Tuesday, July 27, 2010

JournoList Exposes Journalists As Propagandists

For those who haven’t kept up with the recent “JournoList” scandal, you need to know about this one. What is JournoList? It’s a Google Group for journalists. And what is the scandal? The scandal is that leaked e-mails from this group are showing that these journalists have been conspiring to spread left wing propaganda. And that's not hyperbole.

JournoList was a members-only Google Group to which 400 journalists and academics belonged. Created by Erza Klein, a Washington Post / Newsweek columnist, the group was open only to “left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics.” Klein kept out conservatives because he claimed he didn't want a flame war. But you be the judge if that was his real intent.

This scandal began when several posts from this group were leaked to Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller. The first of these to be released were from David Weigel, the supposedly not-liberal Washington Post blogger (he described himself as having "libertarian" sympathies). Weigel, who covered conservatives for the Post, was caught expressing a rather vile level of hatred for various conservatives, such as suggesting that Matt Drudge should set himself on fire and Rush Limbaugh should die. But Weigel was just the beginning. Here is a sampling of some of what has been said:

• Jonathan Zasloff, a UCLA “law” professor, wrote like a good little Nazi that he wanted to see the government shut down FOX News.

• Sarah Spitz of National Public Radio, a hateful troll, wrote that she would laugh if she saw Rush Limbaugh have a heart attack in front of her.

• Ryan Donmoyer of Bloomberg News compared the Tea Party to the Nazis. And he would know because all his friends think like Nazis. . . friends like Spencer Ackerman!

• Spencer "Adolf" Ackerman of The Washington Impendent apparently wishes to re-enact Kristallnacht. He wrote that they should “find a right winger’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.”
But this is just invective and hate speech from people with small minds and defective genitalia. The real scandal goes deeper than their hate. The real scandal is that these e-mails are revealing that these leftist “journalists” have been conspiring together to shape the news, and they don’t consider truth an obstacle.

For example, when the Jeremiah Wright story came out, the group debated how to bury the story. Michael Tomasky, a writer for The Guardian suggested they kill the Wright story: “Listen folks -- in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have.” But don’t worry, this wasn’t to defend Obama or anything like that, it was to stop the evil MSM from killing “discourse.” Uh huh.

Our old friend “Adolf” Ackerman goes further. He suggested that the group distract the public by coordinating an attack against a prominent conservative using the age-old leftist whine of “racism”:
“If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them -- Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists.”
These guys couldn't be more of a caricature of budding Nazis if they were caught taking goose-stepping classes. And in case you're wondering, no, they did not try to kick anyone like Ackerman or Weigel or Spitz off the list, nor is there any evidence that anyone even chastised them for their hate.

Tucker Carlson, who apparently possesses a large number of these e-mails, notes that this coordination was common behavior on the JournoList:
“Again and again, we discovered members of JournoList working to coordinate talking points on behalf of Democratic politicians, principally Barack Obama. That is not journalism, and those who engage in it are not journalists. They should stop pretending to be. The news organizations they work for should stop pretending, too. I’ve been in journalism my entire adult life, and have often defended it against fellow conservatives who claim the news business is fundamentally corrupt. It’s harder to make that defense now.”
So how are these leftists responding? Well, after Weigel got fired, they immediately shut down the JournoList and destroyed the evidence. . . er, deleted the group. Then they attacked Carlson for only releasing part of the e-mails. . . as if they couldn't release the rest themselves. Then they set about whining about privacy, something journalists have never respected. According to Time’s Joe Klein, maintaining confidentiality was necessary because “candor is essential” because it ensures “that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions.” Funny, I don’t recall any of these “journalists” buying that argument when the Bush administration made it. . . or BP. . . or anyone else really.

The rest have moved on and formed JournoList 2.0 -- it’s actually called “Cabalist.” This one was created by Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic and has 173 members already. And on July 21, it was revealed that one of their first orders of business was to debate how to suppress the story about JournoList by making collective decisions about what to write.

So what is the issue here? The issue is that this little cabal of leftists has conspired to coordinate their stories to support leftist causes and attack right-leaning persons and ideas. They've shown a blinding hate for anyone they disagree with and they’ve made it clear that neither truth nor accuracy will stand in their way -- in fact, they routinely propose flat out lies and venomous personal attacks. That makes these people propagandists, not journalists. . . 400 pathetic little Himmlers.

What's worse these propagandists do not identify themselves as leftist operatives; they pretend to be "journalists." And that's the real problem here. Everyone knows that the leftist bloggers at Huffpo are lying to you to make their points. But when these people pretend to be "journalists" and they work for supposed news-organizations, then what you have is a disgrace for the journalistic “profession.”

