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?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.sundriesshack.com Jimmie

    There is another tiny part of this JournoList story that rankles — that foreign journalists were part of the story-shaping (and politics-warping) process. Michael Tomasky has no right at all influencing our politics. He works for a British newspaper and I’m positive that he would scream all shades of bloody murder if some number of American reporters conspired to push a British election toward the result they wanted. Of course, no one on the JournoList so much as twitched at that. Truly, they are citizens of the world. But I wonder whether they are truly citizens of this country at heart.

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  • nohype1

    A great post. The One-Party Media do not like anything that threatens their role as gatekeeper. Control of information is power and they want to suppress anything that threatens that power: talk radio, the Internet, and Fox News.

    It is Arnold Kling, not Cling.

    The reaction of the JournoListers to the publication of their e-mails reminds me a lot of the outrage of college students who have found that pictures they post to Facebook or MySpace are not really private. Maybe we should be understanding of kids who are too stupid to recognize that there is no guarantee of privacy on the Internet, but should we excuse the stupidity of those who think that they are the intellectual elite?

    [Thanks for the headsup - as you see I posted this rather late, and made a type -admin]

  • Warren Jewell

    “Journolisters are fairly good listeners” – hmmm – Would any ‘good’ listener take the light of value and validity of what he has heard in listening and hide it under a basket?

    I am getting profoundly exhausted by a culture being immersed in know-better-know-nothing egotists who are apparently too dense to ask themselves “Do I want this guy leading the nation I live in, influencing the world I live in?” They aren’t even skilled at self-preservation, let alone abiding by self-service.

  • dymphna

    I’ve always thought that reporters make the news, they decide what’s a story and what should ignored and they do slant things in favor of their candidate. This just proves it.

  • newton

    Isn’t that great? We’re on to them now! What are the JournoListers going to do next?

    Why, don’t you know? They’re going to have to learn how to herd cats!

    Heh!

  • Roy Lofquist

    The problem with the Alinsky playbook is that it concentrates on making enemies, not friends. So far they (yes, Journolist and the Dems) have managed to insult non Ivy Leaguers (most all of us), medical workers (1/6 of us), plumbers, people in the insurance and financial fields, tea partiers (growing by the day) and sundry others. I’ve never had a racist though in my life but I’m reconsidering.

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  • http://westernchauvinist.blogspot.com Western Chauvinist

    My sister has been saying from the beginning that the destructiveness of this presidency should be laid directly at the feet of the mainstream (state) media. I’m inclined to agree.

    My 86-year-old Catholic mother said she couldn’t vote for Obama knowing he sat in Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years. That was until the story disappeared down the memory hole.

    Any decent honest journalist would have covered that story to the bitter end, regardless of his affinity for Obama and his politics. I believe if the American people had known the whole story, it would have been a pretty quick and bitter end for Obama and we’d probably be talking about President Hillary Clinton right now.

    Am I saying the “journolists” aren’t decent and honest? Yes. Yes, I am.

  • http://lowlytuber.blogspot.com tim maguire

    Reading your posts in reverse order (starting at the top at the end of the day), I am hit by the similarities between the Journolist and the NAZI game.

    The Journolist probably started with innocent intentions. Liberals generally like to be around other liberals and talk liberal talk. Even if they are discussing sports or sharing recipes, they’d prefer to do it with other liberals.

    But once the machine was going, its use drifted to what interests the participants most–politics and current events. At least some of these statements are made by people who would not normally say such things. But when you exclude dissenting opinions, and let some time go by so you get used to everyone thinking more or less just like you, what is permissible changes.

    And when what is permissible changes, some people change. That, in part, was the point of the NAZI game–to guess who, under the right circumstances, would change into a NAZI.

    And reading these emails, is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that the writers, given the opportunity, would happily round up their ideological opponents and send them off to concentration camps? Guilt free, feeling entirely justified in doing so?

    [Well, I don't know about the Journolist, but Jeanine Garafalo has already said that conservative belong in concentration camps -admin]

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  • newton

    “And reading these emails, is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that the writers, given the opportunity, would happily round up their ideological opponents and send them off to concentration camps? Guilt free, feeling entirely justified in doing so?”

    Tim, I never had a doubt in my mind that these journalists were little “Stalinist freaks” as soon as you dug deeper inside their hides. They’d be just as happy to round us all up just for telling them to take a hike.

    This video was so right on target: I Am a Liberal – I Hate Violence – But Sometimes… Scary. Just to think there are people among us who would do us harm is unsettling, to say the least…

  • Dave G

    Regarding Sarah Palin and the need of the MSM to destroy her… SP committed two sins, unforgivable in their eyes: she did not abort her Down Syndrome baby, and when her daughter became pregnant, she didn’t drag her to the doc for an abortion. SP actually lived up to the ideals she espoused. SP could not be tagged as a hypocrite.

  • Kerry

    If the journo-listers, as representatives of a type, had a bumper sticker, might it read, “Caritas? We’re superior ‘n’ smart. We don’t need no stinkin’ Caritas!”

  • A_Nonny_Mouse

    “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”. ”
    ======================

    Ah, yes — I remember the title: “How to Serve Man”. (*)

    Turns out it was a cookbook…

    (*) old Twilight Zone episode

  • Doc

    If Journolist winds up putting a few of these media institutions out of business it could turn out to be a net positive.

  • susan

    “My 86-year-old Catholic mother said she couldn’t vote for Obama knowing he sat in Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years. That was until the story disappeared down the memory hole.”

    So you 86 year old Catholic mother had no problem with the fact that Obama as Illinois State Legislator twice argued-and won- his religious belief that killing a fully-formed human being who survived the Doctor’s Abortion MUST be forced to die in a dirty hospital closet named after Christ since it serves the original intent?

    For the love of G*d, doesn’t character matter or it is all just about appearances?

    Just goes to show Scientology is more righteous-they may worship space aliens aborting humans however they are no where near as piously duplicitous as the ‘sanctity of lifers’.


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