Politico's Roger Simon is depressed, for journalism has been destroyed. Not by his own Politico, though! By the fact that some liberal bloggers and professors had an off-the-record listserve, Journolist, where they would talk about politics. How will America survive?
Journolist, founded by the Washington Post's Ezra Klein in 2007 as a way for mostly liberal writers, professors and grad students to share ideas in a more casual setting, was recently shut down after some leaked emails attacking Matt Drudge and other terrible people cost Klein's colleague Dave Weigel his job at the Post. (Weigel has since been rehired by the Washington Post company as a reporter/blogger for Slate. Congratulations, smear campaign!) In the past few weeks, Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller has been leaking old threads it's obtained and presenting them in offensively misleading narratives, for the purposes of riling up wingnuts about "liberal media conspiracies" and getting air time on Hannity.
According to Roger Simon, the true offense to journalism was Journolist itself, not the traffic-generating scheme of Tucker Carlson, whom he takes at face value. Simon writes this, after detailing all of the fluffy reasons he got into journalism decades ago:
Somewhere along the way, things have gone terribly wrong. Journalism has become a toy, an electronic plaything. I do not blame technology. The giant megaphone of technology has been coupled with a new, angrier, more destructive age. (Yes, you can find extremely angry, extremely partisan times in our past, but I always thought the goal was to progress over the centuries, not regress.)
Until recently, there was a semisecret, off-the-record organization called Journolist. It was a listserv, which is a bunch of people who sign up (if allowed) and then get the same e-mails and can reply to everybody on the list.
And it goes from there, detailing how the thing that most signals the destruction of journalism is, in his words, "a bunch of people who sign up (if allowed) and then get the same e-mails and can reply to everybody on the list." The reporting on stuff like *Iraq* was so good before these pipsqueaks showed up and started bitching to each other!
Chuck Todd, political director and chief White House correspondent for NBC News, who was not part of Journolist, told me this:
"I am sure Ezra had good intentions when he created it, but I am offended the right is using this as a sledgehammer against those of us who don't practice activist journalism.
"Journolist was pretty offensive. Those of us who are mainstream journalists got mixed in with journalists with an agenda. Those folks who thought they were improving journalism are destroying the credibility of journalism.
"This has kept me up nights. I try to be fair. It's very depressing."
Chuck Todd is upset about the Tucker Carlson Journolist stories because they're allowing the right to make shit up about all mainstream media figures having their liberal agendas exposed. He's mad at Journolist for this, and not right wingers for making up phony attacks about him.
Todd later clarified on Twitter that he meant it's Journolist and Andrew Breitbart who are keeping him up at night. Phew! Let's get back to making those false left-right equivalencies we need for a proud, robust American journalism.
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