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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daily Caller Provides More JournoList Fodder: List-Serv Members Coordinate To Destroy Sarah Palin

The majority of the discussion on the Journolist, a list-serv, started by Erza Klein and consisting of 400 members, most of which involved in journalism and/or the media, regarding Sarah Palin, seemed to be just a bitching session, complaining about John McCain's pick.

I said the majority, but once again, what the leaked Journolist emails provide everyone, is a look inside the mind of the Left, but more importantly, the minds of media talking heads on the Left.

For example:

Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obama’s “non-official campaign” would need to work hard to discredit Palin. “This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldn’t say – very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here – scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away …… bang away at McCain’s age making this unusually significant …. I think people should be replicating some of the not-so-pleasant viral email campaigns that were used against [Obama].”

Obama's "non-official campaign".

Think about that for a second, members in that thread, journalists from publications such as Bloomberg News, The Politico, The New Yorker, Nation, Mother Jones, New America Foundation, Human Rights Watch, discussing Sarah Palin and just how to approach negating her impact on Hillary Clinton supporters and on Obama's campaign.

The Daily Caller did not release any portion of the thread that showed even one member of the 400 members denying or disagreeing that Journolist and the journalists that belonged to it, were "Obama's "non-official campaign".

I have not been one to suggest that Erza Klein produce the complete archives from his list-serv, but I will say that if he has even one email from that thread that shows members disagreeing with being considered Obama's "non-official campaign", now would be the time to produce it.

Using Journolist to coordinate the message

It has been pointed out by NRO and Hot Air that Time’s Joe Klein, who was a member of Journolist, used the "ideas" thrown around at Journolist, and linked to his own column where he did so.

Time’s Joe Klein then linked to his own piece, parts of which he acknowledged came from strategy sessions on Journolist. “Here’s my attempt to incorporate the accumulated wisdom of this august list-serve community,” he wrote. And indeed Klein’s article contained arguments developed by his fellow Journolisters. Klein praised Palin personally, calling her “fresh” and “delightful,” but questioned her “militant” ideology. He noted Palin had endorsed parts of Obama’s energy proposal.

Another instance provided by the Daily Caller is the Nation's Chris Hayes directly asking for more talking points from Journolist members:

“Keep the ideas coming! Have to go on TV to talk about this in a few min and need all the help I can get,” Hayes wrote.

The idea to accuse John McCain of sexism in picking Palin as his running mate came from Suzanne Nossel, chief of operations for Human Rights Watch, who said “I think it is and can be spun as a profoundly sexist pick. Women should feel umbrage at the idea that their votes can be attracted just by putting a woman, any woman, on the ticket no matter her qualifications or views.”

The response from Mother Jones' Jonathan Stein was "That’s excellent! If enough people – people on this list? – write that the pick is sexist, you’ll have the networks debating it for days. And that negates the SINGLE thing Palin brings to the ticket."

Another writer from Mother Jones, Nick Baumann, had this idea: “Say it with me: ‘Classic GOP Tokenism’.”

Not having a full list of members who belonged to Journolist, we work with what we have.

For example, using the keywords McCain, Palin, sexism and tokenism, from the thread above, Google provides us with results that include those exact keywords.

All of this coincidence? You decide.

American Prospect (where Journolist creator Erza Klein had his full time blog) headlines with "McCain's Sexist VP Pick", sub header "The GOP seems to think women will eagerly vote for any ticket that includes a member of their gender. That's Republican tokenism and pandering at its worst."

That was written by Ann Friedman, and we do not not yet if she was or was not a member of Journolist because a full list of names has not been provided, although Mark Levin has gathered up a partial list. (65 out of approximately 400 members).

Here is another "coincidence" for you.

Salon, (same exact date as the Palin announcement of GOP VP nominee and hours within the list-serv "discussion"), the Prospect piece, and the Klein piece linked above:

But perhaps even more damaging, Palin's almost total lack of qualifications makes McCain's pick look like blatant tokenism. It is painfully clear that he only chose her because she fills a symbolic/demographic niche. Of course, vice-presidential picks are always driven by such concerns, by the need to shore up political weaknesses and appeal to crucial swing voters. But rarely, if ever, has that Machiavellian truth been so obvious.
Well that little experiment worked out, so I decided to try another.

