Open Letter to David Shaw and the Los Angeles Times: If you can’t beat them, join them

Dear Mr. Shaw,

While your column in today’s Los Angeles Times summarizing the events that led to Eason Jordan’s “resignation” from CNN — after he failed to defend himself against allegations he supposedly made in an “off-the-record” session at Davos that rapidly snowballed the blogosphere — demonstrates your keen understanding of the mainstream media, I believe your understanding blogs falls short.

I disagree that the release of the tape or transcript of Jordan’s session was the only way Jordan’s could have saved himself. Had Jordan borrowed a page from Meg Whitman’s public relations play book and challenged the conservative bloggers directly by posting comments to their blogs, effectively engaging the blogosphere in conversation about the intention of his comments to add clarity and context to their meaning, that would have been an excellent way to transform the criticism into lively discussion and constructive debate. If CNN had it’s own blog, it also would have been a high traffic page, which in turn, means more inventory to sell to advertisers.

Perhaps his employment contract with CNN restricted him from doing so? And if so, that’s definitely a policy the MSM should consider getting rid of. If your employment agreement doesn’t restrict you from commenting on the blogosphere, let us know by responding to this post.

Either way, CNN’s P.R. Dept., which responded by posting a canned statement written in legalese just added insult to injury and made matters worse.

If Mr. Jordan had his own blog at CNN.com, he could have take the bloggers to task online. Why not suggest the Los Angeles Times hire him to blog at your site. Could you imagine the amount of attention he’d get? It might be enough to justify buying him out of him severence package. Blogs can work for the MSM as well.

Blogs are discussions, and just as in the MSM, those who refuse to comment, or worse yet ignore the conversation altogether, look as though they have something to hide.

As most public relations professionals worth their salt (and of which I am one) will tell you, “If you don’t tell your story, someone will tell it for you.”

Sincerely,

Eric Schwartzman
Schwartzman & Associates, Inc.
310-789-2460