Bozell Column: JournoList Erodes Media Prestige
Tucker Carlson's website The Daily Caller has unearthed a treasure trove of liberal journalists talking (nastily) to themselves in a private e-mail list about how they should use their media power to remake the world in their image.
The funniest thing about this expose of “JournoList” was witnessing journalists say it was unfair to leak these e-mails when reporters had an “expectation of privacy.” More than 90,000 pages of secret documents on Afghanistan have been leaked and journalists are tripping over each other in a mad stampede to cover the story. Everyone should laugh heartily at leak-devouring journalists getting a fistful of their own bitter pills.
The saddest thing about all this is the confirmation (as if it were necessary) that liberal journalists really aren't journalists first. They're political strategists. They pretend to be the Hollywood version of Woodward and Bernstein, the brave sleuths digging out government malfeasance and corruption. But in reality they're the Woodward and Bernstein who plotted how to get Richard Nixon impeached and ready the way for pacifist and socialist “Watergate babies” like Chris Dodd and Henry Waxman to take seats of power. Ethics are only relevant if they’re a weapon.
Jonathan Strong's first installment for The Daily Caller proved that with a wallop. Take former New York magazine political writer Michael Tomasky's plea to “kill ABC” for talking about Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “Listen folks-- in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”
Liberal journalists in this crowd favor only discourse that “serves the people” – meaning, a “debate” that advances the ball for socialism. Any other uncooperative or unhelpful line of journalism or questioning or discussion or balance or objectivity is “idiocy” that should be “killed.” At its heart, liberal bias isn't just about slanting the news against conservatives, it's about slanting the news to discredit and then ignore conservatives until they sit grumpily on the ash heap of history. If that includes censorship, like yanking the journalist credentials of Fox News, some on the JournoList eagerly have encouraged it.
The “mainstream” (ha!) media's first bucket of water on the Daily Caller's fire was to claim that the participants on the JournoList weren't primarily “objective” media types. It was heavily salted with The Nation, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, and obscure magazines like Government Executive. But the rebuttal is obvious. The list's creator, Ezra Klein, rose from The American Prospect to being the 25-year-old blogging boy wonder of The Washington Post, whose opinions pop up all over the paper. It's not at all uncommon for “mainstream” journalists to be groomed at liberal opinion rags. Think of JournoList as part of a finishing school for “objective” journalists, and you can see why conservatives never trust the national media elite.
The second liberal self-defense of JournoList was that Klein claimed there was no plan for partisan “message coordination.” But the Daily Caller showed how no one on the list was really paying attention to that alleged plan. After Sarah Palin was picked for the GOP ticket in 2008, Suzanne Nossel of Human Rights Watch insisted “I think it is and can be spun as a profoundly sexist pick. Women should feel umbrage at the idea that their votes can be attracted just by putting a woman, any woman, on the ticket no matter her qualifications or views.”
Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones insisted the entire Left should spread that spin: “That’s excellent! If enough people – people on this list? – write that the pick is sexist, you’ll have the networks debating it for days. And that negates the SINGLE thing Palin brings to the ticket,” he wrote. No message coordination there.
Some of the exposed journalists have defended themselves by saying they never put their vicious messages in the media mainstream. Others suggested they were just as earnestly biased in public as they were in private. Anyone paying attention to the media during the 2008 campaign clearly didn’t need the JournoList ravings to realize the media immediately despised Sarah Palin and hailed Barack Obama as the glowing receptacle of liberal hopes and dreams and fairy tales.
But these leaked messages are serious business. What they prove is that the “mainstream” media today are often just a shameless channel for leftist message coordination, and that anyone who assumes he’s simply getting the “news” from the national media is a very callow and uninformed consumer.
What’s most shocking is the silence. How many in the “mainstream” press are publicly denouncing those members of JournoList for their blatant disregard of journalistic ethics? Listen to the crickets...