On this weekend's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton proposed a simple way to clear up much of the murk surrounding JournoList. Let the Washington Post respond to the 20 questions about the matter that MRC head Brent Bozell has posed to the Post's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, in an open letter.
JournoList was created by lefty blogger Ezra Klein in 2007, who continued to run it after becoming a Post staffer in 2009.
Responding to Pinkerton's proposal, Newsday columnist Ellis Henican, a liberal member of the News Watch panel, swung and missed at Bozell . . .
The Daily Caller released a new JournoList scoop today, and this one's a doozy. It confirms that reporters on the liberal media listserv did in fact collaborate with political operatives and campaign officials to spin media coverage in favor of Barack Obama.
The latest piece further debunks JournoList founder Ezra Klein's claims - also taken on by this humble blogger - that the email list did not include campaign or government officials, and was not used to manufacture talking points.
In fact, two members of the Obama campaign, Jared Bernstein and Jason Furman, were JournoList members during the race. Jeff Hauser reportedly signed a number of JournoList emails "Campaign Manager, Shulman for Congress," while he worked on New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Dennis Shulman's campaign.
And talking points were a much-discussed issue. "JournoList’s greatest challenge is to make sure an actual win by Obama translates into winning the battle for political impact," Houser stated on one occasion. It doesn't get more explicit than that.
Managing Editor's Note: What follows is an open letter from NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell to Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli about the controversial [now defunct] e-mail listserv JournoList, founded and operated by the Post's Ezra Klein.
The JournoList scandal is getting worse every day and The Washington Post is at the center of it. Blogger Ezra Klein ran the operation and at least three other staffers were members. (Blogger Greg Sargent claims he wasn't a member after he joined the Post.) In addition, at least one member of Slate and two from Newsweek, also owned by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, were members.
The almost constant revelations of political activism and journalistic conspiracy raise an enormous number of questions about Post policies, professionalism and ethics. As a conservative, and therefore a member of the movement JournoListers sought to demonize, I feel Post readers are owed full disclosure.
Any understanding of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes clear this list and the Post's involvement violate a number of ethical guidelines. In fact, much of the code seems to have been ignored. Here are just a few examples from the code.
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.
WaPo conservative columnist and soon-to-be right-wing CNN talk show host Kathleen Parker took time over the weekend to kiss up to WaPo liberal blogger Ezra Klein and anyone who believes the contents of the Journolist ought not go public.
As Parker acknowledges in her column, there were "mean quotes" on Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the Journolist, she dismisses their importance. "Scandalous? Sure, if you want it to be," she writes.
She paints D.C. journalism as an atmosphere in which one day you're hunting, and one day, you're hunted. "Do we resign ourselves to the new reality -- that no one is ever to be trusted -- and keep our thoughts to ourselves?" she asks. "The answer implied by the events here described suggests a country in which few of us would want to live."
NewsBusters posts Friday afternoon provided readers with a list of 65 known participants in the now-infamous Journolist (via Melissa Clouthier) and the special case of Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's Economic Adviser (via Lachian Markey).
(Aside: Does the fact that Biden has his own econ adviser explain why what the Vice President says in public about the economy is so often of sync with the rest of the President's peeps?)
Here's another very special name that could (emphasis: could) be added to the (Journo)List: the soon-departing White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.
The more details emerge about the liberal media listserv JournoList, the more it resembles the cabal of leftist message-coordination many conservatives feared. Though perhaps not the "vast left-wing media conspiracy" Fred Barnes proclaims, evidence points to concerted efforts to coordinate talking points, and now, to direct links between the Obama White House and JournoList members.
Ironically, those are two elements of the listserv of which creator Ezra Klein explicity claimed JournoList was completely devoid. "Is it an ornate temple where liberals get together to work out "talking points?" Of course not," Klein stated last year. He added, "There are no government or campaign employees on the list."
Both of those assertions are provably false (whether or not they were at the time). The former has been contradicted by a number of instances of JournoList members doing just that: coordinating talking points. The second claim is upended by recent revelations that Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's chief economic adviser, and unpaid "surrogate" adviser to the Obama campaign, was a member of JournoList while advising then-candidate Obama on economic issues.
Andrew Breitbart has found a simple remedy to at least some of the problems that ail contemporary journalism: cold, hard cash. Yesterday he offered $100,000 to anyone who will supply him with the full archive of JournoList, the email listserve that brought down Dave Weigel.
"$100,000 is not a lot to spend on the Holy Grail of media bias when there is a country to save, " Breitbart wrote yesterday. Americans "deserve to know who was colluding against them," he added, "so that in the future they can better understand how the once-objective media has come to be so corrupted and despised."
And there's the rub: Breitbart is attempting to out liberal journalists as just that: liberal. His tactics and his objectives have been dubbed by some on the left as "digital McCarthyism," in the words of Michael Roston, "in which any of us could become the next Dave Weigel based not on the public output of our journalism, but based on our private sentiments."
