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Breaking: Documents show liberal journalists collaborated to kill all stories linking Rev. Jeremiah Wright to Barack Obama

****Bumped and Updated****

The Daily Caller has a big, big story that confirms what so many conservatives suspected about the media's treatment of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his association with Barack Obama: liberal and progressive journalists purposefully collaborated - plotted really - to kill the stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his 20 year association with Barack Obama.

Flashback to April 2008 and to the presidential debate hosted by ABC News and moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous. It was Stephanopolous who asked Obama about his relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Wright's videos that surfaced in which he made incendiary remarks about the United States of America being a racist country and 9/11 being America's chickens coming home to roost. The Daily Caller writes:

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."

Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

The Wright scandal was but a blip in the media's fawning coverage of Barack Obama, which Bernie Goldberg documented and dissected in his book A Slobbering Love Affair, yet these journalists, professors, and activists were still outraged at this one episode of Obama being asked tough and important questions about his past radical associations:

In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, "Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists."

Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: "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."

What a classic case of projection. So, journalists only "serve the people" when they shoot down any and all attempts to probe into then-candidate Obama's past radical associations and, instead, spoon feed the "people" their personal narrative about Obama.

Objectively, reporting on Jeremiah Wright's views and how Obama was influenced by them would actually have served the "people," especially since the majority of the American people have watched with a growing sense frustration and anger Obama repeatedly disregard the American people's wishes and push through his radical, big government agenda.

If these journalists actually had been objective, they wouldn't have allowed themselves to become so emotionally attached to Obama and his candidacy. They would have seen that Reverend Wright's anti-American and anti-Semitic rants were a legitimate news story, and would have treated it as such.

Instead, the JournoList members brainstormed ways they could influence the rest of the media's coverage of Wright so they stayed far, far away from Rev. Wright and his relationship with Obama:

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."

Further into the article, we learn that some journalists didn't like defending Barack Obama from associations with Rev. Wright. Katha Pollitt said she was tired of "defending the indefensible," a reference to how she and other feminists hated having to publicly dismiss multiple reports of Bill Clinton's sexual harassment of other women.

Spencer Ackerman wrote in response to Pollitt that he didn't like deflecting attention from one of Obama's scary associations either, but essentially said the means justify the ends when it comes to preventing the Republican candidate from winning the White House:

But what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals...What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger'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. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

Chris Hayes at the Nation advanced this argument as well:

Chris Hayes of the Nation posted on April 29, 2008, urging his colleagues to ignore Wright. Hayes directed his message to "particularly those in the ostensible mainstream media" who were members of the list.

The Wright controversy, Hayes argued, was not about Wright at all. Instead, "It has everything to do with the attempts of the right to maintain control of the country."

Hayes castigated his fellow liberals for criticizing Wright. "All this hand wringing about just
how awful and odious Rev. Wright remarks are just keeps the hustle going."

"Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians -- men, women, children, the infirmed -- on its hands. You'll forgive me if I just can't quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama's pastor," Hayes wrote.

The so called "objective" journalists protected Obama from his willful 20 year association with Rev. Wright in order to protect Obama's candidacy and prevent the eeeevil Republicans from winning the presidency. Yet, we're supposed to believe there is no anti-Republican/conservative and pro-Democrat/liberal/progressive bias permeating through the mainstream media?

Riiight.

Update: Some of our commenters who ascribe to the liberal point of view have have taken issue with my characterization that the journalists referenced in the quoted portions of the article are "objective," because these writers are from liberally leaning publications such as The Nation, The Washington Independent, and Mother Jones. So I thought I'd address this issue.

Many accept that the three pubs I listed above are liberally leaning opinion publications, yet The Washington Independent and Mother Jones promote themselves as being news publications that maintain objectivity, while The Nation says that it puts a lot of effort into be as objective and hard hitting as possible.

The Baltimore Sun and the Guardian speak for themselves.

Now, let's take a look at three of the publications I referenced in the post.

The Nation does not actively promote itself as a news source, but at the same time it doesn't mention anything about having any kind of liberal slant. Rather, it put part of the pub's founding prospectus on its "About and Contact" page (emphasis mine):

The Nation will not be the organ of any party, sect, or body. It will, on the contrary, make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred.

-- from The Nation's founding prospectus, 1865

By prominently positioning this quote from the publication's founding prospectus at the top of its About and Contact page, The Nation is making a clear commitment to its readers that its mission is to be as honest and objective as possible in its political writing. The prospectus does not use the word "reporting"; rather, its wording creates an expectation of some semblance of objectivity, which writer Chris Hayes fails to live up to, particularly when he wrote this:

Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians -- men, women, children, the infirmed -- on its hands. You'll forgive me if I just can't quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama's pastor.

