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Much Ado about JournoList

By now, anyone paying any attention to politics has heard of JournoList. Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein ran it for like-minded liberal wonks to discuss liberal things. It was a chat room via email; the members agreed to keep it confidential (and off-the-record) for obvious reasons. The list imploded when someone leaked some particularly nasty posts about conservatives from WaPost columnist Dave Weigel, who was supposed to be covering those same conservatives. The kerfuffle ended up costing Weigel his job.

Some on the left consider JournoList conspiratorial in nature. Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller site is making all kinds of hay (and raising the its profile) by publishing excerpts and leaked threads, and using them as evidence of coordination and intent. From what I have seen, there is a bunch of nastinesscheerleading and angst (depending on the issue), and a few members used the list to urge the other members to be advocates. But there has been no smoking gun .. no situation or story line where the members agree to all publish X or smear Y, and then X is published or Y is smeared.

Sure, there is all kinds of liberal ranting and raving.  Certainly, some individuals (Spencer Ackerman springs to mind) did not distinguish themselves with wisdom, discretion, or respect for the truth. Some of the JournoListers are not good people. This isn’t new news, and we are wasting our time and energy worrying about it. That there are liberal journalists everywhere is not new news. That they rant and rave about savior Obama and evil and nasty conservatives is not new news. That Obama gets a pass for things that would have gotten Bush skewered is not new news.  That liberal journalists parrot the DNC talking points is not new news.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the squirming as the biases that we knew about and they refuted are revealed.  And it doesn’t mean that we can’t use the list to separate the true advocates from the writers who happen to be liberal. But the JournoList revelations don’t change anything, and don’t reveal anything we don’t already know.

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