're partisan, your work is shoddy, and you fell for a fourth-rate hoax."

At stake in this one is whether CNN's top guy spreads rumors about U.S. troops, speaking before an audience that included many journalists, playing to the anti-American sympathies of some members of that audience. Between the accounts of the folks in the room and his infamous similar comments elsewhere , it’s not looking good for him. To accuse soldiers of committing murder is no small thing. An executive who does so, and then can’t produce any evidence, turns his major international news network into…

…well, al-Jazeera in English.

Propoganda and accusations, not facts. I know Jordan didn’t make his comments while broadcasting on CNN – in a way, that’s even more insidious. If you say something on camera, you can’t deny it – the record is right there in living color. Based on his overlooked comments from earlier, coupled with this “nevermind, the session was off the record” comments here, it appears – I emphasize appears, because theoretically the videotape could exonerate him – Jordan wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to make the accusation (and get the resulting praise for his “courage” from critics of America in the audience) without facing the resulting outrage from U.S. lawmakers and his American audience.

That's really nothing new for CNN, actually.

Update: Not surprisingly, others are also thinking of Jordan and CNNi. Gerard Vanderleun writes that "The CNN you watch in Amsterdam is not the same CNN you see in Los Angeles":

This makes good business sense since an all-American CNN (If you can imagine such a thing.) is not likely to score high-ratings in Europe, Asia, or the Middle-East. Indeed, the only hard and accurate American news that viewers need in these areas need from CNN is carried in the NYSE stock-ticker crawl.

It's wise to bear this in mind when watching how the Eason Jordan incident plays out over the next few weeks. This isn't an All-American Bloggers Vs. MSM playoff for the Presidency. This is a Global Reach Super-Bowl.

At stake is not whether CNN has the power to influence American elections and foreign policy. That has, to some extent, been settled last November. The issue now is whether or not Eason Jordan's CNN will continue to have the power to influence the foreign policy of other nations, and their reactions to the policies of the United States and the shape of the operations of the United States military. This power CNN clearly possesses and wishes to hang onto. This "global reach" is, as Eason Jordan understands, the real CNN powerbase and revenue stream. This is the cohort that Jordan, characterized elsewhere as a "diplomat" as much as businessman, needs to soothe and placate and play to. And, if the reports of the reaction to his Davos talk last week are to be credited, he is being very successful. As a result, his position as head of CNN must be maintained by CNN at all costs. There's going to be no resignation here. It would simply be too costly to CNN in terms of Jordan's connections and standing with CNN countries outside the US proper.

In terms of American viewership, CNN took it in the shorts from Fox News after Jordan's "The News We Kept To Ourselves" mea culpa ran in mid-2003. If CNN keeps him on after this latest outrage, they seem to be signalling that they're willing to write off American ratings in order to secure the rest of the world's viewers by offering them news that appeals to foreign viewers. Even if that news actually distorts the truth about the country its broadcasts originate from.



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