The Washington Independent's tag line is "National News in Context." Not National Opinion in Context. One could try to argue that the words "in context" is code for "in liberal/progressive context," but no where on its home page or about page did I find the words liberal or progressive. Instead, this is how the site describes itself in its About Us page:

The Washington Independent is a news site covering national politics and policy. We seek to escape the echo chamber to place the news in context and report the untold stories that truly matter. Our integration of breaking news, in-depth reporting and insightful analysis allows us to track the latest developments while also telling a larger story.

These folks promote themselves as a trusted and independent (i.e., objective) news source.

As for MoJo, its tag line is "Smart, Fearless Journalism." Not Smart, Fearless Opinion. Journalism. Those styles of writing are guided by two very different and universally accepted standards. Now, MoJo's About page says this (emphasis mine):

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting. We currently have two main "platforms": an award-winning bimonthly national magazine (circulation 240,000), and a website featuring new, original reporting 24-7. (In the past we've had a radio show and TV specials; theme parks are in the conceptual stage.) Why should you read or support us? Because "smart, fearless journalism" keeps people informed--"informed" being pretty much indispensable to a democracy that actually works. Because we've been ahead of the curve time and again. Because this is journalism not funded by or beholden to corporations. Because we bust bullshit and get results. Because we're expanding our investigative coverage while the rest of the media are contracting. Because you can count on us to take no prisoners, cleave to no dogma, and tell it like it is. Plus we're pretty damn fun.

Again, one could argue that the words "social justice" are a clear give away of its liberal/progressive slant; however, note how it also says it specializes in "investigative" reporting, which means the folks at this pub want their reporting to be taken seriously. Additionally, they insist that as investigative journalists, they "take no prisoners," "cleave to no dogma," and "tell it like it is." That sure sounds like they're declaring themselves to be objective journalists to me.

Using a discerning eye, one can't help but conclude that The Washington Independent and MoJo are screaming, "we are not opinion writers!" While The Nation does not go as far as the Independent and MoJo do, they still leave the reader with an expectation that they will try to be objective.

Update II: Fred Barnes and Karl Rove respond to Ackerman's idea that any conservative journalist who mentions Rev. Wright, mentioning Barnes and Rove by name, should be called a racist:

"I'd like to hear an explanation from those who participated in the Journolist about this," Barnes said. "Why didn't they quit the thing when smearing other journalists to help Barack Obama was advocated? Why didn't they denounce the idea in unison?"

"I thought it was a revealing insight in the attitude of one minor player in the D.C. world of journalism," Rove said of Ackerman's comments. "It's an even more important insight into a broader group of more prominent journalists that they seem to be willing to tolerate the suggestion that they should all tell a deliberate lie or that they should take somebody's head and shove it through a plate glass window. I would hope that somebody would say, 'Mr. Ackerman, do you really believe we ought to fabricate a lie about people just because we don't agree with them?'"



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Comments (66)

Good article, with one majo... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Good article, with one major, glaring ommision. The biggest and most important fact about Rev. Wright is that he is a Marxist and his church is openly Marxist. That's what drew the Obama's to him. Sure Wright was "anti-American and anti-Semitic" but that because he was a Marxist.

I can understand why the leftists/media want to hide this fact, but it really irks me when those on the right ignore this 8,000 pound gorilla.

Everything about Obama is rooted in Marxism. Plain and simple.

The journalists you cite, a... (Below threshold)
James H:

The journalists you cite, at the sources you cite, do not to my knowledge endeavor to be "objective" journalists. The Nation, Washington Independent, and Mother Jones are explicitly agenda-driven publications.

The Baltimore Sun columnist is troubling, but he is by definition an opinion journalist.

James H, did you used to po... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

James H, did you used to post as "Mantis"?

I ask because he was always in extreme denial about the obviuos overwhelming bias in the media, too.

No, I did not, Bunyan. In ... (Below threshold)
James H:

No, I did not, Bunyan. In this context, I'm not speaking to any bias or nonbias in the media. I am only speaking to the defects in this particular piece.

James H,"Time" and... (Below threshold)
SER:

James H,

"Time" and "Politico" were mentioned as well. Troubling for you?

A continuing mime of the MF... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

A continuing mime of the MFM. "We don't report it, it didn't happen".

SER, I paged through the ar... (Below threshold)
James H:

SER, I paged through the article a couple times, but I saw only the general mention of Politico and Time. I saw no specific comments attributed to journalists from either of those two publications.

Garand:Fox News, a... (Below threshold)
James H:

Garand:

Fox News, and come to think of it, MSNBC as well, would be more tolerable if run by mimes.

Sockpuppet media I hope you... (Below threshold)
914:

Sockpuppet media I hope your happy with the choice you made for the country.

