JournoList: Searching for a New Media Equilibrium

Kevin Glass
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Posted: Jul 22, 2010 11:22 AM
As Ed Morrissey reports, a third consecutive day of revelations about the liberal media listserv Journolist continues, this time a thread discussing the tack that those in the liberal media should take in response to the Palin pick for VP in the 2008 race.

Those members of Journolist who ever said anything intemperate have got to be getting more and more nervous as to exactly how much of the Journolist archives that The Daily Caller got their hands on. There are over 400 members of JournoList, many of whom are purportedly "objective journalists" who claim their reporting isn't colored by personal bias.

To their credit, many of the JournoListers are media members who realize that the old MSM model is not working and will not work in the age of the internet. On this, we agree. As Jim Treacher said, the old tack that the liberals took was simply to ignore a liberal media bias. Now that it's shown that there are members of the MSM with abject contempt for conservatives, they act surprised that this is considered news.[# More #]

I'd like to know what the liberal media defenders' actual tack on this is. It's one of three possibilities:

(1) MSM journalists are generally middle-of-the-road folk without strong political viewpoints and this makes them capable of objectively covering the news.
(2) It doesn't matter what journalists think. They're capable of divorcing personal bias from their journalism.
(3) Personal bias inevitably colors journalism, and the MSM is engaging in a fruitless task trying to cover it up. However, their "false objectivity" leads them to more conservative views than they would otherwise write about, and what would be truly objective would be to allow them to write about the "real facts," which makes for a more liberal media.

Anyone who believes (1) or (2), at this point is simply delusional. There's a possibility that people think the MSM should strive for (1), but right now, actually believing it is foolish. And some particularly capable journalists might be able to divorce their beliefs from their work, but it's doubtful. Deciding what "the story" is with respect to any piece of news is an act of subjectivism and is necessary to honest journalism.

I suspect that, for the most part, the progressive JournoListers believe option (3). To take one example: if you ask them about how global warming is covered in the media, they'll be unable to constrain their rage at what they see as a fake attempt to get "both sides of the story." If they had their way skeptics would never be reported on in the media, not because they believe the media should be liberal, but because they believe that the media should be "objective." They just believe that their opponents are evil liars, and thus would never be constituted as worthy of covering under their standard of objectivity.

And this is, what I believe, a part of the grand project of JournoList: to move the media away from what liberals believe to be "false objectivity" and towards a "liberal objectivity." Because they don't believe that conservatives are right about anything, and they don't believe in the good-faith discussion that should take place across the Left-Right spectrum, and they believe that conservatives are enemies rather than sparring partners, they think the MSM is too conservative, and seek to establish it as a tool on "their side" in the grand political war.