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A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy? Part II

It seems liberals all across the media and political spectrum have been organizing their message for what looks like quite some time now. They've got a virtual hide out called JournoList, a secret club complete with a "No Conservatives Allowed!" sign plastered on the front door, where they discuss all kinds of liberal issues and push the daily talking points. From the Politico:

For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.

Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy?

Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. "Basically," he says, "it's just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely."

[...]

POLITICO contacted nearly three dozen current JList members for this story. The majority either declined to comment or didn't respond to interview requests -- and then returned to JList to post items on why they wouldn't be talking to POLITICO about what goes on there.

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.

You don't say. I'm so shocked.

Mark Hemingway at The Corner responds:

I've been hearing rumblings about this for a while, and I'm glad Politico finally did a story on it. Basically, "mainstream" journalists from The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Politico and many others chat all day on a list-serv with liberal activists and journalists.

[...]

Further, one of the most valuable currencies in Washington is access to the press. The article notes that many stories have started on or been shaped by JournoList. If you're a liberal blogger or activist, you can now push your story on the highest echelons of journalism with a quick email. If you're a mainstream journalist, is it really ethical that you don't give the opposing view equal access?

I think the real answer here is simply that there are no conservatives on the list because this just confirms -- yet again -- that mainstream journalists are privately hostile to conservative ideas and are somewhat committed to advancing liberal ones.

Update: Mark Hemingway explains why JournoList is a problem:

If explicitly liberal bloggers, activists and policy wonks want to get together several times a week and burn black candles and perform obscure magick rituals to converse with FDR from beyond the grave, that's fine with me. But when supposedly objective journalists or, worse yet, people such as Peter Orzag who until recently was the head of the Congressional Budget Office, participate in their shennanigans and at the very least fail to disclose it, then I have a problem.

I would like to think that journalists whose credibility rests on working for publications that represent themselves as objective news outlets as well as very influential civil-service employees would see the problem in granting exclusive access to people with a specific political agenda. Even the appearance that the news, let alone actual policies that affect all Americans, are being shaped disproportionately by reporters and unelected civil servants in the thrall of ideological crusaders is a problem.


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Comments (45)

Not shocking at all. Progr... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Not shocking at all. Progressives have been accusing conservatives of having such a 'group think tank' for years. Another of those "if we're doing it, they must be doing it'.

The logic is flawless.

A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy? Part Infinity

ZOMG, a listserv! That jou... (Below threshold)
mantis:

ZOMG, a listserv! That journalists use! The horror!

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Your tin foil will be confiscated.

If I were a conservative, I... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

If I were a conservative, I'd be annoyed that the braintrust of movement conservativism is demonstrably too stupid to organize something like this. Brit Hume doesn't know how to use a webcam? Is David Broder above speaking to mere bloggers? Fred Hiatt too stupid to take a conference call?

Oh, right, somebody did try: how's Pajamas Media working out for Mr. Simon? Wingnut welfare all dried up yet?

So much for the independent... (Below threshold)
HA HA:

So much for the independent leftist. Group think and marching orders is the only acceptable discourse allowed by the so called "progressives" - propoganda, it's what the lefts eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What else EXCEPT the... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:


What else EXCEPT the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy could explain the silence on Obama's Fake Birth Certificate?

A conservative friend of mi... (Below threshold)

A conservative friend of mine swears he sees black helicopters hovering over his local National Guard Armory every time the Space Shuttle is launched do you think this is related to your conspiracy?

So lets see...they have a m... (Below threshold)
Peach:

So lets see...they have a morning conference calls and then secret website chat rooms to coordinate the 'message". So called objective journalists spitball thier talking points or GET their talking points from their secret internet friends...and this is the same group who had a problem with Nixon?

HA HA , propaganda isn't the meal plan, hypocrisy is the progressive breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What a bunch of phonies and fraudsters.
depp=true
notiz=A sock puppet that answers its own posts

Man, the trolls are out in ... (Below threshold)

Man, the trolls are out in force this morning. Yipes.

Where is the secret aspect ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Where is the secret aspect of this conspiracy?

No kidding, Michael...maybe... (Below threshold)

No kidding, Michael...maybe it struck a nerve finding out that, after decades of denials, influential members of the press really do discuss talking points beforehand and appear to coordinate efforts, even if only unintentionally via reinforcing each others opinions.

Even if it wasn't set up as any sort of intentional coordinating site (and it seems unlikely it was), what it IS doing is acting like a left-wing media echo chamber where you end up with people that can claim with a straight face "how did he get elected? I don't know anyone that voted for him!"

The trolls are out because ... (Below threshold)
LeftisLame:

The trolls are out because this is precisely the kind of transparency hypocrisy they like to pretend their side is not engaged in and are against -- turns out their over lords need to agree on the narrative in private.

Now isn't this what the so-... (Below threshold)
The Other Ed:

Now isn't this what the so-called Twitter revolution is supposed to be doing for conservatives? Exchanging ideas on a realtime basis?

I think this is a little overhyped, like most Politico stories tend to be. It's just another mailing list that chooses it's own membership.