"I saw no specific comments... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

"I saw no specific comments attributed to journalists from either of those two publications."

I didn't see it, there for it didn't happen.
So VERY similar to the report...

The media is dead as far as being 'objective' after this, not that I trusted them anyway.

Gmac:All I am sayi... (Below threshold)
James H:

Gmac:

All I am saying is this. The Daily Caller raised an allegation, but as far as I could tell, the Caller did not adequately substantiate that allegation. If you saw something specific inside the linked Caller article, please, go ahead and quote it.

The point is that "journali... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

The point is that "journalists" are colluding to manipulate opinion.

While in general I agree with your point about reporters vs. columnists (a point most lefties overlook when ranting about Beck, Limbaugh, et al.), isn't it troubling that these various contributors to the news media are coordinating their takes on events to the benefit of one party?

And isn't it further troubling that the NYT, WaPo, and the alphabet networks have uniformly embargoed the New Black Panther Party scandal? Doesn't that suggest that the partisan bias extends to the newsroom?

This works for them only if... (Below threshold)
Roy:

This works for them only if most people are stupid, or because of it.

The Daily Caller raised ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

The Daily Caller raised an allegation, but as far as I could tell, the Caller did not adequately substantiate that allegation.

Please. How could they possibly substantiate the allegation that would satisfy you?

They were colluding to manipulate public opinion - your opinion - to advance a leftist agenda, by deflecting legitimate inquiry away from one of Obama's closest associates, from whom we could infer something about Obama the man.

Just about sums it up:... (Below threshold)
ParanoidMystic:

Just about sums it up:

"Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians -- men, women, children, the infirmed -- on its hands. You'll forgive me if I just can't quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama's pastor,"

Jay G:To be honest... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay G:

To be honest, I haven't followed the NBPP issue. It hasn't been on my radar, so I can't comment one way or the other on it.

As to substantiating the allegation, all it would have taken in the Caller article was something like this:

In a responding email, John Q. Schwartz, Politico's White House reporter, suggested that the entire affair be blamed on butterflies.

I want something specific, that's all.

Personally, just the mere h... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Personally, just the mere hint of the MSM colluding to present "all the news that's fit to print" in their opinion to drive the publics opinion is reason enough to believe that they are all a bunch of lying SOB's.

Yes, I'd pay a substantial sum to see the Journolist message database because the book and news stories it would generate would make Woodward and Bernstein look like cub reporters.

Leeward, you've lost your m... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Leeward, you've lost your mojo. Don't you mean that Tucker Carlson, Neil Patel, Dick Cheney, Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, Kim Priestap, iwogisdead, and everybody else is racist?

Ignore the fool behind comm... (Below threshold)
914:

Ignore the fool behind comment 18.

Nice try James and Lee. Yo... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Nice try James and Lee. You two are enemies of the Republic. Distraction is your best weapon against truth. Fact is, what was reported did happen. News media outside of Fox reported very little about Wright and minimized Obama's involvement with him. Innocent men were lableled racist. Those things cannot be denied because they happened. Obama when to that church for 20 years. If you believe he was somehow not influenced by that rhetoric you are the fools most of us know you to be or you are closet communists as I believe and should be subject to very harsh treatment.

James: "I want something... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

James: "I want something specific, that's all"

From what I heard on the radio while I was out getting lunch, there's more to this story and there are a lot more documents that haven't yet been released-- so we'll see.

Bunyan:Then let th... (Below threshold)
James H:

Bunyan:

Then let them release the rest of the story.

Zel:Enemy of the R... (Below threshold)
James H:

Zel:

Enemy of the Republic? That's funny. I'll have to bronze it and put it right next to my other title: "apologist for the mysogynist heterosexist patriarchy." I still don't know what that means.

To be honest, I haven't ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

To be honest, I haven't followed the NBPP issue. It hasn't been on my radar, so I can't comment one way or the other on it.

Fair enough, James H, and thank you for your honest response.

But think about this: why isn't the NBPP issue on your radar screen?

A couple of thugs in leather jackets, one with a nightstick, turning away from a polling place those people whose opinions they don't like? How is voter intimidation not a huge story?

Suppose the Aryan Nations put a couple of thugs outside of a polling place and turned away all Obama supporters. Think that that might make the news?

We know all about Bo, the First Dog, and how toned Michelle's arms are, but voter intimidation, something that cuts to the heart of our democracy? Crickets.

And now we know why. Is it hard to believe that the NBPP story has been intentionally suppressed just like the Jeremiah Wright story?

Lee, <a href="http://wizban... (Below threshold)

Lee, you wrote this in an effort to show that I am being inconsistent in my interpretation that TWI and MoJo and to a certain degree The Nation are promoting themselves as being sources for objective news.

Pot calling the Kettle black.

