The Vast JournoList Conspiracy

UPDATED BELOW

The vast JournoList conspiracy can be called over-heated rhetoric.

But then again, facts get in the way.

The liberal staff writer for the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz, agrees with me on the left-leaning JournoList:

To conservatives, it is a pulling back of the curtain to expose the media’s mendacity.

To liberals, it is a selective sliming based on e-mails that were supposed to remain private.

But there is no getting around the fact that some of these messages, culled from the members-only discussion group Journolist, are embarrassing. They show liberal commentators appearing to cooperate in an effort to hammer out the shrewdest talking points against the Republicans — including, in one case, a suggestion for accusing random conservatives of being racist.

Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller site, which has been dribbling out the e-mails, drew fresh reaction Thursday with a piece about Journolist members savaging Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor responded with a slam at the media’s “sick puppies,” saying she was confronted during the 2008 campaign by “hordes of Obama’s opposition researchers-slash-’reporters.’ ” But the people making the most stridently partisan comments in the invitation-only group weren’t reporters at all — they were out-of-the-closet liberals acting like, well, liberals.

Jonathan Strong of The Daily Caller puts it more bluntly:

In the hours after Sen. John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the last presidential race, members of an online forum called Journolist struggled to make sense of the pick. Many of them were liberal reporters, and in some cases their comments reflected a journalist’s instinct to figure out the meaning of a story.

But in many other exchanges, the Journolisters clearly had another, more partisan goal in mind: to formulate the most effective talking points in order to defeat Palin and McCain and help elect Barack Obama president. The tone was more campaign headquarters than newsroom.

The conversation began with a debate over how best to attack Sarah Palin. “Honestly, this pick reeks of desperation,” wrote Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation in the minutes after the news became public. “How can anyone logically argue that Sarah Pallin [sic], a one-term governor of Alaska, is qualified to be President of the United States? Train wreck, thy name is Sarah Pallin.”

Not a wise argument, responded Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. If McCain were asked about Palin’s inexperience, he could simply point to then candidate Barack Obama’s similarly thin resume. “Q: Sen. McCain, given Gov. Palin’s paltry experience, how is she qualified to be commander in chief?,” Stein asked hypothetically. “A: Well, she has much experience as the Democratic nominee.”

No, nothing to see here, there is no partisan media, please move along.

To read more of Howard Kurtz’s article click here.

To read more of Jonathan Strong’s article click here.

Update I: Brent Bozell asks the Washington Post some poignant questions:

How many Washington Post staffers were part of JournoList and, if there are any currently unnamed, who are they?

Did the Post know about JournoList when Klein was hired and that it was a “center
to left” group? If yes, what does that say about the Post’s claims of neutrality?

Did actions on JournoList violate the Post’s ethical guidelines?

Has the Post revised or added any ethical guidelines as a result of this scandal?

Will the Post permit staffers to belong to or operate such lists in the future?

Did Klein and the other Post members write to the list using company equipment and offices?

When Klein shut down the list, did he delete the list? If not, will the Post order him to release it so that readers may decide for themselves?

Read the rest here.

12 Responses to The Vast JournoList Conspiracy

  • T. Shaw says:

    William Tecumseh Sherman:
    “I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “To liberals, it is a selective sliming based on e-mails that were supposed to remain private.”

    Well, all the participants need to do is to release the archive, something they have been unwilling to do. Of course to conservatives none of this comes as a surprise: the mainstream media, by and large, is made up of men and women who tilt left and despise conservatives. None of this of course affects their coverage of news. :)

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Iowahawk has his own special take on the controversy:

    “Welcome to the Journolist Top Secret Progressive He-Man Wingnut Haters Club and L33t H4xoR Chat Room. Disclaimer: this is a private discussion forum intended solely for the benefit of JournoList members. Reproduction, transmission, redistribution, or description, in whole or in part, of any content (including, but not limited to, private insults, insider innuendo, political manifestos, hair styling tips and/or gossip) without the expressed written consent of the commissioner is strictly prohibited. Please read and agree to the User Consent Form. And, as always, remember the first rule of JournoList: there is no JournoList.”

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2010/06/ill-take-a-cashiers-check-mr-breitbart.html

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Mickey Kaus:

    “”Shut up” seems to be a favorite talking point of Journolist defenders. But I don’t think non-members need to accept their message discipline.

    Journolist was a terrible idea from the start, not so much because it enabled the promotion of “lock-steppedness” and a progressive party line across media organizations (though Salam more or less concedes that it did), or because it fostered an “us vs. them” mentality (which it also obviously did). It was a bad idea, mainly because it took a process that could have been public, democratic and transparent and gratuitously made it private, stratified and opaque. This was an odd move for “progressives” to make when confronted with the revolutionary openness of the Web. It’s as if they’d looked at our great national parks and said hey, what we really need is to carve out a private walled enclave for the well connected. Invited to a terrific party, they immediately set up a VIP room.”

    http://kaus.sitebuilder.completecampaigns.com/sbcc/blog_permalink.php?seq=1&id=732

  • Anthony says:

    I wouldn’t have problems with these sorts of revelations if they were just honest in their work.

    I make no secrets about my biases and points of view, why should they? Oh yeah, to be “objective.” Well, that was their first mistake. There’s no such thing as objective journalism.

  • mundabor says:

    One feature of modern journalists is a shameless tendency to overestimate themselves. Some of them truly believe that they can reshape people’s minds, many more pretend to believe it. Or they start barking when the Vatican issues a statement in a way they wouldn’t have done, because PR is oohhh soooo important, don’t you know……
    This is simply not the case.

    I am Italian and I can tell you that even after 17 years of shameless linkage between media, politics and business the impressive media apparatus of the most famous thief in the land could never move more than a couple of percentage points of the electorate; and this not without an immense effort and expense and losing two elections in the process.

    In the UK where I now live the amazingly leftist BBC is omnipresent and utterly ignored by the electorate in its voting decisions.
    In May the “Guardian” (and old-style socialist newspaper) tried to separate themselves from the sure loser, the Labour party and supported the Liberal Democrates; the LibDems promptly went on to lose votes and seats.

    Another big newspaper, the Sun, only support the probable winner in order to be able to say that they are the kingmaker; they are rather the king’s jester, methinks

    There are notable exceptions of course, but you get my drift.

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