No, that is not a typo. The Journolist was an email group of Leftist and Moderate journalists, put together by journalist Ezra Klein. They could go there and bash conservatives. When Tucker Carlson tried to join, he was told that the group was for Leftists and Moderates only. There were 400 members of the group.
We have been following the story, but for various reasons, haven’t had much to say so far. In a nutshell, the list confirms any and all dark thoughts that you may have had about “The Profession Of Journalism” and the filter through which you learn about what is happening in the world. Yes, Virginia, it is distorted. This is a good overview of the situation
Before we start, allow me to bash “The Profession of Journalism” once more, with accuracy. With professions that we respect, the practitioner usually delivers on the promise, the definition really of the field. This is doable, because professions define themselves. Take the example of doctors, the medical profession. They go to school to learn about the human body, about illnesses, and about how to heal us. Ultimately, they fail with each one of us, but along the way, until the very end, they do a lot of good. We can measure it. Compare your experience handling strep throat by yourself with a visit to the doc and a prescription for antibiotics. They define what they do and they do it. They work to improve on their ability to help sick people, and in my lifetime I’ve seen miraculous improvements. Are there bad apples? A few, but they are definitely not the norm. How about the legal profession? Lawyers are trickier, (Shakespeare had something to say about them), but again, they define what they do and generally do it. The accused gets representation, and so forth. They understand the law of the United States and of the state in which they practice. So what exactly to journalists do? As we’ve pointed out on this site many times, they missed two of the largest events in the 20th century, the famine in Russia under Communism and the Holocaust. Abu Ghraib got more coverage than the Holocaust. So we know they don’t report events particularly well.
Let’s read what journalists are up to:
David Weigel, a former Washington Post reporter, is sorry–so sorry he apologized twice. Last Thursday Weigel issued his first apology on the Post’s website:
I’m a member of an off-the-record list-serv called “Journolist,” founded by my colleague Ezra Klein. Last Monday, I was deluged with angry e-mail after posting a story about Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) that was linked by the Drudge Report with a headline intimating that I defended his roughing-up of a young man with a camera; after this, the Washington Examiner posted a gossip item about my dancing at a friend’s wedding. Unwisely, I lashed out to Journolist, which I’ve come to view as a place to talk bluntly to friends.
Below the fold are quotes from me e-mailing the list that day–quotes that I’m told a gossip Web site will post today. I apologize for much of what I wrote, and apologize to readers.
Most of the quotes were silly insults–e.g., “This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.” The apology left us scratching our head; possibly excepting a reference to “Paultard Tea Party people,” we didn’t see anything worth troubling oneself to get offended over.
It turned out, however, that Weigel’s apology was incomplete. On Friday The Daily Caller published excerpts from Weigel’s Journolist messages on other days, and some of them were considerably worse than the quotes he had revealed himself. He used a Watergate-era obscenity to describe opponents of ObamaCare, referred to Sarah Palin’s “death panel lie,” and made baseless accusations of racism.
Weigel’s beat at the Post was the conservative movement. Yet here he was on an ideologically exclusive list–conservatives need not apply–insulting and denouncing the subjects of his coverage to a supposedly off-the-record audience of some 400. The Post had initially stood by him, but the Caller’s revelations made it impossible to take him seriously as a fair-minded chronicler of the right. He resigned on Friday, and his second apology appeared yesterday on BigGovernment.com.
Get it? The Washington Post hired this guy to cover the “Conservative Movement”.
We wish Weigel well, and far be it from us to criticize another journalist for expressing opinions. He obviously was ill suited for his old job as a straight news reporter, but we’re sure he’ll land on his feet in a position that allows him to be polemical.
One quote from the Caller piece, however, went too far even for an opinion journalist:
After Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat, threatening to kill the health care legislation by his presence, Weigel stressed how important it was for reporters to highlight what a terrible candidate his opponent Martha Coakley had been.
“I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital, because it’s 1) true and 2) unreasonable panic about it is doing more damage to the Democrats,” Weigel wrote.
Remember, Weigel’s supposedly off-the-record audience consisted of hundreds of journalists, both left-wing and purportedly objective. What it appears he was doing was not merely expressing an opinion but engaging in partisan politics–i.e., advising other journalists on how they should tailor their coverage so as to avoid “doing more damage to the Democrats.”
We surmise that this was not an isolated occurrence–that a lot of the discussion on Journolist consisted of this sort of blatantly partisan strategizing. We’re certainly open to being proved wrong, if Journolist founder Ezra Klein–who still is at the Post–or any other member of the now-defunct list would like to supply us with a copy of its archives. We’re willing to promise our source anonymity and even buy a round of drinks, though we’re afraid we are not in a position to match Andrew Breitbart’s offer of $100,000.
So that’s what they do. They are an arm of the Democrat Party. And, as long as they define themselves that way, openly, we’re ok with it. We can work around it. But the condescending, smirky, little attitude that without them, we yokels would be lost, that they perform a vital function, and that function is to accurately report on events here and abroad, needs to go. “The Profession of Journalism” is a PR firm for the Democrat Party. Let’s hope someone takes Breitbart up on his offer.