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.