Did Jeff "Gannon" really have "access to classified documents that named Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative," as reported in Friday's New York Times--or does he just read the newspapers?MinuteMan raises some questions. ... P.S.: I'm trying to get up to speed on Gannongate, but I keep getting confused. If "Gannon" did get a leak of classified documents, would that make him more of a fake reporter or more of a real reporter? Wouldn't it make him Robert Novak? ... 1:26 A.M.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
First, kill all the telling details! WaPo and CNN's Howard Kurtz emails to explain why he revised his Saturday Eason Jordan piece to cut out the juiciest, most suggestive detail of the "gossip about Jordan's personal life." (See before and after.)
For the Record
I compressed that paragraph about Eason Jordan's social life, without a word o advice from anyone, for one reason. I was trying to squeeze in several interviews I had done after the first edition into my story for later editions, and given dead-tree space limitations, was literally going line by line to save room. The first-edition story was published, but I thought it important to include more voices from the blogosphere for later editions.
a) He didn't bury the lede. He removed the lede entirely due to "space limitations"! b) I take Kurtz at his word. But nobody can speak for their subconscious (otherwise it wouldn't be subconscious). That's why there are normally prophylactic rules against massive conflicts of interest. Maybe kausfiles could launch a lucrative spinoff, kurtzfiles, devoted entirely to WaPo's media critic explaining to his readers the non-corrupt reasoning behind his seemingly pro-CNN reporting decisions. [You're already there--ed Soft launch! Next issue, "A Salute to Jonathan Klein!" Tribute ads accepted.] c) You don't have to get actual 'words of advice' from someone to be influenced by them--to worry about how they will react. d) "Going line by line to save room." I used to do that! As Kurtz notes, it's a print thing. You don't have to do it in cyberspace. There's plenty of room. Which raises an issue: If Kurtz is cutting highly relevant information in order to squeeze his piece into the printed, hand-delivered version of the Post, why not at least publish the complete version on the Web? Doesn't the failure to take advantage of the Web's extra space put dead tree papers in the normally-futile position of actually suppressing a superior competitor (the full Web versions of what reporters produce)?
Update: I disagree with Instapundit, who decorously argues:
targeting parts of people's lives that don't have to do with the story -- like, say, Eason Jordan's love life -- seems inappropriate to me, and likely to lend support to the bloggers-as-lynch-mob caricature.
The problem is a) Eason Jordan's love life did have to do with the story. According to even the self-bowdlerized Kurtz it's why he lost his job--i.e. why he wasn't allowed to apologize profusely for his Davos remarks and carry on, which as Instapundit notes is otherwise a mystery;b)Jordan got into trouble, according to David Gergen, because he was "deeply distraught" over the deaths of journalists in Iraq. Why would his emotions get the better of his rationality? Mightn't it help answer the question if he's been involved with the widow of a journalist who's been killed covering the Middle East? ... I defend gossiping about people's love lives even when it's not obviously relevant to a particular story. That's a tougher case to make--Instapundit's right about the human cost of losing a private "backstage." But it's not this case. ... 12:26 P.M.
Saturday, February 12, 2005