Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Internet as Blabbermouth

Is the downfall of CNN's Eason Jordan after a blogger reported his off-the-record remarks a sign that the blogosphere is surpassing the mainstream media?

On Forumblog.org, the World Economic Forum weblog, there is a link to a site called Ohmynews, "where every citizen is a reporter." Rony Abovitz is one of those citizens. The 34-year-old co-founder of Z-KAT, a medical technology company in Hollywood, Fla., had never written a story in the mainstream press when Forumblog asked him to write his first-ever blog from Davos, Switzerland. And now a story he posted online two weeks ago has claimed one of the most senior scalps in U.S. journalism, prompting praise from right-wing bloggers and sparking a debate about the power of the blogosphere over the mainstream media.

Abovitz attended an off-the-record panel in Davos on Jan. 28 addressed by, among others, CNN's chief news executive, Eason Jordan, that was filmed. During the discussion, Jordan reportedly claimed that he knew of 12 journalists in Iraq whom the U.S. military had deliberately targeted and killed. The Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, who was also on the panel, asked him if CNN had reported this. Jordan said no. Abovitz asked him if he had any objective and clear evidence to back up these claims because "if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park." Jordan appeared to backtrack. The debate continued and then moved on.

By Gary Younge, Salon.com

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