Skip to comments.Confessions of a "Salivating Moron"
Posted on 02/16/2005 2:23:55 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
I did not realize I was a salivating moron until Steve Lovelady, Managing Editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, informed me of that fact. His full quote was even harsher. Regarding the abrupt resignation of Eason Jordan, chief news executive for CNN, Lovelady wrote about us bloggers, The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail.
I think he meant to write prevailed. His statement has become the signature quote in many publications from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal on laffaire Jordan. However inaccurate, that quote does embody the attitudes of the MSM (mainstream media) toward the new media, known as the blogosphere.
I sent a remarkably polite note to the Editor of the Review pointing out that I have 1.5 doctorates, and a long and successful career in such areas as writing, and practicing in the US Supreme Court. I suggested that Steve was an incompetent journalist for attacking an entire group without doing any homework on the people in that group -- like me, for instance.
Back came a reply from Steve that acknowledged and defended his slavering morons quote. (He prefers the slavering version, as do I. Evokes the classical mastiff-on-a-chain image. But I digress.) He said he didnt mean me. He wrote, ...believe me, for every one of you, there are 100 of them out there yammering away with mob-like glee. I do not so easily abandon my colleagues to gain the praise of a MSM journalist.
As with all movements, the blogosphere has its distinctions between those who think through and lead the efforts, and those who either join in later or cheer from the sidelines. The difference is much the same as between English footballers, who can be sent off for minor infractions, and their fans, who can be head-cracking hooligans. Separating one from the other is a matter of research on bloggers.
Although tens of thousands, if not more, participate actively, the leaders of the blogosphere number no more than a couple hundred. My experience with these people is that they are much like me. Most have graduate degrees, and are professionals. There are lawyers, engineers, teachers, doctors, and reporters among other professions. I have listed those in roughly the numbers they appear, and yes, there are reporters and editors who are members of the blogosphere.
It may be galling to Steve that some of his own have gone over to the dark side. But the reason is that some reporters still remember the purpose of their profession. The long version, which Steve has apparently forgotten, is: who, what, when, where, why and how. The short version is: get the facts right, first.
Are there crazies on the Internet? Absolutely. They come in hard right and hard left varieties, and we veterans refer to them collectively as the tin foil hats. But those people are like the football fans. WE are the players. And we are not slavering morons.
Lets touch on Steves lynch mob comment. We did not necessarily want Eason Jordan fired. It would have been far better for him, for his profession, and for CNN if he had recognized his error in accusing US soldiers of targeting journalists, apologized, and reformed his ways. But as long as Jordan thinks that is a proper remark (and remember, hes the same guy who slanted the news from Iraq so Hussein would let CNN kept its Baghdad bureau), Jordan does not belong in journalism.
The very use of the phrase lynch mob implies that we killed Jordan, and that he might have been innocent. The available facts indicate that Jordan was guilty. He apparently agreed, because he resigned to avoid embarrassment to CNN. And by the way, we STILL want to see the tape from Davos so everyone will know exactly what Jordan said. Unlike the MSM, we are in the truth business; Jordangate isnt finished yet.
How sad that the Review, the voice of Columbia and purported voice of the journalism profession, does not think the pursuit of the truth is basic to reporting.
Steves last e-mail to me explained where I could post an objection to his quote, and ended with See you around the quad. Well, Steve, I see no reason to visit your quadrangle, among journalists who view themselves as the high priests, guarding the mysteries from the hoi polloi. Instead, welcome to my quad, where all are welcome, and truth is the highest goal. I think youll find it strange at first, but try to adjust.
About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
Read and enjoy. And spread this around as you see fit.
John / Billybob
I didn't see a lot of calls for Jordan to be fired. But I do think he should have retracted his statement if he had nothing to back it up.
For me, that 'salivating moron' and 'lynch mob' bit is the culture war in a nutshell. It's outrageous that someone who manages a publication that should represent the search of truth, and unbiased objectivity -- that's what it should be, an unbiased referee, is just a left wing shill. It's no wonder I've become a cynical reactionary.
Bingo. I feel like we are playing some sort of sick game here. They lie, we catch them and then force them out. Why are they doing this? We will catch them. There are too many of us and the research is just to easy and our audience is just too vast for it to be any other way.
We would all be better off if they would just be honest in the first place.
Good stuff, John.
RELEASE THE TAPE!
>>>Read and enjoy. And spread this around as you see fit
Read. Enjoyed. And sent to email@example.com with a suggestion they read it, and discuss it on their program.
Nice work, as usual, thanks Congressman Billybob
"We did not want Jordan fired ?"
This from the man who shivered in delight at describing Jordan as "the next target of opportunity" ?
I'm grateful that you supplied me with that telling phrase, John.
It reassures me that I was correct in using the words "salivating" and "headhunters" to describe you and your like.
