Lottery Post Journal

Finally, concrete proof of corruption and collusion in the mainstream media

The following news story was posted today at Politico, a non-partisan (some say left-leaning) news organization that deals exclusively with politics.

For a long time it has been fairly easy to see the connections within the mainstream media:  a story published by the hard-left New York Times in the morning is the blueprint for the news stories of the day in the rest of the media, whether in print, broadcast, or online.

Now we know the mechanism that makes it happen.

There is an Internet-based "listServ" in which liberal media types discuss what they will be reporting.  (A listServ is a like a private mailing list in which the people on the list can participate in discussions — kind of like a private forum.)

This is how stories were concocted to sink the excellent Sarah Palin, and this is how the media is kept "on-message" when reporting about Obama.  This is exactly what the mainstream media is NOT supposed to do. It is the antithesis of objective reporting.  It is collusion and corruption, and it will continue the elevation of one party, while destroying the other.  And that is not good for anyone, no matter how delusional and hypnotized they are.

JournoList: Inside the echo chamber

By Michael Calderone, Politico
March 17, 2009

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."

But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won't say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he's seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.

"I'm very lazy about writing when I'm not getting paid," Alterman said. "So if I take the trouble to write something in any detail on the list, I tend to cannibalize it. It doesn't surprise me when I see things on the list on people's blogs."

Last April, criticism of ABC's handling of a Democratic presidential debate took shape on JList before morphing into an open letter to the network, signed by more than 40 journalists and academics — many of whom are JList members.

But beyond these specific examples, it's hard to trace JList's influence in the media, because so few JListers are willing to talk on the record about it.

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.

A LexisNexis search for JournoList reveals exactly nothing. Slate's Mickey Kaus, a nonmember, may be the only professional writer to have referred to it "in print" more than once — albeit dismissively, as the "Klein Klub."

While members may talk freely about JList at, say, a Columbia Heights house party, there's a "Fight Club"-style code of silence when it comes to discussing it for publication.

But a handful of JList members agreed to talk for this story — if only to push back against the perception that the group is some sort of secret, left-wing cabal.

Several members volunteered that JList is unlike listservs such as Townhouse, the private, activist-oriented group formed by liberal blogger Matt Stoller.

"No one's pushing an agenda," said Toobin.

Toobin joined JList about a year ago, and he said that he had to get a new e-mail address just for JList in order to keep up with the sheer volume of commentary that appears there every day. The frequent disputes among members, he said, are "what's most entertaining on the list."

John Judis, a senior editor at The New Republic, described JList in an e-mail as "a virtual coffeehouse" where participants get a chance to talk and argue.

"There is probably general agreement on the stupidity of today's GOP," he said. "But beyond that, I would say there is wide disagreement on trade, Israel, how exactly we got into this recession/depression and how to get out of it, the brilliance of various punk bands that I have never heard of, and on whether, at any given moment, the Obama administration is doing the right thing."

But aren't there enough forums for arguing about domestic and foreign policy - or even for partaking in the more idiosyncratic JList debates about the merits of Bruce Springsteen and whether The New Republic is liberal enough? And do those debates really have to happen behind a veil of secrecy?

"It's sort of a chance to float ideas and kind of toss them around, back and forth, and determine if they have any value," said New Republic associate editor Eve Fairbanks, "and get people's input on them before you put them on a blog."

Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts.

Yglesias, who writes an eponymous blog hosted by the Center for American Progress, noted that "the combined membership has tentacles of knowledge that reach everywhere," adding that "you can toss out a question about Japan or whatever and get some different points of view."

Alterman said it's important that there are "people with genuine expertise" on the list.

"For me, it's enormously useful because I don't like to spend my time reading blogs and reading up-to-the-minute political minutia," he said. "This list allows me to make sure I'm not missing anything important."

POLITICO's Mike Allen, Ben Smith and Lisa Lerer are on the list. "The roster includes some of the savviest authorities on everything from behavioral economics to Ben's Chili Bowl," Allen said. "It's a window into a world of passionate experts — an hourly graduate education."

Said another JLister: "I don't know any other place where working journalists, policy wonks and academics who write about current politics and political history routinely communicate with one another."

