June 27, 2010

The entire Journolist archive needs to be made public.

1. We need to see the full context, in order to understand the part that is already public.

2. Journalists should not suppress information when the reason is only to serve their own private interests.

3. The mainstream media needs to return to high principles of neutral, professional journalism.

4. The mainstream media needs to distance itself from high-school-style cliquishness and grow up if it is to retain a readership.

5. The presumption should always be in favor of more information.

6. ...

126 comments:

Big Mike said...

Is this another poll. Where do I pick "all of the above"?

halojones-fan said...

I do like the implication that people who'd publicly post government secrets without a second thought believe that their own secrets must be kept away from the public eye.

David said...

My guess is that if the entire archive became public, a number of institutional and individual names in "journalism" would be greatly compromised. It's probably a huge archive--the semi unfiltered musings of a self selecting group of "influentials."

The biggest parallel I see here is Climategate. These guys and gals will not release this archive on their own, since they know they will look bad.

Interesting, though, that the downside of their clubbiness is just now occurring to them.

jayne_cobb said...

7. Profit?


Actually that might occur should they embrace your suggestions.

pm317 said...

Hear! Hear!

Sixty Grit said...

"The mainstream media needs to return to high principles of neutral, professional journalism." They can't return to a place you've never been. They cannot be something they have never been. Was Walter Cronkite fair? Or would an Obama voter be more inclined to think Walter Duranty was the model of fair and balanced reporting? Were William Randolph Hearst's reporters fair? Who got it right?

lucid said...

6. Journolist attempted to manipulate news coverage in order to serve a partisan agenda. The manipuations need to be revealed.

Meade said...

A3. Protecting Our Neutrality
35. Staff members and those on assignment for us may not accept anything that could be construed as a payment for favorable coverage or for avoiding unfavorable coverage. They may not accept gifts, tickets, discounts, reimbursements or other benefits such as promises to be your best friend forever from individuals or organizations covered (or likely to be covered) by their newsroom. Gifts should be returned with a polite explanation; perishable gifts may instead be given to charity, also with a note to the donor. In either case the objective of the note is, in all politeness, to discourage future gifts and promises to be your best friend forever.

former law student said...

1a. The Professor's telephones must be tapped, in order to put her blog posts into context. In fact, all intra-Meadehouse communications must be recorded and posted to the internet as a daily podcast, for the same reason.

garage mahal said...

3. The mainstream media needs to return to high principles of neutral, professional journalism.

Well the #1 cable news outlet in America routinely alters, and edits actual news events. Like turning up Howard Dean's scream, and removing applause for the President while speaking to the military. Oh that's right, you mean only journalists you think are liberal should disclose and report fairly. How could I be so stupid.

jayne_cobb said...

"1a. The Professor's telephones must be tapped, in order to put her blog posts into context. In fact, all intra-Meadehouse communications must be recorded and posted to the internet as a daily podcast, for the same reason."


Will they release a DVD collection with commentary from the cast?

Ann Althouse said...

"Well the #1 cable news outlet in America routinely alters, and edits actual news events. Like turning up Howard Dean's scream, and removing applause for the President while speaking to the military. Oh that's right, you mean only journalists you think are liberal should disclose and report fairly. How could I be so stupid."

Sure, but nothing is hidden. We're free to refute and reject that. I'm arguing for more information out in the open, a marketplace of ideas. We're all free to switch away from Fox. By the same token, when the Journolist archive is available, you don't have to read it.

jayne_cobb said...

"How could I be so stupid."

GM,

You realize you just set yourself up to be the butt of about a dozen or so jokes don't you?



WV-whomb (I'm not sure how to define it, but there is a joke about Andrew Sullivan in it)

lucid said...

6. Journolist was NOT a private activity. It was a secret association of professional journalists organized for professional puroses. The public has a right to know what they did.

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"The Professor's telephones must be tapped, in order to put her blog posts into context. In fact, all intra-Meadehouse communications must be recorded and posted to the internet as a daily podcast, for the same reason."

