Steven Baker is Still in Denial
Bloggers object to BW commentary
Lots of traffic this morning with critiques on my BusinessWeek commentary on blogs.
A blogger who goes by the name of John Beck, for example, says that I was too easy on CNN's departed news exec, Eason Jordan. His point was that the Jordan's initial statements on the coalition military, as reported, were far more inflammatory, and that it was only later that he backed off and said that the military wasn't targeting journalists, but instead killing them by mistake.
My larger question is this: In the interest of dialogue and communication, is it OK to venture unfounded opinions about sensitive subjects--including the military--and then amend them as the facts come in? Or do public figures have to do all their homework before opening their mouth, even in supposedly closed sessions? Seems to me that freedom of expression means, occasionally, the freedom to put your foot in your mouth.
The only problem with Mr. Baker's non-explanation is that he totally refuses to accept the possibility that this wasn't an isolated "foot in mouth" incident, but an apparent pattern of deception long engaged in by Eason Jordan. Mr. Baker continues to ignore the November 2004 incident in Portugal. Mr Baker's assertion that this was an "unfounded opinion" is ingenuous. Mr. Jordan reported not once, but twice, that US Military forces were deliberately capturing, torturing, and killing journalists in Iraq. Once is a goof. Twice is a pattern.
Secondly, Mr. Jordan didn't "amend his opinion" after receiving additional information. What he did was to try to weasel out of the consequences of what he said. That, more than what he said, is probably why CNN fired him. When you stand before two members of the US Congress and deliberately state an obvious falsehood, you're being more than foolish, and it's more than just "foot in mouth" disease, but something much deeper. It's pandering to those that hate the United States, and wish to destroy it. That's the "polite" term. In truth, it's considered aiding and abetting the enemies of the United States in a time of war, which translates to treason.