The Eason Jordan story continues to move into the mainstream press. This article by Glenn Garvin in the Miami Herald doesn’t add anything new, but provides by far the best account of the controversy that I have seen in the non-blog press. Garvin’s article is based on part on an interview with Rony Abovitz, a Florida native, and concludes:
The outcry over that statement, however, has been dwarfed by the response to this one.
Since Abovitz posted his original account of the panel, more than 400 other blogs have taken up the cry. They located the first corroborating witnesses, pressed the World Economic Forum to release its videotape of the panel (Forum officials initially agreed, but changed their minds earlier this week and said the panel’s ground rules prohibited any direct quotations) and taunted mainstream news organizations into covering the story.
That finally happened this week with stories in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and other papers, as well as on CNN’s rival cable news networks.
Media critic Shafer said the sheer immensity of the blog response forced the story onto newspaper front pages. ”What they were practicing was virtuous pack journalism,” he said. “Everybody thinks pack journalism is bad, but sometimes, like on 9/11, you want a pack. This was pack journalism at its best.”
This marks the second time in a few months that blogs have surfaced a major controversy over television news. Blogs were the first to accuse CBS’ 60 Minutes of using forged documents in a story last year on President Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service.
Their claims eventually forced CBS to retract the story and launch an internal investigation that cost Dan Rather his anchor job and resulted in the dismissal of five other CBS staffers.
Abovitz, for one, is impressed. He plans to start writing his own regular blog. ”The blog swarm is now percolating into mass media,” he said.
“This is a new era where you can’t just make statements anymore. There are too many eyes. The blogs are like a million little cameras and tape recorders.”