Friday, March 27, 2009


Seems that a bunch of MSM "journalists" have a google group called JournoList. Kaus gives a snip of an email thread from these venerable leaders of the fourth estate. I'm going to take Kaus' word for this, because this doesn't seem too strange to be parody.
Michael Calderone's article on the large, secretive liberal media email group JournoList sparked a lot of debate--some of it in this space--on whether this group is a healthy development for coverage of politics. The debate was necessarily speculative because actual JournoList discussions remained secret. But with more than 300 members of this club, virtually all of them with easy access to the media, did you really think a JournoList thread wouldn't leak? People are rightly interested in learning what goes on behind the scenes at powerful institutions--or wannabe powerful institutions--whose power derives precisely from their decision to exclude the public.

Kausfiles has obtained a copy of one JournoList discussion, focusing on New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz (for whom I once worked.) This is not a parody! It's the real thing. I don't know whether or not it is representative. I've edited it only to remove potentially defamatory passages--those cuts are marked--and left out various boilerplate links and commands embedded in the thread, such as "Print" and "Report this message." ... I won't add my own commentary, at least for now. Find your own lede! ... Reminder to JournoList organizer E. Klein, who likes to take it private: All communications are on the record. ...
And here is the Michael Calderone article at Politico.
But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won’t say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he’s seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.

“I’m very lazy about writing when I’m not getting paid,” Alterman said. “So if I take the trouble to write something in any detail on the list, I tend to cannibalize it. It doesn’t surprise me when I see things on the list on people’s blogs.”
Nice to know that they can get together and discuss their feelings. Just look at the thread that Kaus put out. Sadly, this is one of those lists I would be deleting without reading. You know, like those employment networking group email lists that you once joined and still feel to guilty to unsubscribe from.

I don't for the most part see much of an issue with this. But, this should be bigger news than it has been. This is a fairly strong indication of group thought that shouldn't be a part of journalism. Of course we know that journalism no longer actually reports the news in an unbiased manner, but has to be someone's pulpit. Few articles pass without opinion being laced into them directly or indirectly.

The there is:
In an e-mail, Klein said he understands that the JList’s off-the-record rule “makes it seems secretive.” But he insisted that JList discussions have to be off the record in order to “ensure that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions.”

One byproduct of that secrecy: For all its high-profile membership — which includes Nobel Prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman; staffers from Newsweek, POLITICO, Huffington Post, The New Republic, The Nation and The New Yorker; policy wonks, academics and bloggers such as Klein and Matthew Yglesias — JList itself has received almost no attention from the media.
I'd love to know who is on the list. At least then you could make an honest assessment of their true colors. Then again, from that list, it isn't to difficult to make that determination either.

No doubt this group will be cherished by the Obamateur.

I wonder where the right-winger's list is hidden. Probably won't come out since they are all protected by the evil Bush/Cheney cabal.

No comments: