February 2, 2005

Killing the Messengers?

For those that have been following the story that evolved out of CNN's Eason Jordon's remarks at Davos the swirl of opinion and comment can be daunting. There is, by now, little doubt over what was said -- confirmed by at least two sources present -- and no little parsing of what it could mean to CNN, Jordon, and the media around the globe. But for all the numerous people who have written about this, the single most compelling voice is still that of Rony Abovitz, the man who first reported on what he saw and heard at Davos. It is often the case that when going to a particular blog you already know the tone and the take of the writer, but Abovitz is both fresh, informative, and fair. If you want a clear look at the what is at stake, see

Journalists Killed in Iraq - The Core Issues

Here are the issues as I see them:

(1) What really did happen in Iraq to both the U.S. and foreign journalists killed while trying to cover the war? The posts by the readers, in particular a few from soldiers themselves, make this question even more compelling. And what is going to happen to journalists covering Iraq going forward? How does the truth ever become fully revealed and made public? Does the U.N. need to investigate what happened? Is there a major media organization reputable enough to present accurate information on a question which by definition here involves the major media?

(2) What is the responsibility of the media, and of media chiefs in particular (such as Eason) when it comes to how the news is shaped (or not shaped) to meet the needs of their audience?  Is the news a business that needs to market to their customers what they want to hear and see, or is there a higher set of ethical and moral responsibilities that come along with the business of news? What is interesting in this case is that I do believe that the exact, objective facts are available with respect to what was said. This particular discussion at the WEF 2005 was videotaped (hopefully it is in a complete and unedited form). The debate about exactly what was said is easily resolved if an accurate transcript of the tape, or the tape itself, can be produced and made public. This kind of transparency lends itself well to global issues where subjectivity can taint any side of a topic like this. It is possible in this case that the subjectivity on one part of this issue can be removed entirely (with the complete videotape and transcript of the discussion).

If this is important to you, and it should be, you need to read his entire essay.

Posted by Vanderleun at February 2, 2005 6:21 PM
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