Journolist: Listening So You Don't Have To!


Git along little dawgies

Over at RCP Jay Cost is asking what’s so bad about journolisters?

It’s a good piece, and I urge you to read it, but here’s what I think:

Journolisters discourage listening among their readers and the general public, and if people are not listening, they are not thinking, either; they’re just following the moo-path, which appears to suit the journolisters just fine, since it is the one they’re forging.

When Jeremiah Wright’s America-damning, race-tainted rants were released to the public the journolisters–completely aware of how damaging Wright could be to Obama’s campaign–pondered how they could protect their candidate, minimize actual coverage of the story and, ultimately, render the entire topic of Wright and Obama toxic to anyone who dared pursue it:

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.”

Interesting quotes. Tomasky’s noble words are irony-drenched, since his suggestion to best-serve “discourse and the people” is to make sure no discourse occurs, thus keeping the people–who obviously can not be trusted to think for themselves–from thinking about Wright at all.

After all, if the American people had been given fair exposure to the rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright, they might have reasonably wondered, “if a man can be judged by his friends, and Obama claims Wright to be his friend, what does this say about who Obama is? Hey, who is Obama?”

The last thing the mainstream media, and particularly the journolisters wanted in 2008 was anyone asking that simple question, “who is Barack Obama?” Once allowed, other questions would follow:”Can you sit in a pew for 20 years and not hear that?” and “What kind of student was he? Where did he publish? What did he lecture on? Who are his friends? What executive experience does he have? How centrist can a man be who only ever or ‘left, please, or ‘present?’ Do that many ‘present’ votes augur poorly for his ability to take a firm stand?”

Journolisters are fairly good listeners, but they don’t want anyone else to be; they just want people to shut up, stop thinking and fall in line.

Hence their move to “kill” the Wright story. Ackerman’s cynical suggestion exposed an especially spoiled worldview: “if you ask questions about this man’s racism, it’s only because you’re a racist, and anyone who listens to you is a racist by association.”

Hmmm…wouldn’t that sort of turn back in on Ackerman, though? Whenever I read his words, (“Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”) Mayelle Ewell pops into my head, desperately trying to deny what exists within herself by pushing it on to an innocent other; those feelings exist in him, not me! They could never exist in me! Him! He’s the racist rapist!

No wonder the j-listers went into immediate damage-control mode when Sarah Palin made her appearance. They listened; they watched. Palin was attractive; her story was the story of non-Ivy America. Even worse, she told Americans that they were energetic can-doers, not hapless victims and dupes.

That could not be permitted. A vice-presidential candidate with a non-elite but leadership-packed curriculum vitae born of entrepreneurship and PTA meetings could not be allowed to fly freely against a presidential candidate who had never run anything, never created a job, never met a payroll.

Palin was such a staggeringly “weak” candidate that the terrified press had to pull out every resource to stop her; dehumanization and Alinskian class-mockery went into overdrive.

No wonder things are in such a mess, what with the “gatekeepers” and “mediating intelligences” of Big-Time Professional Journalism doing everything they can to prevent honest presentment or probing, informative discourse from ever being loosed amid the people they so fervently want to see “served.” Now, with the nation wide-awake and listening, and the press respected only slightly more than the US Congress, the elites may feel that the only way to get the dawgies back on the moo-path is to take away their alternative media.

But somehow, I don’t think many are going to fall back in line, anymore.

And we appear to be fresh out of cowboys.

Related:
Jonah Goldberg: A Conspiracy to Slant News
Arnold Kling: Journolist Ethics
Legal Insurrection: Apologies? We’ll wait!
John Fund: The Big Sulk

Hot Air: Obama not liking White House; never thought he did.
I Own the World: White Out
Kathleen Parker: Leave the Journolist alone!
Just One Minute:Why would a reporter push?

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