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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Journolist Rocks Rippling The Vast Media Ocean

The Daily Caller keeps throwing rocks in the vast ocean of mainstream media, highlighting emails sent to a list-serv called Journolist, with 400 members including media members and journalists) and the ripples from those rocks are running through the water and creating waves in some unlikely places.

It started with some careless comments from David Weigel that were leaked, which had him offering his resignation to the Washington Post, which was later accepted.

That little rock rippled throughout the media and blogosphere with liberals standing up for him saying those emails were meant to be private, despite the fact that there were 400 people on that list-serv, so how "private" did the members really think those emails would stay?

Conservatives stood up against Weigel being tasked with covering conservative topics after what Weigel had been exposed as saying about conservatives.

That was only the first rock tossed in the water.

Fast forward and we have The Daily Caller throwing rock after rock into the water and those ripples are creating some big waves right about now.

Next up, in a series of releases, the Daily Caller provided emails from the Journolist list-serv showing a concentrated effort and direct suggestions from members conspiring on how to limit the damage to Barack Obama from the Jeremiah Wright issue (racist Pastor making very racial remarks) by accusing some conservative, any conservative, of racism to distract from the issue. (That was suggested by Spencer Ackerman and yes, some liberal members disagreed).

Today, more rocks being thrown as excerpt after excerpt is being released by The Daily Caller, some dealing with Fox News and how enraged they make some of the liberal members of Journolist, others showing outright hatred from public media figures towards Rush Limbaugh.


If you were in the presence of a man having a heart attack, how would you respond? As he clutched his chest in desperation and pain, would you call 911? Would you try to save him from dying? Of course you would.

But if that man was Rush Limbaugh, and you were Sarah Spitz, a producer for National Public Radio (update: Spitz was a producer for NPR affiliate KCRW for the show Left, Right & Center), that isn’t what you’d do at all.

In a post to the list-serv Journolist, an online meeting place for liberal journalists, Spitz wrote that she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Limbaugh writhed in torment.

In boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. “I never knew I had this much hate in me,” she wrote. “But he deserves it.”

No doubt the Daily Caller will be providing more in their series of revelations, but what about the ripple effects which are already being seen?

We already are seeing NPR distancing themselves from Sarah Spitz making it clear that she is not an employee of theirs and hastily explaining her exact affiliation with them.

In fact, Spitz has never been an NPR employee. For many years, she has worked for KCRW, a public radio station in Santa Monica, California, as a producer and publicist.

More from KCRW:

And in an email to NPR, Jennifer Ferro, KCRW's general manager, said "the private comments made by one of our employees, Sarah Spitz, are regrettable for all of us at KCRW."

Sarah is a longtime employee of KCRW. Please note that she is not affiliated or employed by NPR, nor does she work as a journalist, as has been incorrectly reported in the media.

Sarah was not acting in her position as KCRW Publicity Director when she wrote these comments. She spoke in the heat of the moment without consideration to the impact her words would have. We've all said things we didn't mean and don't reflect our core values. We believe that was the situation in this case. KCRW has, and always will be, dedicated to civil discourse and the free exchange of ideas.

In that same release, Spitz herself issues a statement, apologizing:

I made poorly considered remarks about Rush Limbaugh to what I believed was a private email discussion group from my personal email account. As a publicist, I realize more than anyone that is no excuse for irresponsible behavior. I apologize to anyone I may have offended and I regret these comments greatly; they do not reflect the values by which I conduct my life.

I doubt that, they reflect her values, just do not reflect what she wants others to perceive as her values. If it did not project her values she wouldn't have said it.

Moving along....

Mark Levin has already provided a list of known members, found here (65 so far), Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight outed himself publicly to clear the air. (so make that 66)

Politics Daily is reporting that Michael Scherer of Time magazine, who recently won a seat on the board of directors of the White House Correspondents' Association and who participated in the Fox News thread, is in a position to hurt Fox News' Chances in gaining Helen Thomas's seat at White House briefings.

The Politico, who also had members of their writing staff as members of the Journolist list-serv, namely Ben Smith, who writes a piece stating he spoke to Politico's editor-in-chief John Harris about the whole Journolist affair.

Then you have The New Republic's Jonathan Chait responding to some harsh criticisms from Andrew Sullivan, pitting liberal against liberal.

See how many different directions these ripples are heading?

It is what James DeLong aptly describes as "JournoList as a Management Problem"

The real problem with JournoList is that much of it consisted of exchanges among people who worked for institutions about how to best hijack their employers for the cause of Progressivism. Thus, the J-List discussion revealed yesterday in the Daily Caller was about how the group could get their media organizations to play down the Reverend Wright affair and help elect Barack Obama.

Were I an editor of one of these institutions, I would instantly fire any employee who participated in this gross violation of his/her duty. For example, the J-List included Washington Post reporters, and the idea that the paper has been turned into a propaganda organ is a big reason it is bleeding readers and influence.

Of course, it is possible that the Post’s editors were on the list, since the membership is not known, in which case the corporate executives should fire the editors, or the board should fire the executives, or the stockholders should fire the board. (If Director Warren Buffet was on J-List, I give up.)

Check back, no doubt the Daily Caller will have much more for us to talk about later or tomorrow...heh