Journolistes Agonistes, or The Reporters Who Didn’t Bark in the Night

| July 20, 2010 | 3 Replies

I’m pleased to see that The Daily Caller is finally living up to its hype. Today, it published a devastating story that shows how the 400-member JournoList conspired to spike the story that Barack Obama’s spiritual mentor is an America-hating bigot. For those of you who have not heard of the JournoList, let me explain. It was a invitation-only listserv run by and for journalists, bloggers, and journalism professors. It was policed by Ezra Klein, who now writes for the Washington Post, and admitted only those who hold a left-wing ideology. The story is brutal. Members of the JournoList, led by Spencer Ackerman of Wired Magazine, put their heads together to find ways to discredit conservative pundits using unfounded charges of racism, to “kill” ABC through a series of strong attacks, and to “raise the cost on the right of going after the left”.

Plenty of people will write about this today, as they should. It’s a big deal and it helps explain why the American people trust the MSM about as much as they trust a proctologist with hooks for hands. But the truly revealing part of this story is what’s not there. Dan Foster of NRO got close to the critical missing piece when he wrote:

First, a couple of caveats: little in the threads the Caller publishes rises to the level of a nefarious “mainstream media conspiracy,” as most of the journalists quoted are columnists or work for lefty opinion rags like The Nation and Mother Jones. They have no duty to report the news neutrally, and indeed would not be good at their jobs if they weren’t trying to shape the debate about Rev. Wright.

Okay. So where was the rest of the membership while this discussion went on? Why didn’t one of the supposedly objective members of the MSM try to tamp down the crazy, even a little bit? We know that JournoList has more than a few influential MSM personalities, so where were they while this was happening? Why did they remain silent? The real story here is not that a bunch of progressive hacks conspired to cover up a story detrimental to their guy but that the entire list let it happen without a serious challenge.

Look at the comment about how the list needed to “kill” ABC. Do you expect me to believe that the JournoList was completely bereft of ABC reporters? No one there thought that a concerted effort to shut down one of the big three networks might be a bad idea? No, I’m quite sure that ABC was amply represented but that its representatives were either too cowardly to speak up or thought that killing the story was worth the hit to their employer. Who were those people and why didn’t they say anything?

We need some answers to these questions and I don’t think we should take a single journalist seriously who won’t answer them.

UPDATE: Moe Lane wants a peek at the archives to see what the JournoListers were saying about the prominent conservative web site Red State.

UPDATE 2: Ed Driscoll noticed that right around the time this story was being killed on the JournoLost, CNN declared it would be a “Wright-Free Zone”.

UPDATE 3: Dan Collins says “anti-crackerism is still widespread, and the tactics are still the same”.

UPDATE 4: Ed Morrissey lightly brushed the missing piece of the puzzle at the very end of his post. The rest is worth reading , though!

UPDATE 5: Vodkapundit to the rescue!

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Category: Political Pontifications

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