Journolist isn’t about a vast Left-Wing conspiracy, it’s about a vast Left-Wing Elitism.
That’s my take so far, from the whole Journolist flap.
Just in case you don’t know. Journolist was a listserv for liberal only bloggers. No one else could join. This naturally fueled speculation from the right and center, that those bloggers and journalists were conspiring to control the MSM. Given that the MSM was heavily, and still is, slanted to the Left and the Obama campaign, it seemed that this conspiracy theory was valid. Now I won’t comment on that. I think if you’re a Liberal, you’re going to think the MSM is Right slanted, when they print or post stories that hurt your cause. Same goes with the Right, when the MSM prints stuff that you don’t like. Now I will go as far to say, that I think the MSM has a heavy Left/Obama bias.
Now I’ve posted before bout the myth of objectivity in journalism. In short, everything ever printed and will ever be printed will be biased. The question is one of numbers, in aggregate are there more Left writers than there are Right writers? That isn’t the whole story though. Next we need to think about credibility and effectiveness. There is no doubt that there are more Left slanted news organizations than Right slanted; NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post etc vs Fox News, Wall Street Journal. There are more for both sides but the point is that by using outlets as a measure, the Left has the advantage.
Before Journolist was on anyone’s radar, the Left complained about Fox as being biased. The term “Faux News” is synonymous with Left-wing blogging, as anyone who has read Huffington, Kos, Firedoglake, or any other left blog will tell you. That always struck me as odd, seeing that MSNBC is heavily Left biased as well.
Now thanks to the Journolist flap, the coin has seemed to flip. Tucker Carlson, who has been releasing the Journolist e-mails at the Daily Caller, has had his site go from a few hundred thousand clicks a day to millions. The story is so bad for liberal writers on the Journolist listserv, that they are circling the wagons. This one takes the cake.
Started by prodigal blogger Ezra Klein for a few friends, it grew in numbers and popularity, attracting a few mainstream luminaries (Joe Klein of Time magazine) along the way. But mostly it was a consortium of far lesser-known folks (academics, mid- to low-level producers, etc.) who enjoyed the camaraderie of the like-minded.
In the conservative world, we call such people Fox News. (Just kidding, guys, but really.)
Kathleen Parker, whom I don’t know if she was on Journolist or not but more than a few WaPo writers were, is obviously trying to marginalize the effect of the Journolist flap. As I said, more than a few Washington Post writers were hit thanks to the release of the e-mail archive. Dave Wiegel is the most notable example.
What I find rather striking is how she shrugs off the whole affair by saying that the Right has Fox, so the Left has it’s Journolist. This isn’t just hypocritical but very elitist. For one her description of the listserv, “lesser-known folks (academics, mid- to low-level producers).” While it is true that most on the list were “lesser-known folks” that doesn’t give them a pass.
When is it okay for lesser known fold wanting to violating First Amendment rights, by wanting the FCC to not grant Fox a new license? That coming from UCLA law professor Jonathan Zasloff! When is it okay for lesser known folks to think it’s okay to laugh at a man dying from a heart attack? That coming from NPR producer Sarah Spitz. When is it okay for journalists and professors to talk about how to kill stories about Obama that they don’t like?
So what in common with all these stories. They are all intellectuals trying to censor ideas that they deem not worthy of discourse. Intellectuals that want to steer the news in a certain direction. Let us not forget that these “lesser-known” folks wield a lot more collective power than people realize. Most people know that certain news organizations are biased. So they stay away from those outlets. That’s the beauty of the market, people have a choice of what they want.
These professors have extraordinary amount of power in shaping the thoughts and minds of the younger generation. Is it any surprise that the as a percentage of the whole, the college generations are always more liberal than conservative? Does anyone think that might be because their professors, whom they look up to for guidance, give them only one side of an argument? So when a college professor calls a student a “fascist bastard” in front of the class because that student presented a presentation that the professor didn’t agree with politically, don’t you think that has an effect of all the other students in the class?
Those “lesser-known” producers dictate what goes the public does and doesn’t see. If a producer doesn’t want a certain story going on air, much the same way an editor can dictate what goes into print, it has a chilling effect on what the public knows and what it doesn’t. Liberal hate on Fox, because Fox airs stories that Liberals don’t like. When every news organization airs the same stories be it liberal friendly or conservative friendly, you know your living in a dictatorship.
At heart Liberals know that the person that control the flow of information has extraordinary power. They hate it, if they think the other side has that power, but love it when they do. They do it for the “public good” or so they say. The other side does it because they are “evil.” These Journolist liberals want to be the sole gatekeepers of information. They want a monopoly on it. They aren’t above using the coercive powers of the state or the media to do it.
So above all, I think this shows the level of elitism coming from the Left. They think they know best and don’t think people can make the decision on who to listen to, for themselves. This is plainly evident in Daniel Davies from the Guardian’s e-mail saying:
“I am genuinely scared” of Fox, wrote Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, because it “shows you that a genuinely shameless and unethical media organisation *cannot* be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation, and nor can it be successfully cold-shouldered or ostracised. In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.” Davies, a Brit, frequently argued the United States needed stricter libel laws.
The peer pressure he is talking about are the consumers. The self-regulation are the producers at Fox. So in short, the people cannot control Fox, so the elite must protect everyone. Talk about ego.
I think one thing that needs to be learned, is that when Liberals start to shrug things off by saying they “don’t have any power.” That means they really do. Professors, mid-level journalists (that do a lot of research work) and producers have a lot of power. When they say in not quite the same words “move along nothing to see here,” there is in fact a lot to see there. And lastly, the next time they bitch about Fox News show them the ratings.
Edit: Wanted to thank John for the link.