The amateur liberal blogosphere is dead, according to a prominent lefty blogger. Chris Bowers made his proclamation Thursday, on the heels of the New York Times's acquisition of FiveThirtyEight, a prominent liberal polling site run by Nate Silver.
Silver, pictured right, was the latest in a string of moves from the liberal blogosphere to traditional media outlets. The Washington Post has, with much fanfare, beefed up its blogging staff of late, most recently by hiring Dave Weigel to cover the political right.
The trend of professionalization should not be surprising. Traditional media are overwhelming liberal, and new media comprise some of the sharpest journalistic minds the nation has to offer. Traditional media need ways to remain relevant. Why wouldn't they draw talent from the vast pool of bloggers?
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.
"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."
To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.
Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press recently penned a column so wrought with falsehoods that it is difficult to navigate the ensuing minefield of absurdity.
But navigate we shall...
Riley sets out with a fully sarcastic, yet hearty, thank you to John Boehner, alleging that his fiery speech to the House had contributed to the Democrat's healthcare victory.
"Boehner and many of his supporters - as well as some extremists the party hasn't decided how to handle - faced off against the American people and lost."
It is difficult to comprehend the unmitigated arrogance of liberals as they repeatedly voice that talking point: The healthcare reform legislation is a victory for the American people.
This simply is not so. As recently as Sunday, Americans were staunchly opposed to Obamacare by a 54-41% margin according to a Rasmussen poll. The veracity of their opposition was also overwhelming, with 45% who strongly oppose the plan, and 26% who strongly favor the plan. If this were an election, we'd be speaking in terms of a landslide. In reality, it is a landslide defeat for the American people. For Obama, Pelosi, and their liberal media cohorts to define going against the will of the governed as a victory for the people, is to essentially spit directly into the collective face of this nation.
With the midterm election season heating up, particularly in the wake of the passage of ObamaCare, the Washington Post is expanding its blogging outfit. Less than a year after I wrote about the Post hiring flaming liberal Ezra "not everything the Nazis touched was bad" Klein, the paper has hired another blogger who has been critical of the Right, and his beat will be, you guessed it, covering conservatives.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein has some doubts about those who oppose abortion on moral, religious or ethical grounds. Apparently to him, it's just an anti-class issue in which the poor are locked out of abortion.
"I want to make a point they're wrong on two important counts," Klein said. "Number one, often times when you create more insurance coverage you reduce abortion. There is a study in The New England Journal of Medicine this month that after Massachusetts brought in their reforms that look a lot like our reforms abortion dropped 2 percent because people have more access to birth control."
While conservatives like Mark Levin went to the radio barricades to protest the unconstitutionality of House Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter just passing over the need for a House vote on the Senate health care bill, the networks stayed quiet last week. It did come up on Thursday night's Countdown on MSNBC.
Lawrence O'Donnell called it the "self-executing rule." I can practically hear Levin yelling "That's right! You liberals will be cutting your own throats with it!" Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein was warming up to the Slaughter solution, suggesting "consistent innovation" is what makes liberalism special:
Klein linked to Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker attacking Limbaugh, but what's most amusing is how Hertzberg thinks Joe Biden's "clean and articulate" comments are awkward but fine -- until Rush utters them:
"And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him," Klein wrote. "At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score."
It seems that the Washington Post will soon be welcoming ultra-liberal hack blogger Ezra Klein to their online operations. Klein has often been the subject of stories by NewsBusters. This is what the Politico reported on the Post's acquisition of Klein (h/t OTB):
The American Prospect's Ezra Klein, one of the top bloggers on politics and policy, is heading to the Washington Post.
Rumors about Klein's upcoming move spread on Wednesday night during a reception thrown by The Nation magazine in honor of D.C. bureau chief Chris Hayes.
A Post spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO this morning that Klein was hired as a blogger at washingtonpost.com and is expected to start in about a month.
The move continues a regrettable trend started with their hiring of Greg Sargent, who formerly worked for the far left Talking Points Memo, to run a blog at one of the Post's websites. The addition of Sargent, an accomplished hack in his own right, was covered by Tim Graham here at NewsBusters. Tim quickly identified it as yet another example of the revolving door between liberal organizations and the mainstream media:
What's wrong with this picture: a young, prominent, liberal blogger gets a respectable and highly-coveted position with a leading, leftwing magazine, and for some reason, can't shake himself from the vulgarity and vitriol prevalent in his past writing?
Such appears to be the case for Ezra Klein, a virtual rising star in the liberal blogosphere, who despite being on the staff of The American Prospect, still feels the need to drop an f-bomb now and again while attacking one of the nation's leading television journalists.
As reported by new blogger Unpopular Front (vulgarity warning!):