Indeed, the fact that they still have jobs is troubling. I can only conclude that the organizations they work for have decided that they like being willing instruments of their propaganda. Unless these organizations purge their ranks of these people (something they should like as leftists always love a good purge), then it’s time that we stopped treating these organizations as journalistic organizations. . . because they’re not.

And if you haven't heard about this, I'll give you one guess why not.


CrispyRice said...

Wow, Andrew. This is a huge story. Could you imagine if the MSM found a group of conservative journalists acting this way?

DUQ said...

Wow! I knew about Weigel and I thought, big deal, he’s just a jerk leftist blogger pretending to be something he isn’t. But this goes way beyond that. These are supposedly real journalists. This proves everything the right has ever said about media bias!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Crispy. I think the media would go insane if they uncovered a group of conservatives coordinating their efforts -- much less spewing the hate and advocating the violence these leftists are.

We would hear screams of "journalistic ethics" and "propaganda." But somehow, when it's the left, all we hear is "right to privacy."

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That's the real problem, that these people are acting like they are impartial journalists who just happen to be leftists. And now they're caught being leftists, so they're screaming bloody murder. And of course, they aren't stopping, they just changed lists.

This is a huge black eye to journalism as a profession, especially since none of the liberals in the profession have called these people out. . . these same liberals who whine about Fox News.

CrispyRice said...

That seems to be par for the course, Andrew. Ignore what the left does wrong, and make up stuff and scream about the right. UGH!!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, That's been completely exposed here -- don't respond to the bad situation; instead attack a conservatives as a racist. Hmmm... that's the same formula they've been using in the Sherrod situation. What a "coincidence"!

Ed said...

Holy cow! These "journalists" are actually advocating violence and imposing fear on their political opponents. Nazis is right. This is obscene.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I agree. These are people who by profession claim to be about exposing truth. And by the PR of their ideology, they claim that they want peace and equality and all of that. Yet here they are wishing ill on anyone who disagrees with them. . . just leftists always end up doing.

StanH said...

One of the wildest things that I noticed, as I went down their list, and photos, they are mostly Jewish, and how Fascist they sound, amazing. Also three blacks, and a dozen women, there about, using liberal logic ( I know it’s a misnomer) about the Tea Party, you could call them, racist & sexist What Journolist has done, is too confirm what we suspected…journalism is essentially dead. Rush calls them “The State Controlled Media, “ fitting. Our candidates must talk past the press as Reagan did, or be defined by the likes of Journolist…shameful!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, It is shameful, and I agree with your point that these people should know better.

It's extremely telling that none of the others disagreed with these people as they advocated hate and violence against people with whom they disagree. If you want to know how it is that an "ism" (fascism, communism, etc.) turns violent and commits crimes against humanity, look no further than these people. . . who sat their happily as others advocated violence and hate against people they don't like.

This should be a clarion call for anyone concerned about journalism to clean up their profession. These people have violated every journalistic ethic. And if there is no punishment. . . no enforcement, then there are no ethics and there is no profession.

It should also be a wake up call to leftists that they are headed down the same path that their European forbearers went in the 1920s/1930s.

CrispyRice said...

You know, Andrew, upon reflection, this is a great thing that YOU guys do. "You" meaning you bloggers. If the MSM is going to hush things up, then you guys at least are going to be out there shouting from the roof tops.

The thing really to fear then is the gov't stepping in to control the internet and blogging, along with the talk radio gang.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks CrispyRice! We are doing our best to get the word out to everyone.

I think that we need to watch carefully to make sure that government doesn't get its grips on the internet. They're trying all kinds of things right now to shut down anyone who isn't an approved, leftist media outlet. But it won't work. The genie of a free press is out of the bottle and they can't contain it.

So we will keep putting out everything we can in the way of truth.

Ed said...

Hey, I wanted to share with you an interesting article at The Washington Examiner talking about this same thing today: ARTICLE.

They talk about the few instances where someone actually disagreed with the groupthink. It's pretty unimpressive.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for the link Ed, I saw that early. It's funny how they think they're heroic just for disagreeing with the leftist herd isn't it? And they aren't even disagreeing in any fundamental way. Pathetic.

I also have to suspect that if this had been a conservative thing, then these same journalists would be writing articles about all the bad conservatives who failed to stand up for truth and justice etc. But for them, it's just business as usual.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: There's always a fifth column in America, but as you've pointed out, this is unique. The saboteurs are usually foreign or discredited propagandists. It's only recently that the fifth column is comprised almost entirely of American actors withing the mainstream media who conspire to rig elections and spread false or misleading information about their "enemies."

