Thursday, July 22, 2010

So, is there a left-wing media conspiracy?

This is, once again, an American story as all the really important and interesting ones are. After all, David Cameron not knowing what happened in 1940 having had the best education money can buy in this country is not precisely a story. But the story of JournoList, its demise and how its members actually planned to destroy conservative commentators, submerged stories that could embarrass Barack Obama during the electoral campaign and plotted how to ensure that he would be voted in no matter what it took is becoming ever more fascinating. At some point I shall have to write more about it, especially as there were some Grauniad journos involved, as a reader of this blog pointed out to me.

In the meantime, here is a measured summary by Fred Barnes Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard and a commentator on Fox News Channel, which, according to some on the Journolist, ought to be shut down by the Feds. James Taranto quotes some of the e-mails with his usual tart comments.


  1. I agree that it's fascinating. What makes it so is that these people are culturally indistinguishable from the bulk of our own media class, and we can suppose that similar justifications are used in "non-partisan" newsrooms up and down this country.

    On the other hand I doubt that JournoList has suffered anything more than a temporary setback, they will just set it up again under a different name.

  2. This morning's Daily Caller dump of the Journolist shows these journalist's as the non-campaign for Barack Obama. It discusses how they would take down McCain and his new running mate Sarah Palin. It is so disturbing to read this because so many people bought into the image the MSM created or should I say the non-campaign created. Sean Hannity had it correct when he said that Journalism died in 2008

  3. When I encounter people who have strong negative opinions about Sarah Palin, I invariably find that they base their opinions on big-media hit-pieces, and particularly on the skit in which an actress portraying Palin claimed to have seen Russia from her house. It is usually impossible to reason with such people, because most of them haven't the time or inclination to compare information from multiple sources and therefore rely on big media which they assume to provide some common denominator of accuracy. There is a left-wing media conspiracy and it seems unlikely that Obama could have been elected without its vigorous assistance.

  4. Yes, of course there is a left-wing media conspiracy. The Daily Caller has revealed a group of plotters. However, one should neither overestimate the size of the group nor the skills of the conspirators. One of the most depressing revelations is instead the fact that it is so easy to manipulate the news-cycle. Or as one of the plotters writes, that if 4 or 5 of us write the same thing, then we can be sure to get on the news shows, and that will set the agenda for the next couple of days.

    The real question is why this should be so easy. Is it because the majority of the media persons are left-wingers? Or is it because the news media is a perfect analogue of the sandy beach in Hotellier’s ice-cream vendors paradox (where the vendors will tend to cluster together on the beach to maintain their market shares)? Or is it because the majority of the people in news-media are not very creative and just tends to follow the flow? I think you can find arguments for all three possibilities.

    Clearly, to improve the health of our news reporting it is important to break this “follow your neighbour” mentality, but I must say I don’t have any original ideas on how to do that.

    Interestingly though, skilled “manipulators” can call out the journalists on this tendency to copy the other guy and receive paradoxical results. Here is one example close to home:

    My mother, who at the time was an MP for the Conservatives in Sweden, was involved in sensitive negotiations regarding the new social security system. There had been leaks from the negotiations, and the media had decided this would be a good story. So, first the anchor from TV 4 news calls her up, and makes a preparatory interview for a TV spot. And then a few minutes later the anchorman from SR TV’s Rapport is on the phone. A conversation along the following lines takes place:

    - “Hallo, this is Mr Anchorman from Rapport. I’d like to talk to you about…….”
    - “Hallo. I expected your call.”
    - “You did?”
    - Yes, today I’m the little cube of sugar, and you journalists are the flies. Isn’t that so?”
    - “Oh, he, he. You don’t say. Has somebody else already interviewed you regarding….”
    - “Yes, TV 4 already called…..”
    - “Ah, yes, I do have some questions, but maybe I’d better talk to my editor about this. Will you be available later in the afternoon?”
    - “Oh, no problem. You can call me back later if you wish.”

    And of course there was no call, and funnily enough the interview on TV 4 did not take place either. But this shows the other side of the coin. Most people will rush to a TV studio to be interviewed no matter what. Maybe a little more selectivity on the behalf of the interviewees would not be a bad thing……


  5. The truth is that the media and the politicians largely live off each other in a very unhealthy symbiotic relationship. So, that selectivity is very rare, indeed.

    What has changed in the States is the strength of the blogoshere. It is growing and acquiring a great deal of following. I remember saying during the 2008 camapign that the MSM's desperate effortst to get their candidate in was probably caused by an understanding that this may be the last election in which they will have a decisive voice. Let us hope that will turn out to be correct.

  6. This is getting better all the time, like watching those slow-motion videos of those bullets hitting water-filled ballons :)

  7. An actual smoking gun. Never thought I'd see the day.

  8. And here are more White House connections:

    More Journolist Members Identified.

    Also on American Thinker, this post which shouldn't be missed:
    The unbearable whiteness of being on Journolist


  9. And more names (with affiliations).....drip.....drip.....drip:

    New additions make for 107 Journolist names

  10. More from the Daily Caller: Journolist debates making its coordination with Obama explicit.

    Quite funny actually. Much less funny is the fact that quite a number of the Journolistas were "Trig Truthers". Cannot but agree with Gov Palin; some really sick puppies.

    Raw Journolist emails on ‘Palin’s Downs child’