Where is the secret aspe... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Where is the secret aspect of this conspiracy?

No secret, Adrian. Just more verification of something you lefties deny - the media is liberal, and they echo liberal talking points. BTW, there's a card check thread on Page 1 today. Sure you don't want to weigh in?

This is all the more reason... (Below threshold)
TOhio:

This is all the more reason why we shouldn't be purchasing any liberal publications.

No conservative should be buying Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post and any other publication with a liberal bent.

Let's starve them financially.

"One byproduct of that secr... (Below threshold)
Hank:

"One byproduct of that secrecy: ....JList itself has received almost no attention from the media."

Gee, ya think?

You think these liberal morons are going to publicize the fact that they need to check with JList every day to know what to think, say and write?

Gee, ya think?... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Gee, ya think?

You think these liberal morons are going to publicize the fact that they need to check with JList every day to know what to think, say and write?

Hank, maybe they can't write about JList because JList hasn't told them to write about JList. Now you have wondering - who exactly is writing President Teleprompter's scripts, anyway?

I guess somebody had to ste... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I guess somebody had to step up once Moscow stopped coordinating left-wing politics.

The teleprompter in chief h... (Below threshold)
914:

The teleprompter in chief has done pretty well considering He was born outside of this Country.

Lots of people belong to pr... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Lots of people belong to profession-specific listservs, and members often have to agree to not to reprint others' comments elsewhere. I belong to one myself. Must be a conspiracy.

TOhio -Re Newsweek... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

TOhio -

Re Newsweek and Time - I gave up on them when they hit the $4/issue level and their 'news' started hiding amid the advertising. Occasional glances at recent issues leads me to think you get more substantive reporting and analysis from 'People' and the 'National Enquirer'.

If you don't agree with Rus... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

If you don't agree with Rush Limbaugh, and you're a reporter, then you're part of the liberal media. [/f*ckwit]

David Broder, Fred Hiatt, Lou Dobbs, William Kristol (formerly of the NY Times), Brit Hume, Peggy Noonan, Judith Miller, Sean Hannity--these are not members of the mainstream media? Are you that remarkably stupid?

All the crybabies that didn't like being snubbed by Obama at the Gridiron Dinner? Not liberals. At least, not liberal activists. Just because they live in big cities and went to good schools, doesn't make them dirty f*cking hippies or Red agitators. They're the establishment, which Obama clearly has less use for than Bush did during the first few years of his presidency when he used the op-ed pages of the major broadsheets to pimp his Iraqi adventure.

This blog is devolving into The Onion.com, minus the funny gift shop and stellar A/V section.

hyperbolist, Since ... (Below threshold)
maggie:

hyperbolist,
Since Wizbang is devolving and causing you such
distaste, why don't you post elsewhere on your
compamy time.

"Lots of people belong to p... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Lots of people belong to profession-specific listservs, and members often have to agree to not to reprint others' comments elsewhere. I belong to one myself. Must be a conspiracy."

Only when your group-think espouses itself to be "the voice of the people".

Lots of people bel... (Below threshold)
Tim:
Lots of people belong to profession-specific listservs, and members often have to agree to not to reprint others' comments elsewhere. I belong to one myself. Must be a conspiracy.

But not everyone belongs to a listserv where they get the meme of the day and run it as "news".

You guys really are conspir... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You guys really are conspiracy theorist whackjobs, aren't you? If there was a "meme of the day," that the media borg collective followed, wouldn't they just get it from the evil emm-ess-emm overlord starship, The New York Times? Why would they need a listserv? And hasn't the evil liberal media been evil and liberal for a long time, way before this list existed? How did they coordinate their evil socialist agenda all this time, without a super secret unified message dissemination listserv?

Mantis -I recall H... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Mantis -

I recall Hillary claiming there was a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' - when there was pretty much no evidence of one other that the fact that people weren't falling into line and passing her policies without question.

I thought it was over the top at the time.

Now there's something like this - and for all your protestations that the listserv is harmless, when you couple that with something like this group con-call, there does come a point where you associate the preparation of multiple people with the actions (and words) of a few.

And I've always thought you... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

And I've always thought you one of the more reasonable of the non-conservatives here at Wizbang, by the way. It strikes me odd you'd go nearly full-blown 'Lee Ward' in your 3:34 post.

Now there's something li... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Now there's something like this - and for all your protestations that the listserv is harmless, when you couple that with something like this group con-call, there does come a point where you associate the preparation of multiple people with the actions (and words) of a few.

I understand how the brains of conspiracy theorists work, thank you. People in the media use email! Liberal political action groups use phones! It's a giant conspiracy to march us all to socialist doom!

And I've always thought you one of the more reasonable of the non-conservatives here at Wizbang, by the way. It strikes me odd you'd go nearly full-blown 'Lee Ward' in your 3:34 post.

Well, with a topic this incredibly stupid, I don't know how else to respond other than to point out how ridiculous the logic behind it is. I use the same tone when dealing with troothers, birthers, and moon landing conspiracists.