And feel free to quote me on that.
The more distribution this gets, the better.
So, this guru of the MSM still thinks that Eason Jordan belongs in the news business, and that we are mindless attackers trying to drive him out, just to flex our muscles.
In the vernacular, Steve just "doesn't get it." And as the MSM as it used to be, slips beneath the waves like the fatally-wounded Titanic, Lovelady will be on deck shouting to the decreasing number who take him seriously that "all is well."
As Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does." He urges maximum "distribution" of my column. Use your Rolodexes and oblige the gentleman.
If you are considered a "salavating moron", what does that make Eason?
Though much overused, in the case of the erupting war between the Blogosphere and Old Media it is appropriate: PARADIGM SHIFT (PS).
The reason this is important, John, is that one of the distinctions between a PS and other types of change is that there is always a sharp cleavage between the Old guard and the new, and ARGUMENT DOESN'T WORK because the Old never can "get it". They filter all arguments through their Old filter.
The new paradigm just grows, and the old guys just die off, and the cleavage between the two is never bridged. After their generation is gone, their resistance seems just a curiosity.
If I had bothered to respond to Steve Lovelady's e-mail about this column, I would have used the analogy of the Oracle at Delphi. Long after the beliefs of the Greek people had moved on, I'm sure the High Priests at the Temple were continuing to perform their rituals, while wondering why the people weren't coming anymore?
That is a nearly perfect description of Columbia Journalism's future in this matter. And the reason why is as you describe, that they will never get a clue. They will just be confused as the world around them changes and they become irrelevant.
Exactly so. Yet the truth is twisted once again to suit the purpose of the lamestreamers. Mr. Lovelady needs to learn the difference between quitting and getting sacked. Perhaps this was a preemptive move from Jordan in anticipation that he would eventually be fired, who knows? But it was apparently his decision. Unless he was pressured from within CNN. And that WOULD be interesting news.
Ping to Congressman BB's latest
LOL!! .. Great Cartoon
Release the tape.
Then we'll see who's lying.
If I was accused of lying and there was a videotape (which we have been assured there is), I'd insist the tape be played.
Bloggers are under attack now, as we all know, but recently FR has been pushed into the role of scapegoat.
An excelent strategic decision. VP nominee Jack Kemp abandoned his colleagues (and his constituency) to accept the praise of Al Gore (something like, "For a Republican, Jack, you aren't much of a racist") in their VP debate. In that moment he destroyed his own viability as a contender for national office. But for that failure, Kemp might be POTUS today.
Nice post. Bump
I think he should have been fired after he caved in to Saddam -- or at least demoted to the level of his competence.
The legacy media were read-only to us, essentially write-only to the "high priests."
The vast number of people with motive and (now) opportunity to blog or post on FR inevitably will include some who are more knowledgeable, on practically any given topic, than the journalists are. In the old days those who knew a given topic and were offended at the facile errors and easy assumption of superiority of the journalism were limited to writing indignant letters to the editor which the editor did not have to publish.
Now in FR and the blogs we get to compete on much more even terms with those "high priests" for the opinion of our fellows. Our "letter" can be read by the editor but also by others who read the original piece. On any given topic some, perhaps most, of those who comment may have little of substance to add to the discussion. But on any given topic some of the posters will have real substance to add to the discussion.
The net effect is that the journalist is exposed as "the man behind the curtain" rather than the huge and awe inspiring image. Many journalists find the posture of humility which this situation demands more than a little off-putting. But the more Steve Lovelady and his fellows assume a posture of superiority the more their lack of superiority will come to look like inferiority. The world is changed, and they will just have to get used to it.
That's exactly the line I take when replying to these crybabies. My closing statements:
"This is why the Old Media fear the bloggers and try to smear them - reporters are now actually being held accountable for what they write or say.
That equally applies to any blogger who hypervents or makes bogus claims. On numerous occasions the more lurid tinfoil-hatters have been shut up with the simple one-word question 'Source?'.
The Old Media is facing a Brave New World, in the better sense of the term, and are terrified."
Great column! Worthy of passing around.
I guess all that salavating gave you the shivers.
He is the managing editor of the CRJ website (known as CJR Daily), not of the CJR magazine itself. He thought I was accusing his weblog of being part of the MSM. When I noted that it was a blog, and therefore part of the "new media" though still dead wrong, IMHO, we reached an agreement to disagree.
There is a possibility that I may be invited to Columbia to debate on the "new media." Steve will recommend me, with a note that says I am solidly on the other side from everyone at Columbia.
There is no more hostile audience than a panel of appellate judges who are inclined to reject your argument. So, speaking at Columbia will be a piece of cake, as it were. If that's offered, I'll accept, do that, and report back.
