Category Archive 'Journolist'

21 Jul 2010

Ezra Klein Is No Dorothy Parker

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Roger Simon reads the Journolist emails and is appalled at the mediocrity of it all.

These quotes from a private list of soi-disant liberal journalists read like outtakes from some notebook stolen from a proto-Trotskyite home for the aged — and not one of them is faintly clever. What a bunch of fuddy-duddys. Yes, I know Strong was being selective for his own purposes, but still … these guys are writers? Hunter Thompson not. For that matter, Roger Kimball not.

But forget the paucity of imagination and style, what about the group think? These are the independent minds that seek to mold our culture and political lives? Nowhere to be found is an original thought – unless you count accusing Karl Rove of racism as a brainstorm.

Well, we have had the generation gap and tons of other gaps. Now Journolist reveals we have an “elitism gap.” Gone are the days of the Algonquin Round Table to be replaced by a cabal of humdrum mediocrities on a listservr plotting how to justify the racist ravings of a reactionary theocrat.

30 Jun 2010

The Secret Journolist Archive Revealed

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Iowahawk claims Andrew Breitbart’s $100,000 reward and defiantly skips the anonymity offer.

KEITH OLBERMANN: I can’t tell you how shocked and appalled to hear that there may have been some kind of compromising leak of off-the-record conversations from Journolist, involving David Weigel. Is this true, David?

DAVE WEIGEL: ya i guess so

KEITH OLBERMANN: I can only imagine the career damaging consequences of such a terrible breach of journalistic confidentiality! I suspect that your job at the Post is in serious jeopardy.

DAVE WEIGEL: look man can u come back later?

KEITH OLBERMANN: I’m only here to give you my help, David. Sensing your plight I asked my producers at MSNBC to offer you a recurring job as a contributor on Countdown.

DAVE WEIGEL: srsly??

KEITH OLBERMANN: Absolutely! And at the same pay. All you have to do now is tender your resignation at the Post before they have a chance to fire you, and we’ll have you on the air as soon as we can locate a makeup technician skilled in your condition.

DAVE WEIGEL: wow keith! what can i do to thnk u?

KEITH OLBERMANN: Oh, I’m sure it will all work out splendidly. I’ll drop by in my van to pick you up tomorrow at 11 pm sharp.

EZRA KLEIN: gee Keith ur really a pretty good guy after all

KEITH OLBERMANN: Don’t mention it, lads. Say, would any of you boys care to join me over at Chatroulette tonight?
SPENCER ACKERMAN has left the room
MATTHEW YGLESIAS has left the room.
ERIC ALTERMAN has left the room.
JOSH MARSHALL has left the room.
DAVE WEIGEL has left the room.
ERIC BOEHLERT has left the room.
EZRA KLEIN has left the room.

KEITH OLBERMANN: hello?

Read the whole thing.

27 Jun 2010

No Room on the Fence

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Dave Weigel, the Washington Post’s blogger in charge of covering Conservatism, resigned this week after Matt Drudge and Daily Caller leaked some of his emails from JournoList, a private listserv founded by Ezra Klein on which the left’s punditocracy compared noted and coordinated coverage.

Doctor Zero, at Hot Air, looked on with interest on the comedy following the Weigel resignation. The leftwing commentariat lamented how unfair Weigel’s ouster really was, remarked enviously what a great job he used to have, and its founder closed down Journolist.

There is little room left for neutrality in American politics these days, Doctor Zero reflects.

Weigel has spent the last few months working as an observer of the conservative movement for the Washington Post, whose readers must wonder about the identity of the vast Tea Party crowds occasionally blocking their view of the IRS building. As it turns out, Weigel really hates the people he’s been covering, and sees himself precisely the way conservatives see most dinosaur-media reporters: as a partisan operative of the Democrat Party. He expressed his hatred, and loyalties, in a series of communications posted to JournoList. These emails became an embarrassing burst of digital flatulence when they were made public. Weigel is out of a job at the Washington Post, and JournoList is gone.

Blogger Ace of Spades wonders why the Post couldn’t find a sympathetic correspondent to cover the “conservative beat,” and answers his own question by pointing out the Post has no interest in publishing material that might lead its readers to begin grooving to that conservative beat. The last thing they want is for their right-wing avatar to come back with a horde of angry natives behind him and lead a successful insurrection.

Here we cross the line between editorial decisions and bias. Why would an unbiased newspaper be afraid to honestly report news that makes one side of a political debate look appealing, instead assigning a reporter to highlight fringe material to cast them in the most negative light possible? Of course, they are biased, but it’s even worse than that. They’re subjective. They pretend to be commentators, but they’re actually players in the game… just like everyone else. Our fates are all controlled by the immense central government worshipped by the Post. They have a vested interest in ensuring its sustained growth, so they can make their fortune writing epic tales of its heroic deeds.

Big Government makes for bad journalism. As I like to point out whenever someone like David Frum gushes over “moderates,” there is no meaningful way to be moderate when a carnivorous super-State is chowing down on huge portions of the private sector, while dismissing bedrock Constitutional rights with an irritated wave of its hand. You either resist the onslaught of the State with all your might, or bear passive witness to its expansion.

At this moment in American history, there is no functional difference between a genuine “centrist” and Dave Weigel’s right-wing “ratf**kers.” If you think you should be allowed to keep your own medical insurance, and see your own doctor, you’re taking an extreme partisan stance. If you don’t think the government should be able to revoke the First Amendment or due process rights of private corporations at its convenience, you are a declared enemy of the State.

Read the whole thing.

27 Mar 2009

Exposing Journolist

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24-year-old Liberal blogger Ezra Klein founded the Journolist email listserver in February 2007 to provide a forum for leftwing bloggers, journalists, academics, and policy professional to coordinate strategy and compare notes.

About a week and a half ago (March 17th), Michael Calderone began shining an investigative light on Jlist.

“It’s sort of a chance to float ideas and kind of toss them around, back and forth, and determine if they have any value,” said New Republic associate editor Eve Fairbanks, “and get people’s input on them before you put them on a blog.”

Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts. …

Said another JLister: “I don’t know any other place where working journalists, policy wonks and academics who write about current politics and political history routinely communicate with one another.”

But, as Calderone reports, Jlist’s key feature has been its limited access and secrecy.

Time’s Joe Klein, who acknowledged being on JList and several other listservs, said in an e-mail that “they’re valuable in the way that candid conversations with colleagues and experts always are.” Defending the off-the-record rule, Klein said that “candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private.”

Mark Hemingway, at National Review, raised some ethical concerns.

[O]ne of the most valuable currencies in Washington is access to the press. The article notes that many stories have started on or been shaped by JournoList. If you’re a liberal blogger or activist, you can now push your story on the highest echelons of journalism with a quick email. If you’re a mainstream journalist, is it really ethical that you don’t give the opposing view equal access?

Finally, ripping away the veil completely, Mickey Kaus broke all the rules and served up a real, though bowdlerized, sample exchange of foul-mouthed, twittering lefties “discussing” the New Republic and its editor Martin Peretz, whose lack of enthusiasm for the Palestinian cause has left him vulnerable to accusations of racism and dark hints about his sex life.


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