Sunday, February 20, 2005

Lightning Strikes in the Blogosphere

Read the papers, and you'll think there's a menace growing in American society: the blogosphere. This fast-growing force consists of some 7 million people, all of them writing in online journals called Web logs, or blogs. When these bloggers latch onto a controversy, they can light up the Internet with angry rants -- and bring down powerful people. They did so with Dan Rather last year and now CNN's chief news executive.

Their latest victim: Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive. He resigned on Feb. 13 after conservative bloggers feasted on a controversial statement he made in late January at the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, about the U.S. military. His allegation -- that coalition soldiers in Iraq mistook journalists for enemies and killed them -- brought down a storm of criticism on him and his network.

Even as Jordan struggled to clarify his statement and affirm his support for the U.S.-led military in Iraq, conservative bloggers labeled him a traitor. The upshot? One observation uttered by a public figure in Davos' supposedly closed setting, and within two weeks the guy was toast.

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