The "Daily Caller" is a right wing agenda-driven rag:

The Daily Caller is a political journalism website based in Washington, D.C., United States with a focus on original reporting and breaking news, founded by journalist and political pundit Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, former adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The Daily Caller launched on January 11, 2010.

No where in The Daily Caller's description does it promote itself as being objective in the way that The Nation, The Washington Independent, and MoJo do.

Saying the DC is a political journalism site is very different from saying it is a news journalism site. And let's compare the description you provided to the ones TWI and MoJo provided.

First, The Washington Independent sets up an expectation for independent news reporting with its name alone. How is Stephen Ackerman's call for labeling Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, and whoever else reported on the Rev. Wright/Obama connection racists an independent voice in news journalism?

The accusation that Republicans and conservatives "are all racists!" has been the militant leftists' and progressives' battle cry in their war against conservatives and Republicans for decades.

But MoJo went even further when it said that it will "take no prisoners, cleave to no dogma, and tell it like it is."

Where does the Daily Caller provide an audaciously worded commitment to objectivity and Truth as that?

It doesn't. Rather, it promotes original and professional political reporting, breaking news, and insightful commentary, and that's exactly what it does. Which means I'm not being inconsistent in any way shape or form.

Lee, you've got no argument here. Just accept it and get it over with.

And now we know wh... (Below threshold)
Stan:
And now we know why. Is it hard to believe that the NBPP story has been intentionally suppressed just like the Jeremiah Wright story?

The horse shit about Bob Schieffer, of The Communist Barack System, not knowing about the NBPP kerfluffle is just that -- horse shit. Schieffer knew all about the details the day the charges were dropped, but like a good little Obama loving media lapdog, he chose to ignore it. The good folks on the Journlist saw to that. So when a MSM person and the people, who echo the Journolist talking points are just being willfully ignorant.

Mother Jonews is objective?... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Mother Jonews is objective? Yeah, sure it is. Had a subscription to it back about (mumble-too-damn-many) years ago, and found it to be slanted really hard to the left then. Didn't bother renewing, wasn't interested in perpetual outrage about stuff that wasn't terribly important.

Investigative? They sure were. Thorough on the stuff they covered? Yep. Approaching their investigations from a particular point of view? You bet.

I'm sorry to see (well, maybe sorry is too strong a word... possibly 'mildly regretfully unsurprised' would be better) that they haven't broadened their horizons.

Interesting circular logic ... (Below threshold)

Interesting circular logic you've uncovered here, Kim:

"Bringing up the Reverend Wright issue is racist."

"Only racists bring up the Reverend Wright issue."

I love it.

J.

(And I'm almost ready to forgive you for stepping all over MY coverage of the Mass. companies canceling their health coverage last Sunday...)

(And I'm almost re... (Below threshold)
(And I'm almost ready to forgive you for stepping all over MY coverage of the Mass. companies canceling their health coverage last Sunday...)

Sorry, Jay. I was thinking about you when I posted it, but I figured I handled it in a way that allowed you to write a more expansive on post on the original article.

Investigative? The... (Below threshold)
James H:
Investigative? They sure were. Thorough on the stuff they covered? Yep. Approaching their investigations from a particular point of view? You bet.

Which brings up something else. I wish we had more partisan journalism. Not pundits sitting in a studio snarking about the news or reciting the day's talking points. I'm talking real, investigative journalism by a reporter with worn-out shoe leather, a cheap suit, a battered fedora, a strong work habit, caffein-dependency issues, wife and kids he'd rather not see, and an axe to grind.

A few partisans on a mailing list sniping about Wright doesn't qualify. That's just whining and crying. And, I'm sorry, but the Daily Caller turning up emails among journalists doesn't qualify either. That's just sniping. I'm thinking something substantive.

"It would create quite a... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"It would create quite a stir, I bet, and be a warning against future behavior of the sort," Schaller wrote.

Not only did they try to control the message, but anyone else who stepped out of line would be in their crosshairs.

Whether these people are opinion writers is irrelevent. Couple this with members of congress willing to repeat what these "reporters" say and the appalling lack of news coverage by ABCNBCCBSCNNMSNBC of any events that put this administration in a bad light and you have a really nasty recipe.

Many people that come here ... (Below threshold)
gladius:

Many people that come here had an idea of what Obama was. The fact that the media did not vet him at all speaks for itself. Hell,I 1st read about the NBPP and voter intimidation on election day for Christsakes so don't tell me you don't know about it ...it was out there. What my question is how many of those that did vote for Obama would do so now...STORY AT 11...ya there will more to come and then we will see.

I wish we had more parti... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I wish we had more partisan journalism.

Me too, as long as 1) it's open, and doesn't pretend to be even-handed or objective (journalists are moving in this direction by essentially admitting they are leftist operatives), and 2) the partisan journalism includes loyal American as well as the liberal viewpoint.