But what if all the private exchanges got leaked?

That's been the subject of some JList conversation, too, as members discuss the Weekly Standard's publication of a 2006 e-mail posted to the private China Security Listserv by diplomat Charles Freeman, who last week withdrew his name from consideration for a top intelligence job.

Michael Goldfarb, a former McCain staffer and conservative blogger who published the e-mail, was not part of the China list and therefore hadn't agreed to any off-the-record rules.

Asked about the existence of conservative listservs, Goldfarb said they're much less prevalent.

"There is nothing comparable on the right. E-mail conversations among bloggers, journalists and experts on our side tend to be ad hoc," Goldfarb said. "The JournoList thing always struck me as a little creepy."

Kaus, too, has seemed put off by the whole idea, once talking on BloggingHeads about how the list "seems contrary to the spirit of the Web."

"You don't want to create a whole separate, like, private blog that only the elite bloggers can go into, and then what you present to the public is sort of the propaganda you've decided to go public with," Kaus argued.

But Time's Joe Klein, who acknowledged being on JList and several other listservs, said in an e-mail that "they're valuable in the way that candid conversations with colleagues and experts always are." Defending the off-the-record rule, Klein said that "candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private."

And then Klein — speaking like the JLister he is — said there wasn't "anything more that I can or want to say about the subject."


  • Saw that this morning, great post!! Same thing the rest of us have been railing all along, now in print for all to digest.

    By konane, at 12:27 PM

  • Had heard of this but have never seen any evidence until now. Really lets you know it isn't a rumor anymore. Good reading for all....!

    By MADDOG10, at 3:08 PM

  • I don't see any "conspiracy" just people of like minds sharing ideas. When all the newspapers, radio & TV stations were cheering for Bush after 9/11 and when we invaded Iraq, I didn't hear the right wing complaining that there was an on-going media conspiracy.

    But I've got to join you in admitting that the popular media personalities have really become way too liberal. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan William Kristol and John Gibson need to stop drooling over Obama and criticize him once in a while.

    By justxploring, at 4:09 PM

  • @Justexploring: Those radio personalities are not part of the mainstream media, and in fact are not even news people at all. I wish people like you hoping to find a way to rebuke all the mountain of evidence of a biased liberal media would stop comparing entertainers to the news media.

    I could point out that David Letterman, John Stewart, Anderson Cooper, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, etc., etc., etc. are all liberal, but notice I don't do that, because I don't need to start throwing out the names of liberal entertainers in order to make my point. I can point to the entire mainstream news media -- the supposedly unbiased journalists -- and correctly point out that they are all liberal, with some very narrow exceptions.

    You keep asking how come you are identified as "liberal". It's precisely because of this. The fact that you cannot see how the mainstream news media is unhinged and overwhelmingly biased demonstrates that you think their behavior is "normal". It does not seem to bother you that the political ideaology being pushed by their slanted news reporting is liberal. You are comfortable with it. Ever hear of logical conclusions? It's very easy to reach one.

    Just because you personally don't see a conspiracy doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It means you don't recognize it. People in the 1950s didn't think they were racist.

    By Todd, at 4:56 PM

  • They are incapable of independent thinking, "The kings clothes are so beautiful!" Just like what is going on now with AIG............Chris Dodd put a provision in the AIG bailout to allow for exec. bonuses he received $103,000.00 donation from AIG. They act surprised about this? How convienient, another distraction from the fact that the GD stimulus ain't working....and now the white house is using the campaign mailing list to recruit a grass roots movement (13,000,000 mindless USAmericans) to go out and promote the budget WTH? I can't wait for them to show up at my front door HA!

    By jarasan, at 6:38 PM

  • Todd, you are putting words in my mouth. I never said the media isn't biased, just that I didn't see a conspiracy. One of the reasons I might seem so liberal to you all the time could be that I don't voice some negative views I have of Obama and other Democrats, because I see so much hatred for them here and don't feel I can have a civil discussion about issues that don't lean right.   I try to be open-minded, but it's obvious that many Republicans won't listen to reason. Even when something isn't controversial, I'm harshly criticized. For example, when I said that printed news has been a victim of technology, Jarasan called me "laughable." Yet an article published by the Christian Science Monitor last fall announced it was going to end its printed paper and go online because the world was changing, news was evolving & becoming more mobile. A PC Magazine article said "In the era of RSS feeds and constantly updating blogs, physical newspapers are hard pressed to compete against the sheer volume of material and wide range of sources. By mid-afternoon, most print dailies are old news."   Yet I was insulted and told I was being "cute." So, I guess if a Democrat says it, it must be stupid.

