An op-ed that appeared Wednesday at Investor’s Business Daily dubs the JournoList “The Smoking Gun For Media Bias:”
The point is, this is America’s “mainstream” media, supposedly. Except it’s not. It’s in fact a support wing for one party and one vision for America. And as with the rest of the progressive movement, it’s concerned not with the truth, but with power.
And that was written before this morning’s JournoList document drop du jour from Jonathan Strong of the Daily Caller, who writes, “When McCain picked Palin, liberal journalists coordinated the best line of attack:”
In the hours after Sen. John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the last presidential race, members of an online forum called Journolist struggled to make sense of the pick. Many of them were liberal reporters, and in some cases their comments reflected a journalist’s instinct to figure out the meaning of a story.
But in many other exchanges, the Journolisters clearly had another, more partisan goal in mind: to formulate the most effective talking points in order to defeat Palin and McCain and help elect Barack Obama president. The tone was more campaign headquarters than newsroom.
The conversation began with a debate over how best to attack Sarah Palin. “Honestly, this pick reeks of desperation,” wrote Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation in the minutes after the news became public. “How can anyone logically argue that Sarah Pallin [sic], a one-term governor of Alaska, is qualified to be President of the United States? Train wreck, thy name is Sarah Pallin.”
Not a wise argument, responded Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. If McCain were asked about Palin’s inexperience, he could simply point to then candidate Barack Obama’s similarly thin resume. “Q: Sen. McCain, given Gov. Palin’s paltry experience, how is she qualified to be commander in chief?,” Stein asked hypothetically. “A: Well, she has much experience as the Democratic nominee.”
“What a joke,” added Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker. “I always thought that some part of McCain doesn’t want to be president, and this choice proves my point. Welcome back, Admiral Stockdale.”
Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obama’s “non-official campaign” would need to work hard to discredit Palin. “This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldn’t say – very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here – scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security / right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away …… bang away at McCain’s age making this unusually significant …. I think people should be replicating some of the not-so-pleasant viral email campaigns that were used against [Obama].”
And there’s your takeaway soundbite. Back in the 1920s, the iconoclastic H.L. Mencken wrote that “It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics.”
Flash-forward almost a century, and his would-be successors see it not as as permanent opposition, but an element of the “non-official campaign” of one’s party’s presidential candidate.
As we noted in 2008, it was astonishing to watch John McCain not immediately grasp that the Beltway media he had worked so hard to cultivate as a senator would, once he secured the GOP presidential nomination, instantly drop a moderate Republican for a full-fledged liberal (or at least what passes for liberal these days) Democrat.
So who’s going to be first GOP candidate who understands and articulates to his or her supporters what the new rules are: the media he or she will be doing interviews with on the campaign trail define themselves not as “objective” journalists, but part of the opposition’s “non-official campaign?”
Well yeah, besides this potential candidate, of course.