Ed Driscoll

Journolist and the Ackerman Question

Hugh Hewitt asks, “Given that plagiarism is a hanging offense in the MSM, ought not outright falsification to be seen as just as serious an offense against the suppose code of truth-telling?”

Former New Republic scribbler Spencer Ackerman, who is now with Wired, proposed the manufacture of just to such an attack on Barnes and Bush to the JournoList’s annointed when the Jeremiah Wright story exploded in 2008. Ackerman admitted on JournoList that he wasn’t interested in whether Barnes or Rove were in fact rascist, just that the charge was useful at that moment in time.

Given that plagiarism is a hanging offense in the MSM, ought not outright falsification to be seen as just as serious an offense against the suppose code of truth-telling? Didn’t MSM once upon a time stand for opposition to Big Lie propoaganda? Ackerman is still with Wired, and as far as I can tell from vacationland (where the internet connection is spotty at best), no MSMer has stepped forward to condemn Ackerman, nor has any JournoList member been asked what they thought about the advocacy of the slander at the time it occured or now that it has come to light.

That is the most interesting of the questions for Journolist members right now –the Ackerman Question: “Did you think it was necessary to oppose the slander of a fellow journalist?” Don’t hold your breath waiting for that question to be asked on air on the Sunday shows.

Apparently no one rebuked Ackerman then, at least as far as we can tell from the leaks from the JournoList archive. It would be great news if Time’s Joe Klein, for example, had stepped up at the time and posted something like “Spencer, that is outrageous. We both know Barnes and he’s been a fine journalist since even before his days at the New Republic. You may not like his politics, but he’s a wonderful man and I won’t go along with your calling him a racist, and no one else should either. Have you lost your mind?”

Indeed, it would be great news if Time magazine’s Joe Klein had asked such a question of Ackerman. But he’s possibly the last person on the JournoList whom one would expect such magnanimity.

In any case, over to you, Condé Nast.