It is a tragic and dangerous commentary on the fact that the mainstream media are such a huge danger to the First Amendment and honest elections. I use the word "conspiracy" advisedly, and point out that this doesn't rise to the level of a criminal act. But that's just lawyering.

The fact is that a bunch of leftists who claim to be "reporters" planned together with leftist opinion-makers how they could de-rail the political process by giving out false facts and guidelines for how to ignore the true facts. Reprehensbile, unethical, but not quite criminal. Still, the layman in me says "close enough."

Ponderosa said...

Had it been a group of business executives (finance, oil, tech) and they were setting prices the “journalists” would have been raking them over the coals – crying monopoly & price fixing and then call for hearings and “reform”.

Steal money from the consumer – holy hell breaks loose.

Subvert the Republic – it is all about privacy. No biggie, 1st Amendment, yada, yada.

I’ll take this as a positive sign – they’ve been doing this for years and year and now finally got busted with more to come. Good.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That is correct, but it goes way beyond that. They are actively executing the propaganda. Not only are they coordinating what they will say to support certain causes or suppress negative news, but they are actively planning attacks against opponents.

And the fury/rage demonstrated in these comments is incredibly discrediting. This is all well beyond what they would normally call hate speech.

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, Too true. If this had been anyone else, they would be talking about conspiracies and undermining democracy, and so on. And if this was conservatives, I can guarantee you they would be blasting this group and demanding that they were all removed form the profession.

But it was leftists and they think that they're immune from all their lofty words and faked ideals. Unbelievable, they actually see themselves as the victims here because their "privacy" was invaded. Give me a break.

I think the public has known the truth of this for quite some time now. It's just not possible that so many "journalists" could keep routinely presenting virtually identical positions on identical topics all at the same time without coordination.

The public has learned not to trust journalists, and this will only cement that.

Doc Whoa said...

This doesn't surprise me and they aren't going to do anything about it. They whole lamestreammedia needs to be torn down and started over.

Doc Whoa said...

Sorry to skip around commenting on you guys, but I've been out all week.

AndrewPrice said...

DocWhoa, I don't see anything happening either. . . too many fellow travelers in the media.

(Don't worry about bouncing around, we always check old comments and people do keep visiting old articles for some time after they disappear off the front page.)

Writer X said...

I love how they scream about privacy when they're impacted but when it's somebody else's rights (e.g. a Republican or a conservative), suddenly then they scream about transparency. I have loved following this story. So glad that the light of day is shining over them. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of vampires.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Isn't that the truth! Vampires if a good way to describe these people. One thing is for sure, I would never call them journalists.

I'm hoping that Carlson drips out more e-mails every couple of days for years frankly. This is a story that should keep coming back to haunt them. And I also hope that there is someone on the inside on Cabalist so that we can get a whole new bunch of e-mails when these run out.

Writer X said...

Andrew, off-topic, but just feel the need to share that Elton John is my new favorite musician at the moment. He actually came out and slammed the other musician hypocrites who've boycotted AZ. Not that anyone here has lost too much sleep over it.

And on an even cheerier note, tourism has been up in AZ the last two months. Considering that the temps hover around 110 this time of year, that's pretty freaking amazing. Boycott Schmoycott! Go Elton! Oy!

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, That's interesting. He played for Rush Limbaugh too which got the left really upset at him. Maybe old Elton's finally seeing that not everything those of us not-on-the-left do is all bad?

Glad to hear the tourism numbers are up! LOL! As Hollywood has often discovered, boycotts do tend to be good for business.

StanH said...

Did you guys see Alan Colmes on O’Reilly, I channel-surfed by, and he excused Journolist as private back and forth, chit-chat amongst liberals, and wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that they are supposed to be impartial “reporters,” God these people piss me off! …this is how 2+2=5, what spin.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, That's the line they're all using -- "private chit chat." So tell me, when did they ever respect that line from Republicans, conservatives, sports stars, celebrities, businessmen... anyone?

Think of it this way, if a group of Republicans joined "KKKList" and started spouting racist comments, how many of these "journalists" would accept "but it was a private conversation"? No, they'd say "it's news," just as this is news. . . news which they ignored.

This is pure ideology and anyone who defends them is defending propagandists.

Tennessee Jed said...

For me, the question is "are all or most" of these guys actually "jornalists" are were they all known liberal opinion writers. Put another way, did they ever really hold themselves out to be independent, objective analysts?

The reason I ask the question is that it does make some difference to me. By way of example, if these guys are leftist versions of Sean Hannity, we certainly should not be surprised. What it would show is that they are 1) less civil and more mean spirited than they would be in "public" and 2) their credibility should certainly be called into question. Obviously, the WAPO guy misrepresented himself, but I don't know about the others as much.