Explain why you think that's the same. Our family communications were not part of a commercial enterprise to control information to the public. My proposal to release the Journolist archive doesn't depend on secret monitoring. Anyone who has the archive -- anyone of 400 persons -- is free to upload it to the web or to send it to me so it can be read. So that's like if Meade or I for some reason wanted to write publicly about our relationship.

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...


Sure, but nothing is hidden.


Really? Seems to me most of all of it is hidden, we only see the finished product. Don't you want to see who and what FOX employees are emailing around to other? Kruathammer [employee of WaPo] recently said they "invent their own reality" at FOX.

Charity said...

6. We are nosy and we want the dirt. No, we need the dirt.

lucid said...

6. Journolist members delberately deceived the public by maintaining a pretense of independence while in fact coordinating coverage in secret among multiple news sources. They wanted the public to believe in something that ws not true.

somefeller said...

6. I gotta feed my obsession. Plus, that Weigel guy did something that really upset me awhile back!

John Lynch said...

What's struck me is how petty and banal the private internet forum of an elite group of journalists turned out to be.

It wasn't any more elevated than any half-informed comments section.

Experts really aren't any different.

lucid said...

6. The members of Journolist need to publicly identify themselves so that readers can more accurately appraise their work. Their employers need to make clear their policy with repect to their employees engaging in secret collaborations to manipulate the news.

Blue@9 said...

Sure, but nothing is hidden.

Really? Seems to me most of all of it is hidden, we only see the finished product. Don't you want to see who and what FOX employees are emailing around to other?


Sure, but Fox is one network. Even if they promote something bogus or bury a legit story, they can't control the narrative of their competitors.

But how do we know if the NYTimes, WashPost, HuffPo, CBS, et al. are burying something in concert? We won't. It'll just show up on WND and be laughed off as "not credible in the eyes of the mainstream media."

And if Fox is in deed colluding with other outlets to control stories, sure I want to know all about it. Don't you?

lucid said...

@Ann--

Notice the snarks coming out to attack you? I think you are really getting to them with this. Kick ass.

Seven Machos said...

6. Journalists have a duty to report the news, and they must manifestly avoid trying to shape it, which is exactly what this ridiculous list-serv was trying to do.

Brad said...

Well the #1 cable news outlet in America routinely alters, and edits actual news events. Like turning up Howard Dean's scream, and removing applause for the President while speaking to the military. Oh that's right, you mean only journalists you think are liberal should disclose and report fairly. How could I be so stupid.

Perfect example of someone who puts ideology & 'advancing the ball for his team' ahead of truth.

Which (it appears) is what Journolist was all about.

former law student said...

Our family communications were not part of a commercial enterprise to control information to the public.

Was that was Journolist was? To me it was the equivalent of a journalists' bar, where they felt free to let their hair down and complain -- a bit like General McChrystal hanging out with his staff after hours. But unlike a bar, being asynchronous and spread out over the world, Journolist had to rely on recorded comments and responses.

In general I believe private communications should stay private unless there is some public policy reason not to. (So I don't really advocate pillow talk podcasts even if the general rule 5. "The presumption should always be in favor of more information" holds.) But as I understand it, the only person who could benefit from putting his remarks in context is this David Weigel fellow.

Ann Althouse said...

"Notice the snarks coming out to attack you? I think you are really getting to them with this. Kick ass."

Actually, no. I don't go looking to see who's hating on me today. I do what I think is right and let the chips fall where they may. If I'm wrong, they will overcome me. If I'm right, perhaps I will have influence.

I note that on this one, I don't have to convince everyone or even a majority. I just need 1 person who is in possession of the archive to agree with me. And I think I'm right, so I believe that the information will break free.

Those who hope to control this... how can they win?

former law student said...

they must manifestly avoid trying to shape it, which is exactly what this ridiculous list-serv was trying to do.

How do people know so much about this private discussion group?

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AST said...