James H. gives the typical ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

James H. gives the typical liberal talking points when facts go against their arguments. "I haven't followed it", "I didn't see it", etc. Thank God James H. has a TV so he would believe the twin towers came down by terrorists. ww

Seriously, WW, I haven't fo... (Below threshold)
James H:

Seriously, WW, I haven't followed it. I know the story has mostly rattled around Fox News, and I keep the cable news off. I've avoided cable TV news ever since the OJ trial.

About the NBP -- I think there's a story there, but I'm not sure how large the misfeasance (if any) is relevant to the coverage poured on by right-leaning sites.

--JH

James H. - Department of Ju... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

James H. - Department of Justice dismissing charges of voter intimidation because the victims are white and the thugs are black. Think that is a large enough "misfeasance" for the MSM to at least ask questions about?

Good question ... but it's ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Good question ... but it's hard to go one way or the other on it consider the heat that's been drawn up around the story. Honestly, I'd like to see what Wolf's committee comes up with.

I don't think I've seen any... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

I don't think I've seen anyone (at least on the internet) so desperately in need of attention as Leeward. Don't they have hookers in his town?

Take a trip to Vegas, Leeward--it'll do you a world of good. And always take the odds behind the line.

James H. - Department of... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

James H. - Department of Justice dismissing charges of voter intimidation because the victims are white and the thugs are black.

Actually, there's a bit more to the story. Not all of the victims were white. Also, IIRC, the DoJ dropped the charges after it had won the case. Stinky, no?

And even the WaPo's ombudsman conceded that WaPo should have covered the story.

Basically, James H, get informed.

If the KKK, Aryan Nations, or American Nazi Party stationed thugs outside of a polling place, would you remain ignorant of that too, or be unclear on the magnitude of their malfeasance?

Be honest: you'd be all over it. You know you would.

The reason it's only on Fox is because the cadres in journalism colluded to keep it quiet. The clip is on YouTube; check it out. I know you don't want to, because doing so will threaten your world view, but there's no excuse for ignorance. This is important.

Guevara:Take a Val... (Below threshold)
James H:

Guevara:

Take a Valium or three, 'K? You're frothing a bit. First off, I'd be hard-pressed to see some sort of newsroom collusion here. Your average newsroom runs on a wing and a prayer, and your average newspaper company can't keep the newspaper in the black. So I find it a bit unbelievable that the journos are sitting in a backroom somewhere stirring up a plot.

(And the Daily Caller's JournoList revelations basically consist of a bunch of opinion journalists and partisans trying to wrangle some sort of statement).

And in fact, I did read the WaPo ombudsman's take on the issue. That's where I found out about the forthcoming Wolf report.

The problem is that I'm not proxy to what goes on in newsrooms today, and I'm certainly not proxy to the inner workings of the Obama administration.

What I'm confronting right now is a story that a bunch of right-wingers say should be a story and a bunch of left-wingers say is not a story at all, move along folks.

Yes, Jay G., there is more ... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

Yes, Jay G., there is more to the story. For example, there's what John Fund reported in the WaPo: "There was outrage over the decision among Congressional Republicans, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division--especially after it was learned one of the defendants who walked was Jerry Jackson, a member of Philadelphia's 14th Ward Democratic Committee and a credentialed poll watcher for the Democratic Party last Election Day."

Then, there's "credentialed poll watcher" Jackson's MySpace page:"Mr. Jackson's MySpace page still lists one of his main 'general interests' as 'Killing Crakkkas.'"

Now, come on James H., if you were a "journalist", wouldn't this pique your curiousity just a little bit?

Actually, Walt, my curiosit... (Below threshold)
James H:

Actually, Walt, my curiosity is piqued quite a bit, though this is outside my usual sphere of interest; I tend to be more interested in religious liberties than in race issues. I'm chasing down what journalism and commentary I can find about it, including a NYT article, commentary on the Volokh Conspiracy, and bits and pieces from a variety of other sources.

To be honest, Fox News and the assorted right-wingers pushing the story don't impress me very much. If Fox could, it would accuse President Obama of killing Santa Claus. But I'm quite interested in the fact that Media Matters is more or less saying the whole thing is a non-story. When somebody says, "Nothing to see here, move along," we all know what that means.

That said, however, there's more heat than light around this story. It's not clear where the decision to drop the case was made. Also unclear is the why of the story. Which is why I want to see what results from inquiries now under way.

You know James, several tim... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

You know James, several times above you've kinda dismissed this story because of the journalists that were quoted, but what would be really interesting to me is to see the full list of all the people who belong to and read this list even if they never post. It might be bigger than we think-- or it might be nothing. Sadly its unlikely that we'll ever know the whole truth-- just bits and pieces like this.