John / Billybob
Jordan, at the height of his influence, needed someone whispering into his ear like a slave whispering to the conquering Roman generals of old - "You too are mortal". Since no one at CNN did it back then, we have to yell it at him now. And if he falls because of it, it is not because of our longing for his downfall but because his hubris made such an outcome inevitable. It's really that simple.
The MSM got so powerful that they felt they could shape and control the news - and that power completely clouded their judgement and separated them from reality - to where obviously false memos can still be true and the Swift Boat Vets can be declared liars without actually having to prove such. And bloggers are declared to be wild-eyed lunatics spewing lies and innuendo - when the MSM has become a parody of their description of us.
What we are basically seeing now is the lashing out of MSM tyrants who are losing their grip on power to the rabble on the street - something they must find both astonishing and humiliating, given the vastly-exaggerated sense of self-importance they have built up over the years. And like the fading tyrants of old, they will label us barbarians and savages even as our organization, technical saavy and commitment to our cause eclipses their empire and dismantles it brick by brick. So we'll still see the occasional cascade of journalistic boiling oil from the MSM ramparts - as we call in verbal JDAM strikes upon their pointy little heads.
So he rips into bloggers - from his blog - and he has impeccible MSM credentials - and is a high priest at the top MSM J-School - but isn't part of the MSM.
We'll see if the invite holds up. It's interesting that he would feel compelled to note that you are on the other side, so to speak - as if this debate was symmeterical. I see the entire information picture becoming more and more asymmetrical after the cautionary reaction to Jordan's resignation across the board from large media outlets, including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and columnists such as Kathleen Parker. The blogsphere is a threat to all of their power, not just to what we consider liberal mainstream media.
This situation is evolvoing so quickly that by the time the establishment media finally comes to grips with the old media/new media divide, that paradigm will already be obsolete and there will probably be more of a Balkanization model where media influence and power devolves into ever smaller fiefdoms, with shifting alliances and interests and a whole lotta backstabbing going down. And I can't see the Loveladys of the world being able to keep up.
And, speaking of which, you ought to invite him to this thread and see how good a swimmer he is. We'll be gentle. We promise.
Just read your repsonse. Great! Closing arguments Outstanding. It was linked from here...
Shows what he knows. I would give him far more deferance than the average FR newbie. Because I would know in advance that he was already at a disadvantage, given that he was used to telling people what to think, not proving that he has a good thought.
He has no clue about how hot and detailed the disagreements here can become, nor did he care to find out. A lack of curiosity is a poor trait for anyone in journalism.
Basically, it comes down to the fact that he can't handle the truth. And so he must label anyone speaking such as a heretic.
Keep us posted as to whether he has the guts to invite you to his new media symposium. It will give at least a preliminary indication as to whether he is serious about trying to understand the new media.
Lovelady wrote himself way out onto thin ice. The statements by Jordan were unretractable due to their spectacular shock effect, and because there was no way to brush them off as misstatements. (And he has made similar comments in the past.)
If one assumes Jordan actually believed what he said (I'm one of those), it demonstrates a bias so deep, or a delusion, as to make him unfit to run a news agency.
If one assumes Jordan was lying just to smear the troops (et al), then he is a liar, also unfit to run a news agency.
He was gone as soon as he made the statement.
MSM is upset that the story of Jordan and Davos got out. MSM wrote nothing, the tapes were held, and only an independent attendee (forget his name) put the story on the web, scooping MSM because it wanted to sit on the story.
That's why Lovelady is mad....not because Jordan destroyed himself, but because the blogs got the word out. The blogs were kind of like the ear in the forest that heard the tree fall, while MSM hoped there would be no ear so no one would be aware that the tree had fallen.
Given what blogs have accomplished lately, it's my opinion that Lovelady could be described as a "slow learner".
As Talisan observes, the paradigm has shifted. The MSM may as well be proposing "saving" Social Security by ignoring it.
Sometimes, slow learners have to be aggressive to retain their position. That happens, as here, when contrary information is right on the surface, and must be deliberately ignored. If I get a chance to debate at Columbia, I'll say exactly that to Steve.
John / Billybob
For some reason, I think "pajamadeen" will catch on more as a self-applied blogger appellation than "salivating moron"
I would take a slightly different tack with your analogy. It used to be that if a tree fell in the forest and the MSM didn't report on it, it didn't make a sound. And if you claimed you heard something, the MSM would dismiss your claim. Now, with the blogsphere, they can't do either.
John, I certainly hope that you do get an invite, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I am constantly amazed that people like Lovelady, who are in a position to not only know better but should know better, do their d@mndest to try to show off their partisanship and lack of cluefulness.
Years ago, when I first was able to get access to the internet (telnet shell account only, no WWW and no browsers), at that time I likened it to Gutenberg's invention of movable type. I could see that the 'net was going to provide the type of social sea change that Gutenberg did.
