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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

 
Own It

by digby

Yes, another teachable moment. And it's a particularly stupid one, but teachable nonetheless. First, watch this Jon Stewart segment:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lost in Race
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


Ok, I'm sure you get the joke, right? Well, according to Media Matters, the right, including Breitbart, take that segment as a validation of Breitbart's integrity. Media Matters says this is pathetic and sad because they don't seem to understand that Breitbart stated publicly that he is trying to destroy the "institutional left." But they do. They just don't think there's anything wrong with openly trying to destroy the institutional left. They consider it their job and when someone says they are honest about that, they take it as validation.

In their view, Stewart was giving them props and criticizing the Democrats for failing to play the same game --- which he sort of was. Now, know that Stewart thinks Breitbart is a malignant tumor on the body politic, honesty about it notwithstanding, but they don't care about that. They care about getting the job done by any means necessary and they are proud to be acknowledged for doing that.

The teachable moment here is for liberals. There's a lot of sturm and drang about the selective Journolist leaks featuring liberal writers saying mean things about conservatives and openly rooting for Obama. It's as if they were caught in some sort of secret conspiracy when their public writings perfectly reflect their political views.


But why shouldn't they own their liberalism? You've got people out there like Fred Barnes rending his garments over liberals being liberal, and saying that conservatives are all "lone wolves" when he appears every day on a thoroughly partisan television network devoted to conservatism. Nobody on the left finds him to be unbiased. Why should he find them unbiased?

Newsflash: Liberal and center-left writers are liberal and center-left. Conservative writers are conservative. Right wing hitmen like Breitbart are right wing hitmen. And Villagers who claim to be "objective" are purveyors of useless establishment conventional wisdom --- much of which is "objectively" conservative, at least partially because they are so subject to right wing ref working, as perfectly illustrated by Chuck Todd's panicked whine today about being tainted by association with liberals. I see no reason why any liberal writer should care about that. They should care about journalistic ethics that require adherence to the facts in pursuit of the truth, which the journalists on that list do, even if you disagree with their conclusions.

In other words, they shouldn't worry about being called liberal by Tucker Carlson. By letting alleged bias be construed as unethical, they are playing the wrong game by the wrong rules.


*Full disclosure: I was a member Journolist along with about a dozen or so other listservs although I rarely have time to participate in any of them. The only thing I will say about it is that if it's an example of the vast left wing conspiracy, the blogosphere must be revolutionary anarchist invasion. Let's just say that the idea that it was a hotbed of radical liberal agitation and organizing is hilarious to me.


Update:

Joe Conason's piece on this is useful. This for instance is worth remembering:

Perhaps it is appropriate to give the last word to the American Spectator's John Tabin, who has written a striking dissent from the right-wing hysterics over Journolist:

Since 1993, Grover Norquist has held an off-the-record meeting every Wednesday where conservative activists, policy wonks, and government officials exchange ideas about policy and politics. Sometimes journalists attend. Depending on a particular journalist's ideological and partisan disposition -- which can vary quite a lot given the state of our media landscape, which includes both 'straight news' reporters (i.e. people who attempt to hide the almost-always-left-of-center opinions that shape their journalistic choices) and opinion journalists with various worldviews and temperaments -- journalists may be there to get ideas that will influence how they think about issues, or they may just be there to get perspective on how conservatives are thinking about the issues of the day.

The Wednesday Meeting has periodically been the source of breathless fear-mongering on the left about the all-powerful conservative conspiracy to control media narratives. This is, of course, absurd. Much of the hyperventilating over Journolist is equally absurd ...

Everyone who has been shown to have their work influenced by conversations on Journolist is, likewise, a commentator. That Chris Hayes tries to get perspective from other liberals before he goes on TV to opine on a topic, or that Joe Klein incorporates ideas from off-the-record exchanges into his blog posts, is not exactly earthshaking news. Commentators on the right do exactly the same thing -- it's just our emails don't get leaked because we're smart enough not to conduct these exchanges on listservs where we let the audience expand to include 400 people.

Update II: And then there's this, if you want an example of journalists in bed with the White House (from Bush At War)

"Rove also kept in touch with the party apparatus and leading conservatives. One important-looking confidential communication came in to Rove from one of Bush's senior friends, so Bush took it to the Oval Office.

"Roger Ailes, former media guru for Bush's father, had a message, Rove told the president. It had to be confidential because Ailes, a flamboyant and irreverent media executive, was currently the head of FOX News, the conservative-leaning television cable network that was enjoying high ratings. In that position, Ailes was not supposed to be giving political advice. His back-channel message: The American public would tolerate waiting and would be patient, but only as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible. Support would dissipate if the public did not see Bush acting harshly."


Just saying. They own it.

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