    Again, you won't get an argument from me if you say many reporters lean a little left of the center. I only said I don't see this as a threat or conspiracy. The news is a business and most of the networks and newspapers are owned by conservatives. They just happen to employ a lot of liberals, but they publish whatever appeals to the public and sells.

    By the way, if "entertainers" don't count, then why was Limbaugh invited to speak to CPAC ?

    By justxploring, at 6:40 PM

  • One of the most glaring examples of sloppy liberal journalism is the New York Times which took to task a couple of times a week over the past few years concerning * accuracy * of articles. Powerline always provided a correction and link to their references.

    We see where the New York Times is now so it's not just technology which provided the anchor that's sinking them.

    By konane, at 6:50 PM

  • JX this is what I said: Again I was essentially agreeing with you, but you keep bringing this up. notice the word "ALMOST".

    "JX that is almost laughable and cute.   Only the rich have technology according to the media, they can't even afford to but their own antennas for going "digital" to watch The Oprah. They deliver advertising to our mailboxes here at least twice a week.   There is some validity to what you are saying about technology, but the newspaper is the newspaper, no reboots, no scrolling, no panning, no clicking back and forth. Then again I know you came from the northeast right? The New York Times ."USED TO" be big in the D.C. area and all up and down the east coast, they've blown it, they weren't beat by the technology as they have it also, they are losing because it ain't the news that is fit or true to print the bias of NYT was made clear in competition for the truth in any distribution means. This is why the NYT is renting out 20 floors of its building so they can aviod selling it to avoid default. The monopoly by the old media is over and they won big in the last election, they would've been done if Obama lost. It was do or die to get him elected in order to keep relevant in the discussion. Problem is he is now in office and some of those that supported him blindly are starting to regain some vision and clarity back, such as Cramer, Santelli, Welch, and Warren Buffet etc. ......

    Remember there are over a 150,000,000 people in the US that didn't vote last time, when they start having Obama's policies affecting them negatively.................they might start voting for real change. Cause you ain't going to be able to blame Bush anymore, sooner than you think.

    Only your hairdresser knows for sure."

    Now Nancy Pelosi wants the Justice Dept. to "loosen" bankruptcy laws to "assist" the San Fran Chronicle from going down, I say let it go down.

    By jarasan, at 6:56 PM

  • This is a must read.   Thank you.

    By emilyg, at 7:13 PM

  • Doesn't sound like they were incapable of independent thinking to me.

    By Tenaj, at 9:20 PM

  • @Justexploring: Did you take your passive-aggressive pills this morning? You have some negative things to say about Obama, but don't want to join in the chorus of hate?? Give me a break, that's lame coming from someone who has never held back their disdain for anything I've had to say about politics.

    I have never once join in any kind of "hate", and I don't see anyone posting here with an an ounce of "hate".

    What I do see here is a continuous attempt to apply logic, but logic to a liberal seems to be like garlic to a vampire. Or at least like a big cross (which may be more apropos.)

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. That's called "duck-typing". And that's what I said about your comments, not for the first time either.

    How about you let down your hair and join us on the dark side -- of those who are willing to voice their true feelings, despite the massive censorship machine being engineered by the left? You may find that what you thought was the dark side is actually the side of enlightened reason, and you were believing the hype.

    By Todd, at 9:37 PM

  • Just for the fun of it....take the test here and post some scores:

    By truecritic, at 1:26 AM

  • My ideological score is 205/400. This makes me PROGRESSIVE. The average score for Americans is 209.5

    By LottoVantage, at 9:11 AM

  • John Podesta is the head of that organization. Any quiz designed by him will be designed to how American as progressive. No thanks.

    By Todd, at 9:31 AM

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