For those who are unaware of the impact of movable type on society's literacy, prior to Gutenberg the only people who could read and "owned" books were the very rich, elite who could afford to have their children tutored and educated to read and who could afford to have a "scribe" painstakingly write out/copy each and every book they wanted. There were no "mass publishers" at that time.
With the invention of movable type, Gutenberg assured that the unwashed masses could obtain and afford "books" that previously only the rich had access to. With this availability, literacy among the citizenry started climbing and eventually led the way to making the "publishing" and subsequently the "news" industry.
The internet has provided even the poorest of citizens with access to information that only a few years ago was completely hidden from them. It has only been within the last 10 years that government records, documents, databases and other public information has become available to anyone with a computer and phone line. Corporate records are more and more available online. Court documents, schedules and proceedings. And, of course, "news" reports from all over the world are at just about everyone's fingertips. And within the last year or so, "blogs" (although I hate that term!).
Yes, one must tread carefully among this ever growing field of "data" and conscientiously work to ascertain the facts from the fiction. However, just the fact that the "facts" are now available to the average citizen, where just a few short years ago they were either hidden, obscured or controlled by the rich and powerful, viz. MSM, is just society shaking. But the fact that I at least can search for and read about an obscure comment made at some high mucky muck meeting in Davos is a truly world shattering change. The sheer fact that a person like Lovelady can't see this through his myopic prejudices says volumes about not only him but CSJ, et. al.
Back many years ago when I was in college, there was a machine in the Student Union called something like "IQ Tester". You would put in a quarter and it would give you a series of multiple guess questions on a wide variety of topics- academic "Trivial Pursuit" sorta. The object was to get the highest score and getting above a certain score (winning, as such) would provide you with another turn (free) to play again. Well, this being college and we all being radical rabble rousers, we used to get a group together consisting of many different majors and fields of study. The first person who knew the answer would hit the answer button.
Needless to say, we were more often than not rated as geniuses (genii??) since the pooling of knowledge would invariably "beat" the machine.
It is the internet and places like Free Republic where there is a "pooling" of the best of the best minds, to filter, discuss and argue about both the facts and the fiction and come up with a distilled "truth". This will always be preferable to someone like Steve Lovelady, Dan Rather, Eason Jordan or whomever, to filter everything and decide for us what we should be told, or what we should "know". And it is the intractable, sclerotic minds of those people who are objecting to the fact that they are no longer the gatekeepers, the rich elite (a la pre-Gutenberg) who can control the rabble by controlling the knowledge and access to truth- and to fiction. It doesn't matter whether it is truth or fiction, as long as we are allowed to know both, to research and find out which is which.
Back in those college years, one of my favorite ploys when discussing/arguing something with others was to suddenly say, "OK, time to change sides. You argue my point, and I'll argue yours." In debate, it is commonly agreed that you should be knowledgable enough to argue either side, but few people are capable of doing so. It takes a grasp of the whole picture, and seeing the strong points and weaknesses of both sides. It was hilarious to see the other person (or persons) sitting there with the mouths hanging open, unable to function because they only knew one side - their side- of the topic and were completely incapable of seeing anything else.
Why do I get that exact picture of Steve Lovelady in my mind when I read his knee jerk responses to your comments. It is doubly shameful for him since he is supposed to be in a position which celebrates and extols the virtue of non-partisan ship, of neutrality, of lack of bias. If he is representative of the faculty and administration of the CJS - and from what I have read, he is - there really seems to be no greater hypocrites and bigots than they.
I certainly think you could hold your own in a fair debate with them, but I doubt seriously that you would find any kind of fairness there, judging from Lovelady and his ilk. I wish you the best if you go there, but don't think you'll be able to sway any minds like you would an appeals court panel. You have to remember that there has to be a mind there to sway and Lovelady, et. al., don't seem to show there is much there except brain damaged liberals who wouldn't know a "journalist" if he came up and hit them on the nose.
And that being the CJS, is all the more the shame of it.
I've enjoyed your articles and writing. Keep up the good work and good luck with your attempts in the election areas. [grin]
"There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."
John, isn't FR listed as a hate site by the Columbia School of Journalism?
Viz. the ad hominem slander and shark-jumping hyperbole of "salivating/slavering morons. . .lynch mob" writing typifying current MSM standards.
Behold CNN, cited as a megaphone for a dictator [Castro].
The network which admitted to suppressing the truth of Saddam Hussein's brutality.
The network forced to retract its scurrilous "Operation Tailwind" fiction.
Its equally foundationless "Massacre at No Gun Ri".
The shrieking fairies have retreated to their Pythonesque "quad", firing peeshooters as so manny Fauntleroys.
Target embedded journalists?
Why waste the ammunition? They are killing their own credibility.
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