Too bad Attorney General Ho... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

Too bad Attorney General Holder doesn't share your curiousity, James H. He's refusing to allow DOJ employees to testify before the US Commission on Civil Rights. And just to get back to the focus of this post, if it wasn't for the "assorted right-wingers pushing the story", precious few, and certainly not you, would know a damn thing about it.

Okay James H, I'll take you... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Okay James H, I'll take your word for it, but it does further the notion the MSM isn't even mentioning this.

Also, I don't know why James H. is garnering negative points. He is never abusive, that I remember, but only disagrees. I can handle that. ww

P.:I'm sure we'll ... (Below threshold)
James H:

P.:

I'm sure we'll see more. I suspect that somebody formerly on JournoList is now employed at the Caller on a part-time or full-time basis, and that the Caller will release bits and pieces of the JournoList archives over the coming months to boost its hits.

But that's just idle speculation on my part.

As for the current story, we run into a lot of issues and some unknowables. For example, I subscribe to two very active professional lists. I only receive "digests" from them, and I seldom plunge into the digests to read them. Every so often, I'll scan one of the digests and say something in the group, but for the most part I'm silent.

If a journalist subscribed but didn't pay much attention to it, how can you accuse the journalist of collusion? More importantly, how could such a journalist defend himself against the charge of collusion. There's really not much way to go "I received the emails but I never read them," when in fact journalists receive a lot of emails they never read.

First off, I'd ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

First off, I'd be hard-pressed to see some sort of newsroom collusion here. Your average newsroom runs on a wing and a prayer, and your average newspaper company can't keep the newspaper in the black. So I find it a bit unbelievable that the journos are sitting in a backroom somewhere stirring up a plot.

Yeah, what with the price of pixels these days.

The problem is that I'm not proxy to what goes on in newsrooms today, and I'm certainly not proxy to the inner workings of the Obama administration.

Assuming you mean "privy," what does that have to do with anything? Holder calls America a nation of cowards when discussing race, Obama sits in Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years while he rants about how evil America and the white man are, Obama himself calls the police "stupid" for doing their job while his half-pint sidekick throws a racially-charged diatribe that gets him arrested. Against this backdrop in a case it had already won the DoJ drops charges against black thugs, one with a truncheon, standing in front of a polling place intimidating voters (including black voters) who don't propose to vote their way, a DoJ attorney resigns in protest, citing orders from on high not to prosecute blacks, and you find collusion hard to believe? At a minimum, we need a special prosecutor to find out the truth, whatever it may be.

And as for the JournoList revelations, they are like the VENONA decrypts - if they're authentic, they constitute conclusive proof of the collusion we have long suspected.

Now, are they authentic? Have you seen any denials of their authenticity? I haven't. Is it plausible that those called out by name in the revelations are unaware of such, or that they can't be bothered to deny the authenticity of the quotes attributed to them?

No. That is wholly implausible.

James H,Your willf... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H,

Your willfull blindness and ignorance regarding both what is going on at the DOJ with racialist policies regarding law enforcement and with the JournoList scandle du jour is truly remarkable.

You say that there is more heat than light with regard to the DOJ story, ignoring the fact that the DOJ had alrady won a more substantial judgement before they backed down. You ignore the fact that multiple career prosecutors for the civil rights division have resigned over a number of cases that have been dropped for racial reasons.

You are concerned that there is not some undefined threashhold of evidence to support criminal; conviction for collusion with the JournoList buffoons. This is hardly the first bit of evidence that they worked together for shaping a media response to an issue. There have been other stories percolating for the last year about the members shaping stories through the list and people have shown examples of how multiple members have authored columns close in time with virtually the same take on current events.

Given that one of the stated purposes for the JournoList was to provide a place where the members could bounce ideas for a story off one another why do you find it so surprising that they would discuss how to address a story in the news? This was nearly the express purpose of the list, to shape the news narrative to suit their own personal beliefs.

In both cases the DOJ and the JournoList there is ample evidence of wrong doing. Ethical boundaries were not just crossed but obliterated. If you cannot bring yourself to face that fact you need to consider again what means you believe are appropriate to achieve your desired ends. If you cannot see that dishonest means are being used in both cases then you have a problem my friend.

RE #48. That's a valid poi... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

RE #48. That's a valid point. There's no way to prove they read the posts just because were on the list. Still with this particular list I'd sure like to see who all was on it.

I'm sure we'll ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I'm sure we'll see more. I suspect that somebody formerly on JournoList is now employed at the Caller on a part-time or full-time basis, and that the Caller will release bits and pieces of the JournoList archives over the coming months to boost its hits.

