Monday, January 22, 2007

We have met the enemy and he is us

You've heard the cable news mantra, "all the news all the time", but what about "all the news on Iraq all the time"? The Observer looks at Eason Jordan's new startup, the Iraq Slogger.

In the clash between media culture and media counterculture, Mr. Jordan suddenly looked like Patty Hearst. His 23-year CNN career was over; his 18-year marriage ended in divorce. After a lifetime in Georgia, he relocated to New York, to a roomy loft in Soho—with maps of Baghdad, Mosul and Tikrit on the wall inside the entrance. And he was blogging. When a Reporters Without Borders representative said it was "idiotic" to blame sectarian violence on the media, Mr. Jordan wrote that the spokesperson was "dead wrong," and that some Iraqi outlets "explicitly incite violence."

IraqSlogger combines media analysis with original reporting, drawing on a small team of reporters in the U.S. and a network of Iraqi sources. "It was clear from my own time in Iraq—and I've been there 16 times—that while there's no shortage of people with guns, there is a shortage of information that is reliable and timely," Mr. Jordan said.

The mainstream media -- in its old form -- has already surrendered. And beating that old image is like firing an artillery concentration on an abandoned position. It's dead already. Once there was the expectation that the blogosphere would rival the MSM. But what happens when the MSM acquires some of the characteristics, indeed becomes functionally indistinguishable, from parts of the blogosphere? Then, as I have argued in the past, the difference becomes largely meaningless and it all comes down to the business model and the information architecture. I'm not certain that Eason Jordan's Iraq Slogger will become "the model", but its a fair bet that it represents a migratory trend away from the traditional system. During a recently concluded conference in Israel which I attended, a lot of ideas were thrown up about ways to combat the Jihad's information war. One answer was to let the private sector do it. The information landscape is changing, probably forever. And the cast of characters in the information war is changing too. The challenge now is to find ways to identify the most effective models and to finance them -- just like one would on any other business. And that will probably happen on both sides of the war.


Blogger plainslow said...

If he reports from the Green Zone, I'll go right to Michael Yon. If not, I'll listen.

1/22/2007 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Skubinna said...

It really shouldn't be necessarry to rehash Jordan's credibility issues, from his admitting he was in Saddam's hip pocket to his baseless accusations that coalition troops were deliberately targeting journalists.

And I see that nonetheless I have done so. Oh well.

The question remains, why should Jordan have any credibility at all outside the MSM? He's still one of theirs, however much he pretends the past is gone and he's a fresh start.

1/22/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

In Desert Storm, we heard that the traditional media was mightily upset over the fact that they could not report on the war properly. The first month was all airstrikes, and seeing that first hand was either impossible or impossibly terrifying. Then came the 100 hours of ground combat, which was over before the reporters could put down their coffee cups.

This in turn led to some true absurdities. Such as the "accusation" that most US bombs were not TV precision guided. (Well, duh, only the precision guided ones had TV cameras showing where they hit, so that is all we provided to the press). Such as the "horrid discovery" that the US had put bulldozer blades on their tanks and simply buried the Iraqi troops in their trenches at high speed (Well, double duh, did you ever see John Wayne in "Fighting Seabees"?) Or that when a bunch of aircraft attack a massed pack of vehicles it makes a really big mess. (Triple duh, did you ever hear of the Falaise Gap in Normandy? Now there was a mess!)

I am afraid that technology alone outstripped the Media's ability to report on wars. Their own ignorance and attitudes did the rest.

1/22/2007 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

I do not think that financing will be required for what we need, especially. No more so than did the great luminaries of the past, ancient and modern, required a business model to alter the world with their divine ideas. I think it will be, in all likelihood, done by people such as yourself, who are not in this for the money, and to whom money would rightly seem a paltry reason to engage against the darkness.

There's something fundamental going on in the Information War, as far as I can tell, and it has a great deal to do with a pent up desire for honest dealings among men. This yearning is of the Spirit, and no amount of money can command it into existence or rally it. It must come by the natural will of those who are strong, knowledgeable and wise enough to speak the truth, and inspire our sense of mutual respect, love and duty to one another, and our posterity. When this happens then money will not be at issue, nor will a business model be required.

So it seems to me.

And furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed.

1/22/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/23/2007 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wretchard writes:

"The mainstream media -- in its old form -- has already surrendered."

Maybe a bit premature. They were able to drag their political party back into power in the U.S. -- not without considerable help from their hapless oponents, of course.

Now they are convinced they will anoint the next President. When the Democrats are in power, the unaccountable 'nomenklatura' which is the media is also in power.

The presumed Democrat front runners are creatures of media promotion, selected not only for their fidelity to the media's leftist agenda, but also for their likely malleability in the face of media bullying.

Were it not for her marriage to the Left's beloved slacker, we wouldn't be hearing much about a humorless scold like Hillary Clinton.

And in a strange inversion of the Left's professed color-blindness, were it not for Senator Obama's (half) skin color we'd be hearing even less about such a greenhorn.

These aren't presidential candidates. They're ideological fashion statements, style-over-substance gestures of 'progressive' bona fides, unserious lightweights for an increasingly unserious lightweight popular culture.

And they are perilously close to the Oval office, thanks entirely to a not-yet-quite-surrendered Old Media.

1/23/2007 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

Since when did it become newsworthy when muslims slaughter other muslims? The fact that it IS newsworthy betrays a willfully stupid, utter disregard for history.

The really REMARKABLE story is anywhere Muslims aren't killing each other, which is only where they are in a vice-like control system operated by non-muslims.

My guess is that insofar as muslims exist in the Middle East, the arabs and muslims who are Israeli citizens are the only ones who refrain from killing muslims and non-muslims on a wholesale basis.

1/23/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Cosmo said...

"They were able to drag their political party back into power in the U.S.... Now they are convinced they will anoint the next President.... The presumed Democrat front runners are creatures of media promotion, selected not only for their fidelity to the media's leftist agenda, but also for their likely malleability in the face of media bullying."

Cosmo has got it right. It's political hardball enabled through infotainment. It's unacceptable that such people are controlling our government from behind the scenes.

1/23/2007 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> We have met the enemy and he is us

That is sadly true. Al Qaeda ends up speaking to the American people more than our President.

Your postings have very clearly pointed out the importance of the information war. Our enemies, both in overseas and in the US, make propaganda a top priority. In fact actions like suicide bombings in shopping malls have little military impact, but are done for use in the information war.

I have no doubt that history will look at the Bush Administration's refusal to fight the information war as its biggest failure in the war on terror.

1/23/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wu: Good points.

And despite the statements of our enemies that manipulation of Western media and public opinion is an essential part of their strategy to drive the U.S. out of Iraq, despite in-theatre pyrotechnics designed not for military objective but for television cameras, and despite repeated instances of media bamboozlement by enemy propaganda operatives . . .

. . . despite all of this, the same folks who are always so concerned about 'sending the right message' with every word and gesture we make insist that things like Congressional resolutions against the troop surge have absolutely no impact on our enemies, troop morale or public opinion.

No news could be better in a fight than learning that an enemy has fallen into factional fighting about whether or not victory is possible. That would certainly hearten and encourage ME!

1/23/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Egfrow said...

I don't get it. Isn't this the man that last year claimed that the US Military was intentionally targeting Journalists?

Why the change of heart? (EEE)= Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Bloggers beware!

1/24/2007 02:24:00 AM  

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