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Ed Driscoll

All the President’s Listservs

July 21st, 2010 - 4:12 pm

As I wrote last night in the long “Manchurian Listserv” item:

Just as the JournoList is McCarthyism through a fun-house mirror, it’s also an inversion of the story that almost single-handedly (albeit with a lot of help from Hollywood) created the 1970s-1980s-era incarnation of the crusading, muckraking political journalist. But back then, the Washington Post circled the wagons to ferret out the corruption and excesses of “All the President’s Men.” (Though of course, the excesses of all of FDRs, JFKs, and LBJs men were conveniently ignored, just as the FDR-era “Brown Scare” of the 1940s was almost entirely forgotten once McCarthy made himself into such an inviting target.) But the JournoList now makes its members, and arguably the Post itself, All the President’s Men — not that there was much doubt before the existence of the JournoList was widely known. And they’ve already demonstrated that they’re willing to squelch any story, or terminate with extreme prejudice (sorry to mix movie metaphors) any competing narrative to advance the president’s career.

Byron York concurs. At the Washington Examiner, he writes, “If any large publication stands to suffer from the JournoList controversy, it’s the Washington Post” – which is why mum’s the word, as Byron notes in his headline:

The paper hired JournoList founder Ezra Klein from the left-wing publication The American Prospect, and Klein continued to run JournoList while at the Post.  In June, the paper quickly accepted the resignation of David Weigel, whom it hired from the left-wing publication The Washington Independent, over comments made on JournoList.  (Klein announced he was shutting down the list-serv shortly thereafter.)  It is not known whether other Post writers, some of whom also came to the paper from left-wing publications, took part in JournoList; I have asked a couple, and they haven’t yet responded.Now, courtesy of the Daily Caller, we’ve had a peek inside the discussions on JournoList, and it reveals some writers and staffers at left-wing publications like the Nation, as well as ostensibly mainstream outlets like NPR and Bloomberg, making intemperate remarks about conservatives, advocating that some conservatives be arbitrarily branded as racists, drawing parallels between Tea Partiers and Nazis, and appealing to fellow journalists on the list-serv to ignore the controversy over then-candidate Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

But none of those now-published comments came from Post writers.  So is there a problem for the paper?  Potentially.  Since the paper employs JournoList’s founder and proprietor, and since comments on JournoList led to Weigel’s leaving the paper, and since those events raise questions about whether other Post journalists took part in JournoList, and since there are likely more stories to come from the thousands of still-unpublished exchanges on JournoList, it is reasonable to ask what the Post’s management knows, and what it knew in the past, about Post journalists taking part in the list-serv.

It’s reasonable to ask — but the Post isn’t going to answer.

“I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up, or anything else!”

Update: Ride the Mobius Loop! Liberal newspaper not talking to moderate/conservative newspaper is surprised that moderate/conservative political candidates are reluctant to talk with aforementioned liberal newspaper, despite being Macacaedtwice — and called ratf***ers by journalists in their employment.

Go figure.

Update: “Liberal Bias? — What Liberal Bias?!”

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