Probably, but also because doing so keeps the Reds off-balance. As ACORN found to its cost, settling on a Party line is risky when you don't know what patriotic Americans have. ACORN maintained it had turned away O'Keefe & Co. in a series of cities, only to have video released proving that they'd flat lied. Oops. Holding back some nuggets is just smart. Doing so only discomfits liars; someone telling the truth wouldn't care what other information the Daily Caller had, because that knowledge wouldn't affect their story.

As for the current story, we run into a lot of issues and some unknowables. For example, I subscribe to two very active professional lists. I only receive "digests" from them, and I seldom plunge into the digests to read them. Every so often, I'll scan one of the digests and say something in the group, but for the most part I'm silent.

Irrelevant.

If a journalist subscribed but didn't pay much attention to it, how can you accuse the journalist of collusion? More importantly, how could such a journalist defend himself against the charge of collusion. There's really not much way to go "I received the emails but I never read them," when in fact journalists receive a lot of emails they never read.

Great. So we cannot accuse those who didn't read the emails of collusion. I'll buy that. Conversely, then, you've agreed that people who read the emails and paid attention to them have colluded. And we know that some of these "journalists" read the emails and paid attention to them - because they responded to them. So the "but I didn't inhale" defense is not open to them.

Put it this way: suppose CE... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Put it this way: suppose CEOs from a given industry held secret communications - which JournoList was - and then decided to raise prices across a bunch of the represented companies raised their prices at the same time.

Wouldn't you think that just possibly there was a teeny weeny chance of collusion there? The Anti-Trust Division of the DoJ certainly would.

So we can't accuse anyone o... (Below threshold)
jim m:

So we can't accuse anyone of collusion because we cannot substantiate whether or not they read the comments. And even if they did read them and respond to them they could claim that it did not influence their professional activities.

Let's just cut the crap. If they were on the list it shows a dramatic lapse of ethics that should disqualify them from their current poses as objective journalists. Even opinion columnists cannot claim to be anything more that political activists having been party to such discussions whether they were active participants or merely passive bystanders.

Yeah, and how do we know th... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Yeah, and how do we know that Jack Ruby didn't load his pistol with blanks, only to have someone replace them with live ammo? And maybe Jack didn't mean to pull the trigger, maybe he just sneezed and reflexively closed his hand. We have no proof. Cut him loose.

You can accuse all you like... (Below threshold)
James H:

You can accuse all you like, of course. But accusations are always subject to tests of credibility.

But accusations are alwa... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

But accusations are always subject to tests of credibility.

Obviously, yes.

But let's distinguish two different defenses.

1. The emails accurately reflect coordination of the narrative between putatively independent leftists, and are no big deal; and

2. The emails are forgeries.

You seem to be tacitly admitting that the "accusations," if true, are grave, but denying the credibility of the accusations.

The emails, on their face, establish collusion between JournoList participants on how to manipulate the news to assist Barack Obama. They say as much, almost in as many words. There's no question about that.

So if authentic, the emails are damning. The only other defense is that they're inauthentic. If that's what you believe, please link to a denial - from one of the participants - of the authenticity of the emails. I haven't seen one. Have you?

Failing a denial regarding their authenticity, the emails establish collusion between the dramatis personae to manipulate public opinion. Is there a third possibility?

Jay, I'm not denying authen... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay, I'm not denying authenticity of the emails, as I was never a member of JournoList. Rather, the emails I've seen narrated so far suggest to me that we're seeing exchanges among ideologues, not among the "big dog" journalists.

Jay, I'm not de... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Jay, I'm not denying authenticity of the emails, as I was never a member of JournoList. Rather, the emails I've seen narrated so far suggest to me that we're seeing exchanges among ideologues, not among the "big dog" journalists.

Good, we're making progress.

We're agreed that there was an attempt by leftists to manipulate the news, and now are considering the success of that attempt.

The emails are indeed between "B" list journalists, I fully agree with you there. But we only know the identities of about 20 of JournoList subscribers, of which there are (IIRC) 438. Who are the others? I don't know. It's a secret. Suppose the list includes "big dog" journalists (which it may well). Would that trouble you? (It would me.) Suppose the list includes prominent figures - journalists, editors, or even publishers - from the NYT, WaPo, LAT, CNN, or NPR. That's a serious matter then, isn't it? And we don't know that that isn't the case. Why? Because the membership is secret.

Also, consider that today's "B" list is tomorrow's "A" list. Do we really want a cabal coordinating perspectives on the news to manipulate public opinion? Consider further that today's "A" list is probably less tech-savvy than the younger guys, and hence more likely to communicate by telephone, and so we wouldn't know about it. Sound implausible? Did the JournoList guys get the idea on their own? Maybe. Then again, maybe they just put a high-tech twist on a long-standing practice.

