July 27, 2010
“Shut up” seems to be a favorite talking point of Journolist defenders. But I don’t think non-members need to accept their message discipline.
Journolist was a terrible idea from the start, not so much because it enabled the promotion of “lock-steppedness” and a progressive party line across media organizations (though Salam more or less concedes that it did), or because it fostered an “us vs. them” mentality (which it also obviously did). It was a bad idea, mainly because it took a process that could have been public, democratic and transparent and gratuitously made it private, stratified and opaque. This was an odd move for “progressives” to make when confronted with the revolutionary openness of the Web. It’s as if they’d looked at our great national parks and said hey, what we really need is to carve out a private walled enclave for the well connected. Invited to a terrific party, they immediately set up a VIP room.
It’s all about the VIP rooms with these people. For them, “private, stratified and opaque” isn’t a bug, it’s the desired end-state every time.