Mantis -The proble... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Mantis -

The problem is that, unlike the troofers, birthers, and MLC folks - this is much more plauible and convincing. Get influential groups together to decide what the issue of the day is going to be, and you get a slant in the news coverage, no matter how you try to paint it.

Honestly, I don't think getting left-wing bloggers, policy wonks and academics together and talking with political reporters and magazine writers on a daily basis is going to produce unbiased output. If you've got bad astigmatism and can't see straight in the first place, it's hard to draw a straight line without outside aid.

The problem is that, unl... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The problem is that, unlike the troofers, birthers, and MLC folks - this is much more plauible and convincing.

Yes, very convincing. I'm swept away.

Get influential groups together to decide what the issue of the day is going to be, and you get a slant in the news coverage, no matter how you try to paint it.

Tell me how partisan political groups coordinating is new or remarkable in any way. Of course they want to slant news coverage. So do conservative groups! That's the game, fella.

Honestly, I don't think getting left-wing bloggers, policy wonks and academics together and talking with political reporters and magazine writers on a daily basis is going to produce unbiased output.

Well, that's not what the Politico article said. It said there was a listserv those people use to have discussions with their fellow professionals. Not that they get together, not that they do anything on a daily basis, just that they have a listserv for discussion. So what?

Tell me how partisan pol... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Tell me how partisan political groups coordinating is new or remarkable in any way. Of course they want to slant news coverage. So do conservative groups! That's the game, fella.

Mantis, the problem is that journalists are part of the partisan political group here.


For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.

Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy?

Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. "Basically," he says, "it's just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely."


And we're supposed to trust... (Below threshold)

And we're supposed to trust the MSM?
http://www.rightklik.net/

Hank, maybe they can't w... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Hank, maybe they can't write about JList because JList hasn't told them to write about JList. Now you have wondering - who exactly is writing President Teleprompter's scripts, anyway?

THE FIRST RULE OF J-LIST: YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT J-LIST.

No, we're supposed to scorn... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

No, we're supposed to scorn it while shamelessly promoting our blog in comment threads.

Mantis, the problem is t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mantis, the problem is that journalists are part of the partisan political group here.

We were talking about two different things. The JournoList, and the progressive group conference call. Do try to keep up.

For the past two y... (Below threshold)
Tim:
For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.

We were talking about two different things. The JournoList, and the progressive group conference call. Do try to keep up.

No, Mantis, we're talking about the JournoList. Do try to fucking read.

No dipshit, JLawson brought... (Below threshold)
mantis:

No dipshit, JLawson brought up the conference call, and I was responding to him. We, meaning he/she and I, were talking about two different things. All you have to do is read the thread.

No dipshit, JLawson brou... (Below threshold)
Tim:

No dipshit, JLawson brought up the conference call, and I was responding to him. We, meaning he/she and I, were talking about two different things. All you have to do is read the thread.

The original post and the entire thread are about the JournoList. JLawson's only mention of the conference call is an addendum to the Jlist conversation. Your only mention of the conference call is this:


I understand how the brains of conspiracy theorists work, thank you. People in the media use email! Liberal political action groups use phones! It's a giant conspiracy to march us all to socialist doom!

and you want us to believe you were on a tangent and talking about daily conference calls all along? Remind me not to have a conversation with you if there are any shiny objects around.

The original post and th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The original post and the entire thread are about the JournoList.

Yes, I understand that, but JLawson brought up the conference call, referenced it in this statement,

"Get influential groups together to decide what the issue of the day is going to be"

Which I responded to, and then you responded to as if we were talking about JournoList.

Quit being such a fucking retard.

Yes, the conference call, w... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Yes, the conference call, which is made up of memmbers of the JournoList, which is what this thread and post are all abo -- LOOK, A SQUIRELL!!

Liberal activists like Ezra... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Liberal activists like Ezra Klein (and Yglesias; and Atrios; and JM Marshall) are actually policy wonks, so yes, it would make sense that journalists wish to hear what they have to say about fucking policy.

Conservative activists don't like these conversations because they involve a nuanced grasp of social policy and economics and nuance is for limp-wristed Ivy Leaguers.

Liberal activists like E... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Liberal activists like Ezra Klein (and Yglesias; and Atrios; and JM Marshall) are actually policy wonks, so yes, it would make sense that journalists wish to hear what they have to say about fucking policy.

Conservative activists don't like these conversations because they involve a nuanced grasp of social policy and economics and nuance is for limp-wristed Ivy Leaguers.

It actually should make sense that journalists would wish to hear what conservative policy wonks think, too, but they don't. That might lead to balanced and impartial journalism. Nuance.

Yes, the conference call... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Yes, the conference call, which is made up of memmbers of the JournoList,

No, it's not. It's a conference call of political action groups. Reading is fundamental, fuckwit.

Seriously, just stop. I'm not going to bother with someone who repeatedly refuses to read what he is talking about.

Now you guys have done it! ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Now you guys have done it! You've pushed Kos to reveal the vast left wing conspiracy!

We're going to have to bring him up on charges at the next cabal meeting. Err... that don't exist.




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