Look at yesterday's journalistic icons. Walter Duranty. Walter Cronkite. Dan Rather. Now all discredited as leftist hacks. Duranty extolled the virtues of Stalinist Russia, but neglected to mention the genocide of the Ukrainians. (Btw, my grandfather was Ukrainian.) Cronkite, we now know, was a leftist nutjob. Who knew back then? Dan Rather was indignant when he got caught with his pants down proferring forged documents, which suggests he'd done so successfully before.

Turn the situation around. Suppose news leaked of a cabal of conservative journalists (probably holding meetings in a phone booth) who colluded to support George Bush's attack on Iraq. You'd have a cow. So would I.

We as voters rely on journalists to give us good information, or at least to make clear that they have an ax to grind, so we can make good decisions. Behind the scenes collusion therefore cuts at the core of our democracy, because journalists are in effect our intelligence service (God help us).

That's the point.

"Fred Barnes, Karl... (Below threshold)
Neo:
"Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists."
InstaPundit & PajamasMedia asks ...
Is this quote from Spencer Ackerman evidence of actual malice? Could it be invoked in a future libel case against Ackerman or his employer to show a habit of recklessness?
Ooooow ! Legal action .. what a bummer. Bet Ackerman didn't talk to his lawyer before sending that e-mail.
Today's Daily Caller post j... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Today's Daily Caller post just went up showing JournoList members discussing the wisdom of getting the White House to revoke or at least refuse to renew Fox News' broadcast license.

What it doesn't say and what I am interested in is when this conversation took place. I seem to recall a move about a year ago to revoke Fox's White House credentials and to remove its reporters from the White House pool. The Administration even had a number of people go on Sunday talk shows making statements to the effect that they did not consider Fox a genuine news organization.

How much of what was on the JournoList was actually acted upon by its members? Was the administration lobbied to revoke Fox's license?

IF that turns out to be the case what should be done with the JournoList and its members? At the very least they should all be outed. I'm perfectly fine with them continuing to work in what passes for journalism today. I just want to know who I need to keep an eye on so they aren't selling out my freedoms.

Jim M:Today's ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim M:

Today's Daily Caller piece ... don't think it proves any collusion, but certainly a bit of bad judgment from journalists at Bloomberg and NPR.

The main issue with the Caller, IMO, is that the Caller is being pretty selective in its releases. Did other list members disagree? the Caller isn't very specific.

Honestly, though, I'm a bit tired of the Caller's stunt, and I don't think any more discussion here is going to be productive for me.

Jay G:

Don't know what the hell you're trying to accomplish; I don't think you're going to get much more then what I've already said. You'll have to pardon me if I hop off the circle now.

Wait, you're tired of the "... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Wait, you're tired of the "Caller's stunt"?

So after less than 48 hours of this news story you have grown tired of it? Perhaps it is because the story goes directly against your desires to wish that the media that supports many of your personal beliefs is being shown to be a fraud and the objectivity they so piously claimed is nothing but a sham to cover for their partisanship.

Jim M:Let met put ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim M:

Let met put it this way. If the Caller has dozens of emails proving that journalists eat babies, let the Caller just get on with the damn story. Releasing the material in dribs and drabs is, yes, a traffic-generating stunt.

Not to stray off-topic but ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Not to stray off-topic but in order to help James H. (since he's looking everywhere for information about the NBPP story and the DOJ except straight from the horse's mouth) here is a link to J. Christian Adams' initial story straight from him:

Unequal Law Enforcement Reigns at Obama's DOJ

And here's a link to subsequent articles he has offered up about his Congressional testimony and that of several others who have corroborated his testimony:

All stories

I think you'll find him to be lacking in any political bias and strictly interested in upholding the law equally among all parties. He's calls the shots exactly as they are.

James, here's how the game ... (Below threshold)
John:

James, here's how the game works you put out a little bit so it gets in the news (of course the MSM has to cooperate) then you put out a little more so it stays in the news. The MSM does it all the time. In this case it has to go this way or the MSM will simply ignore it. It has to become too big to ignore and go on too long to suspect it will go away. That's the plan and the reason for the drip, drip, drip, otherwise the MSM will just wait it out. So if you're bored move on but don't expect the other side to give up that easily.

Wildwillie, James is not ab... (Below threshold)
John:

Wildwillie, James is not abusive he's passive aggressive he says things like "take a vitamine or 3 your start to froth" any time it gets a little to hot for him.

james h - "Let met pu... (Below threshold)
Marc:

james h - "Let met put it this way. If the Caller has dozens of emails proving that journalists eat babies, let the Caller just get on with the damn story. Releasing the material in dribs and drabs is, yes, a traffic-generating stunt."

And that's a friggin' problem?

Why? That's what all media outlets do on many occasions.

Guess you've paid zero attention to the WaPo this week huh?




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