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Ed Driscoll

Breitbart Offers $100,000 For Full Journolist Archives

June 29th, 2010 - 1:29 pm

In case you haven’t seen it already, Andrew Breitbart writes, “I’ve had $100,000 burning in my pocket for the last three months and I’d really like to spend it on a worthy cause:”

So how about this: in the interests of journalistic transparency, and to offer the American public a unique insight in the workings of the Democrat-Media Complex, I’m offering $100,000 for the full “JournoList” archive, source fully protected. Now there’s an offer somebody can’t refuse.

Yes, the mainstream media that came together to play up the false allegations that the “N-Word” was hurled 15 times by Tea Party participants at the Congressional Black Caucus outside the Capitol the day before the “Obamacare” vote, is the same MSM that colluded to make sure the American public accepted the smear, and refused to show the exculpatory videos that disproved the incendiary charges of Tea Party racism.

Ezra Klein’s “JournoList 400” is the epitome of progressive and liberal collusion that conservatives, Tea Partiers, moderates and many independents have long suspected and feared exists at the heart of contemporary American political journalism. Now that collusion has been exposed when one of the weakest links in that cabal, Dave Weigel, was outed. Weigel was, in all likelihood, exposed because – to whoever the rat was who leaked his emails — he wasn’t liberal enough.

When the “N-word” controversy turned out to be an almost certain falsehood, Weigel had the professional courage to come out against 399 of his “JournoList” peers when he wrote:

I think we’ve seen a paradigm shift, and that the March 20 story will be remembered by conservatives as evidence of how the media accepts attacks on conservatives without due diligence.

Weigel also had the courage to issue a correction and a mea culpa when his reporting was used as a weapon by the unscrupulous Max Blumenthal to falsely smear James O’Keefe as a “racist organizer” of a white nationalist conference. Weigel eventually stepped up and set the record straight when he found out he was falsely named as a witness to the story.

Why was he chosen for outing among 400 “JournoList” participants? I can think of few liberal journalists who have been more fair than Weigel. And if I think that, imagine what true partisans on the left feel about his erratic and ideologically unpredictable output?

Weigel’s career at the Washington Post was assassinated for his crimes against conformity. Try as he might, as a left-leaning journalist he didn’t conform enough. When conservatives jumped on his exposure, he cited defending me as a mitigating alibi. Defending me publicly is a hangable offense in them thar liberal hills!

But Dave Weigel is not the story. The “JournoList” is the story: who was on it and which positions of journalistic power and authority do they hold? Now that the nature and the scope of the list has been exposed, I think the public has a right to know who shapes the big media narratives and how.

Breitbart discusses his offer and the mindset behind JournoList on Indianapolis’ 93.1 WIBC FM:

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It’s already paying small dividends. Ben Smith of Politico writes:

Andrew Breitbart is, entertainingly, offering $100,000 — and confidentiality — for the full archives of Journolist, whose privacy has produced wild conservative speculation on its contents. (The lower budget Weekly Standard is offering $20 and a case of beer for the subset of those emails that reference the Standard.)

This is a classic case in which secrecy produces wild imaginings. There aren’t many good conspiracies involving 400 people, some of them ideologues, some columnists, some mainstream media types like me who enjoyed access to that conversation, as I sometimes enjoy access to private conservative conversations at venues like New York’s off-record conservative Monday Meeting.

But that’s also a lot of money for a working journalist. I called Breitbart just now with a modest proposal: I’d sell him my own 55 contributions to the list, many of them just copies of blog items, all fairly dull — for a mere $5,000.

He declined.

“You’re a reporter not a salesman — you don’t say your pieces ae boring and self-promotional and then put a high cost on them,” he said.

Doesn’t that help to triangulate Smith’s worldview? As Ezra Klein wrote in his “On Journolist, and Dave Weigel:” piece in the Washington Post on Friday when he said he was winding down this version of Journolist:

At the beginning, I set two rules for the membership. The first was the easy one: No one who worked for the government in any capacity could join. The second was the hard one: The membership would range from nonpartisan to liberal, center to left. I didn’t like that rule, but I thought it necessary: There would be no free conversation in a forum where people had clear incentives to embarrass each other. A bipartisan list would be a more formal debating society. Plus, as Liz Mair notes, there were plenty of conservative list servs, and I knew of military list servs, and health-care policy list servs, and feminist list servs. Most of these projects limited membership to facilitate a particular sort of conversation. It didn’t strike me as a big deal to follow their example.

And as as Moe Lane added:

Nice of Ezra Klein to shaft his good buddy Dave Weigel on the way out by explicitly admitting that Klein wouldn’t let anybody on the Right onto JournoList in the first place, but that’s the Online Left for you.  You ain’t with them all the way, you ain’t worth nothing to them.

Hopefully more journalists will come forward and announce their former membership to the list, and thus both their ideology, and their willingness to coordinate the narrative.

Besides, it’s a chance to make history. Time magazine declared 2002 “The Year of the Whistleblower;” so you know how much praise they’ll heap upon the person who produces the JouroList, right? Maybe Al Pacino will play him in a movie…

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