Funny thing….a number of my friends sent me the Daily Caller piece and the most shocking thing to them in the story was the advocacy of having government shut down Fox News. That the left wants me dead was not a big deal to them because it was nothing new to them. I think that’s hilarious.
When Dave (“Who?”) Weigel wanted to bash conservatives about Palin, he asked why we were freaking out over Joe McGinnis invading her privacy, because “any journalist” would jump at that chance.
See, that’s the problem Dave: No they wouldn’t. How do I know this? Because they haven’t. Bill Clinton’s a big, important figure to write biographies about; how come no one’s renting the apartment across the street from his wink-wink “executive offices” in Harlem and peeking at him to see who visits him?…
Not “all journalists” would do this about their subjects. Not because they don’t want to sell more books. But because the peer disapproval from their like-minded liberal colleagues discourages them from spying on Hillary Clinton.
And they do it to Palin because none of them care if Palin’s privacy is invaded; in fact, they applaud it. Because she is “The Other.” She is inhuman — and you can treat her worse than an animal.
When I was reading Peter Finn’s reporting on the Washington Post website on the CIA for my previous post, and despite this being a widely reported, straight-facts story, and despite my long-time, continuing, unstinting admiration for Peter Finn as a reporter on national security and related issues at the WaPo, I do admit that one of the first thoughts in my head was … is he a JournoLister? And if he is, do I need to somehow discount his account as being part of a pre-conceived narrative? And if so, by how much?…
So: To all you non-JournoLister reporters out there, please be aware that your credibility has just taken a big hit, because we, your faithful readers, don’t actually know who is or who isn’t. You can thank JournoList for that, you can thank Ezra Klein, and you can thank the Washington Post, which has done its outstanding professionals absolutely no favors in any of this.
The real problem with JournoList is that much of it consisted of exchanges among people who worked for institutions about how to best hijack their employers for the cause of Progressivism. Thus, the J-List discussion revealed yesterday in the Daily Caller was about how the group could get their media organizations to play down the Reverend Wright affair and help elect Barack Obama…
So here, JournoList is composed not of reporters who happen to be “Progressives,” but of Progressives who boast about how to perfect and use their capture of their employers. This is in itself institutional rot, but the more serious rot is the failure of the managers of those institutions to react to the problem. And if you search the WaPo over the past couple of days, there is nothing on the Daily Caller stories, so either management does not care or it does not read anything out of its comfort zone, such as the Daily Caller, and has not been informed by its subordinates, the former members of J-List (surprise!).
Right-of-center investigative journalism is going to have to tie up its loose ends a helluva lot tighter than this (and that) if it aims to persuade anyone from outside its camp. The real spade-work on the JournoList trove is not just fishing for a single chunk of Drudge-bait, but tying an off-the-record listserv conversation with a coordinated flurry of on-the-record commentary. Locker-room trash-talk can be fun to spy in on (in a train-wreck kind of way), but if there’s a real opinion-journalism scandal underneath any of this it will lie in attempts, concscious or unconscious, to foist political message discipline on disparate and unsuspecting audiences. This ain’t that.