To me, too many publications or organizations that at one time tried to position themselves as main stream and independent (such as Time or Newsweek) became weighted far too heavily to the left.

One would hope, of course, that just making a charge of racism towards someone on the right would not be given not much creedence if not backed by some actual evidence. Still, ultimately, it is up to the reader to determine what is credible and what is not. Probably leftist readers are just being preached to. The real benefit here, I think, is that these guys have been unmasked for the independent reader.o

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I understand your point, but I'm not sure I entirely agree. For example, if it turned out that Commentarama was part of some hidden organization that coordinated what we posted with Big Hollywood or Drudge, that should trouble you regarding our credibility -- whether we claimed to be unbiased or admitted our leanings. . . just as it should bother you if we had a hidden sponsor (something these journalists were crusading against early last year).

Moreover, if you then learned that we would talk about making unsupported personal attacks on people and suppressing stories, that should bother you even more. In other words, you may understand that we might be biased, but to learn that we openly plot to deceive is not something you expect from simple bias.

Finally, when you consider the level of hate and near advocacy of violence, this story becomes news no matter who it was, e.g. suppose it was cops talking about criminals -- the public would want to know, even if it didn't affect them personally. But these journalists are even bigger news than cops would be because their very function is to disseminate and discuss the news. In other words, they are in the trust business and anything that so heavily affects that trust is news.

That said, I do agree that it is much worse if these people are presented as unbiased journalists rather than "leftist opinion givers." In that regard, some of these people are identified as "opinion givers," but not all. Some describe themselves as simply "journalist" "reporter" or "columnist," without ever explaining their ideological bias. Some are producers, meaning they work behind the scenes and you will see the stories they make, but never know they were involved. Others are professors, who are teaching students how to become journalists. So I do think that this goes way beyond simply identified-leftists. And those people for sure are being deceptive by not disclosing this.

LL said...

It makes me want to raise my fist and sing, "The International" along with the mainstream media.

Joel Farnham said...


This collusion shouldn't go unpunished, but I don't see how these guys can be punished. Maybe the loss of reputation will be enough.

They, already through their rhetoric prior to this revelation, have been losing their audience. Maybe that will be enough.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, Isn't that the truth. And here I thought the Soviet Union had fallen and all those communist-conspiracy groups had disappeared. Who knew they simply all became "journalists."

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, They won't be punished because the media is run by fellow travelers who agree with them, even if they won't say it. If the media had any shame or sense of ethics, they would literally fire anyone on their staff who was on this list.

First, those people have engaged in conduct unbecoming of the organization's mission. That's a basis for firing people.

Secondly, they failed to report an obvious story because they let their political biases get in the way of their judgment.

The other thing that people should consider is blacklisting these "journalists." Republicans should refuse to do interviews with them and their organizations. When we recapture the White House, we should pull their journalistic credentials, etc.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Joel, it won't happen. . . but it should.

MegaTroll said...

Somehow, I knew this all along. I'm just glad it's been exposed.

AndrewPrice said...

Mega, I know exactly what you mean.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - actually, it was late and I don't think I expressed my views very well. Much as you point out in your reply, they all concern me, and it is important that all of their credibility be held up to public ridicule. But, as we both agree, it is particularly important to do so with those who pretended to be something other than they are holding themselves up to be. Somebody at Time or WAPO needs to be unmasked even more than a Media Matters drone since we know where those guys are coming from.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree entirely. I think the whole thing should be exposed, for the reasons given.

But, it is much more important that people who work for supposed "news" organizations and thus present themselves as impartial, need to be exposed. And if I was running something like the Washington Post or Time, I would be getting rid of these people to protect whatever credibility I had. At least in that, I have to give the Post credit for firing Weigel (and heap scorn on MSNBC for hiring him). But it's still not enough. As a "news" organization, letting anyone on staff be a part of this goes right to their credibility.

CrispyRice said...

OMG, this thing is driving me crazier and crazier! I agree with all of you!

And what I find really fustaing is that I can't tell how much traction this is getting "out there" - are people who don't read right-wing blogs or listen to talk radio even aware that their trusts news sources are doing this?? ARGH!!

CrispyRice said...

Dang it, sorry. That should be "frustrating" of course. Guess I really am at the end of my rope, LOL.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I don't know how much traction this is getting. I know a lot of blogs have picked it up, so have many of the editorialists. But I don't know that anyone in the MSM has picked it up. . . and I doubt they will.

Instead, they'll do the usual -- issue a small article in a year that says "oops, we should have covered this more. . . but now it's past."

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Don't worry about it -- typos are very human, we all make them. Take a deep breath... :-)

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