Amidst this debate over how most effectively to destroy Palin’s reputation, reporter Avi Zenilman, who was then writing about the campaign for Politico, chimed in to note that Palin had “openly backed” parts of Obama’s energy plan. In an interview Wednesday, Zenilman said he sent the information as a means of promoting a story he had written for Politico.

Back to Google. Keywords, "Sarah Palin, Obama and energy plan."

The Politico piece linked in the thread was August 5, 2008.

NBC News' First Read, "Palin praised Obama's energy plan", and the First Read story uses the exact press release from the Politico article that Zenilman linked to in the Journolist thread.

I figured, why not keep Googling specific keywords from the leaked emails and the hits just keep coming.

Going back to the original quote from Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation where he said, "bang away at McCain's age making this unusually significant."

I come up with yet more "coincidences".

New York Times, writes "The question is particularly acute for Mr. McCain, who turned 72 on Friday and would be the oldest person elected to a first term as president if he won in November." Also stating "scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away."

Washington Post, writes "Democrats immediately seized on her lack of political experience, noting that McCain, who turned 72 on Friday, will be confirmed next week as the oldest first-time presidential nominee in history."

Wall Street Journal, writes "They were quick to note that Sen. McCain turned 72 Friday and would be the oldest person to enter the White House, yet he is trying to put a heartbeat from the Oval Office a woman who has spent less time in the governors' mansion than Sen. Obama has in the Senate. Just a few years ago, she was mayor of Wasilla, a town of 9,780 people."

Then we have Eric Alterman, a known member of Journolist, whom we did not see any emails saying he participated in the Sarah Palin thread, but the theme seems to be there.
McCain aside--is Sarah Palin ready to assume the presidency? The media is surely anxious to hit this softball out of the park. McCain ran a year-long campaign based on the virtue of experience, and then chose a vice-president who, the last time there was a presidential election, held Mayor of Wasilla as her largest electoral accomplishment.

The Guardian, (We already know that one writer for the Guardian, Daniel Davies is a known member of Journolist from excerpts in the leaked Fox News thread emails), writes "The Democrats will also raise questions about whether Palin passes the "commander-in-chief test" — that is, would she be able to assume the presidency should McCain, 72, become incapacitated."

Search engines are such a wonderful tool. Admittedly, with the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, it was guaranteed that there would be a tremendous amount of ink dedicated to the pick and there is no doubt in my mind that some of the "themes" used were coincidental in nature.

But all of them? All hours after members of Journolist discussed the best line of attacks?

From the Daily Caller piece:

In the hours after Sen. John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the last presidential race, members of an online forum called Journolist struggled to make sense of the pick. Many of them were liberal reporters, and in some cases their comments reflected a journalist’s instinct to figure out the meaning of a story.

But in many other exchanges, the Journolisters clearly had another, more partisan goal in mind: to formulate the most effective talking points in order to defeat Palin and McCain and help elect Barack Obama president. The tone was more campaign headquarters than newsroom.

I am definitely not a conspiracy theorist but I also do not believe in this much coincidence and after the previous leaked excerpts showing Journolist members working in conjunction and using well known publications to further their own political agenda, such as the Racism meme again Republicans when Jeremiah Wright became an issue, threads discussing fear, anger and the desire to see Fox News gone and the continuing ripples from each day's Daily Caller releases, one has to at least be suspicious of how well coordinated these lines of attacks are with the timing of the emails sent along the Journolist list-serv.

What a better way to end this post than with Sarah Palin giving the "sick puppies" a piece of her mind.

From a remote location on an island off Alaska’s coast, former Governor Sarah Palin is blasting what she describes as the “sick puppies” in the media who immediately and ruthlessly attacked her when Sen. John McCain picked her as his running mate during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Read what else Palin has to say at... where else.... The Daily Caller.

[Update] Quick note here. The problem we all face right now is the Daily Caller obviously has a treasure trove of emails but no one has published a list of members, a full list.

Until someone does, everything written by any member of the press is going to have people asking... was the writer a member of Journolist and can we trust what they are writing?