From 2007 until last month, some 300 liberal journalists and policy wonks exchanged ideas and commentary on a secret, off-the-record Internet email group called JournoList. It was shut down after portions leaked, leading to the resignation of Washington Post writer David Weigel last month over his intemperate criticism of conservatives he was covering.
But someone who belonged to JournoList continues to leak information from its archives, providing a fascinating glimpse into how some liberal journalists coordinate their story lines to protect their favorite politicians and ideas. The Daily Caller website reports that at several times during the 2008 presidential race, "employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how [Barack] Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage."
Some of the comments will no doubt revive conservative allegations of a liberal news media conspiracy. Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent, now at Wired, urged fellow journalists to kill the story of Mr. Obama's ties to the controversial Revered Jeremiah Wright by going after some of his critics. "Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists," he urged. "What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger's [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically."
Chris Hayes of the Nation magazine urged "those in the ostensible mainstream media" who were on the list to ignore the Rev. Wright story. He insisted the real issue had nothing to do with Mr. Obama's pastor and instead "has everything to do with the attempts of the right to maintain control of the country."
Apparently, many on JournoList had an agenda that had little to do with covering legitimate news stories, but instead were concerned with protecting their friends and trying to ensure they had "control of the country."
-- John Fund
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
POLITICAL DIARY ONLINE
TUESDAY, 20 JULY 10