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July 26, 2010

Another JournoList Leak;
Plus: Jim Treacher: Every Day I Wake From Cold-Sweat White-Knuckle Nightmares Over Fear Of This Walking Armageddon

Really good Daily Caller hit on JournoList, in which message coordination in order to attack Sarah Palin is explicitly suggested. (Link Fixed!)

In fairness, Ezra Klein claims that they aren't in the business of message coordination, but with all this coordination going on, his statement reads as pro forma CYA to me.

Luke Mitchell, then a senior editor at Harper’s magazine, asked Tomasky if his paper would be able to help: “Michael – Isn’t this something that can be fanned a bit by, say, the Guardian?”

Tomasky didn’t think it would work....

Mitchell replied: “Fair enough! But it seems to me that a concerted effort on the part of the left partisan press could be useful. Why geld ourselves? A lot of the people on this list work for organizations that are far more influential than, say, the Washington Times.

“Open question: Would it be a good use of this list to co-ordinate a message of the week along the lines of the GOP? Or is that too loathsome? It certainly sounds loathsome. But so does losing!”

...

While other members of the group debated whether to coordinate a pro-Obama message – or, more precisely, whether to concede that such a message was being coordinated — Todd Gitlin of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism had already made up his mind. Gitlin, whose job is to train the next generation of America’s most elite journalists, wrote this impassioned plea on behalf of the Obama campaign:

“On the question of liberals coordinating, what the hell’s wrong with some critical mass of liberal bloggers & journalists saying the following among themselves:

“McCain lies about his maverick status. Routinely, cavalierly, cynically. Palin lies about her maverick status. Ditto, ditto, ditto. McCain has a wretched temperament. McCain is a warmonger. Palin belongs to a crackpot church and feels warmly about a crackpot party that trashes America.

“Repeat after me:

“McCain lies about his maverick status. Routinely, cavalierly, cynically. Palin lies about her maverick status. Ditto, ditto, ditto. McCain has a wretched temperament. McCain is a warmonger. Palin belongs to a crackpot church and feels warmly about a crackpot party that trashes America.

“These people are cynical. These people are taking you for a ride. These people are fakes. These people love Bush.

“Again. And again. Vary the details. There are plenty. Somebody on the ‘list posted a strong list of McCain lies earlier today. Hammer it. Philosophize, as Nietzsche said, with a hammer.

“I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not waiting for any coordination. Get on with it!”

And so they did.

Repeat after me.

Repeat after me.

Repeat after me.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

The keep claiming they're envious of the "message discipline on the right."

Really?

Repeat after me: You've forgotten more about message discipline than we've ever known.

But as Gitlin suggests, did they really need coordination to do what they were all going to wink-wink do anyway?

This is an interesting piece on JournoList (though rich with nuance, which isn't always appreciated):

The juicy bits from the JournoList archive, exhumed and disseminated through the (conservative) Daily Caller website, show leading mainstream U.S. journalists discussing things like how to trash and smear Sarah Palin most effectively, in the moments after John McCain selected her as his running mate. Or, how to distract America from the scandal of Barack Obama's long and intimate affiliation with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, when that story hit the fan.

It is interesting that the major themes of mainstream journalistic reporting exactly repeated those thrashed out on JournoList, beforehand -- where it was taken for granted that the journalists' purpose was to get Obama elected, by performing services as an informal "detachment" of the Obama campaign. It looks for all the world like a carefully-organized conspiracy.

And yet it isn't. As Joe Klein, of Time magazine -- prominent both as journalist and on JournoList -- hath protested, he didn't need any strategy sessions in e-mail to decide how to attack Palin; he could "easily" have selected all the angles, by himself. And I do not doubt for a moment that he is telling the truth.

It was his word "easily" that I found most significant. I could myself, in advance, "easily" have guessed from which angles Joe Klein would attack Sarah Palin, and will, as he promises, continue to attack her. The dogs in Pavlov's experiment did not "conspire" to salivate.

I think that's about right -- it's hard to say it's a classic conspiracy, exactly, when every individual involved intended to commit the same crimes regardless of whether he was asked to participate.

There is a conspiracy of a kind, here, though: One of such full and complete infiltration of important institutions by determined, lockstep partisans that without even needing a JournoList or any other formal group-messaging mechanism, the institutions' stated missions are subverted and a new mission is created.

That couldn't happen if there were greater ideological diversity in the media (or academy, or in NGOs, or etc.) But with the partisan transnational progressives having achieved 90% dominance in these institutions, they do in fact have the power to change a mission -- from academic excellence to political indoctrination; from a disinterested and accurate reportage to DNC blast-fax dissemination.

They don't need to conspire to do this, per se: They need only overlook their actual ethical and professional duties so that their personal passions become, de facto, the institutional mission.

The conspiracy comes in when no one among them is permitted to challenge this subversion of mission without experiencing career setback. A conspiracy of arrogance, then, with a conspiracy of cowardice, too.


Meanwhile, Jim Treacher is haunted by the Shape of Fear: Boo! Jazz-hands!


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posted by Ace at 11:59 AM

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