First, read this account about Newsweek columnist Ezra Klein's Journolist, a private Google Group he created in February 2007 to exchange ideas and communications securely with other journalists on the left.
Next, read this story about the group by Michael Calderone, which appeared on the Politico blog in March 2009.
Bits and pieces of various exchanges from Journolist were leaked on some blogs from time to time (Micky Kaus, and most recently, the flap about the Washington Post's "conservative" journalist/blogger Dave Weigel). These tended to show a certain self-reinforcing camaraderie, a mutual egging-on and patting-on-the-back which gave the group confidence that they were in the right when it came to the attacks on conservative politicians, writers, Tea Party "racists" and other assorted liberal hobgoblins. But nothing really serious emerged before Ezra Klein shut the group down this past June, as a result of the Weigel flap.
Then Andrew Breitbart, who had earlier offered $100,000 in cash to anyone who could produce a video documenting the famous "n-word incident" on the steps of the Capitol, made a stunning announcement after no such video ever turned up:
I’ve had $100,000 burning in my pocket for the last three months and I’d really like to spend it on a worthy cause. So how about this: in the interests of journalistic transparency, and to offer the American public a unique insight in the workings of the Democrat-Media Complex, I’m offering $100,000 for the full “JournoList” archive, source fully protected. Now there’s an offer somebody can’t refuse.
The race was on. But it turns out it was the Daily Caller, a general news site, which came up with the goods. Yesterday, it published a three-page blockbuster of a story with stunning excerpts of Journolist emails exchanged at the time the story about Jeremiah Wright emerged to threaten the success of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. All the "right people" are present and reporting for duty:
And it just gets worse from there, going on for two more full pages. Be sure to read the whole mind-bending story, and get the unvarnished truth about the "mainstream media" bias at last.The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”
Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”. . .Thomas Schaller, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun as well as a political science professor, upped the ante from there. In a post with the subject header, “why don’t we use the power of this list to do something about the debate?” Schaller proposed coordinating a “smart statement expressing disgust” at the questions Gibson and Stephanopoulos had posed to Obama.
“It would create quite a stir, I bet, and be a warning against future behavior of the sort,” Schaller wrote.
Tomasky approved. “YES. A thousand times yes,” he exclaimed.
The members began collaborating on their open letter. Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones rejected an early draft, saying, “I’d say too short. In my opinion, it doesn’t go far enough in highlighting the inanity of some of [Gibson's] and [Stephanopoulos’s] questions. And it doesn’t point out their factual inaccuracies … Our friends at Media Matters probably have tons of experience with this sort of thing, if we want their input.”
Andrew Breitbart, fittingly, gets the last word:
American journalism died a long time ago; today Tucker Carlson got around to running the obituary. What The Daily Caller has unearthed proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that most media organizations are either complicit by participation in the treachery that is Journolist, or are guilty of sitting back and watching Alinsky warfare being waged against all that challenged the progressive orthodoxy. The scandal predictably involves journalists posing as professors posing as experts. But dressed down they are nothing but street thugs. They deserve the deepest levels of public consternation. We must demand that they do.
The only way that the media will recover from the horrifying discoveries found in the Journolist is to investigate and investigate until every guilty reporter, professor and institution is laid bare begging America for forgiveness. Will they do it?
If the powers that be don’t comply with this demand, we can always call Jonathan Alter and Eric Alterman racists.*
(H/T: Mrs. P.)