6. All journalists are equal, but they're not more equal than non-journalists and conservatives.

7. If you aren't mature enough to control your temper or at least keep your immature emotions to yourself, you shouldn't be working in journalism. Go do something else and vent your spleen by blogging.

8. There should be no forum or list where anyone feels "safe" in posting insults, slurs, smears or rants he/she wouldn't be comfortable publishing.

lucid said...

@Ann
It will be a great book.

lucid said...

6. One of the fundamental goals of free speech is the creation of a marketplace of ideas, a competition among diffferent points of view so that false speech is answered and better speech prevails.

Journolist attacked the essence of free speech by trying to control and manipulate the marketplace of ideas.

This is the antithesis of what journalism whould be.

former law student said...

Journolist corrupted the essence of free speech by controlling and manipulating the marketplace of ideas.

When everyone has the same access to information as everyone else, when people post their journalism on youtube so that tens of thousands of people can minutely analyse their tapes for the absence of spittle landing on Congressmen, when everyone posts their opinion every day as if the country had millions of Evans and Novaks, I have a real hard time accepting that thesis.

Seven Machos said...

In general I believe private communications should stay private unless there is some public policy reason not to.

Why should the Juicebox Mafia get to decide that 400 people get to have a private conversation? And if one of those people decides to go public -- which is what happened here -- how can they complain with any seriousness?

I am a very good secret keeper. The way I do it is, I don't tell anyone stuff I want to keep secret.

lucid said...

6. One of the fundamental goals of free speech is the creation of a marketplace of ideas, a competition among diffferent points of view so that false speech is answered and better speech prevails.

Journolist attacked the essence of free speech by trying to control and manipulate the marketplace of ideas.

This is the antithesis of what journalism should be.

John Lynch said...

I like people trying to get Fox into this. Does anyone really believe Fox is an unbiased news organization?

No, not even conservatives (maybe some do, in which case they need to reexamine their bullshit detectors). They know that it's just their own answer to the liberal bias of other networks.

Journolist is a forum for biased liberals. The difference between it and Fox is that we know who works for Fox. Who was on the list? If it was public it wouldn't matter as much, because we'd know who we were dealing with and could use our judgment about who to believe.

The root of the problem is that we don't know who was on the list, what they said, or what they did as a result. It could be that it was simply a noisy message board. Could be. But maybe not, and since we don't know we can only speculate.

The secrecy is what concerns me. Why be so secret? Like no one is going to notice a bunch of media elites talking to each other? On the internet? Why do journalists persist in demanding a level of respect and privacy that they would never grant anyone else?

It's not like Fox. Fox is blatantly obvious.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse - if you did get the files, I bet one of the juicier bits would be when the liberal MSM were all blessing the Dem's "deem & pass scheme". I am sure they spent a lot of 247 internet sleepover time making brownies and trying to put the right MSM spin on that bastard of an idea.

lucid said...

@former law student

your position, as always, is tendentious.

the internet has made it better, as have blogs like this one. but the major media corporations still play a huge role. just try to get a letter in the NYT or an op-ed in a major paper.

Journolist was a conspiracy to use major corporate media for partisan political purposes.

former law student said...

Journolist is a forum for biased liberals.

Did Reason magazine know David Weigel was a biased liberal when they hired him as an editor? Or was he a left-wing mole, who took the job to subvert and overthrow the libertarian movement?

former law student said...

Why are you making arguments when you've just admitted that you don't know anything about it?

I care about making private information public. My bias is towards intellectual freedom. I didn't see the necessity of getting Judge Bork's video rental records, for example.

Seven Machos post reminds me of the famous German song Die Gedanken sind frei -- as long as you keep them to yourselves. But it's only by airing one's thoughts that you can decide if they're half-baked or not.

AJ Lynch said...

"Journalists Bar" said FLS.

That is a good one. It shows how different you and I are.

I picture the old protypical reporter's bar where the grizzled reporter has a designaed seat at the end of the bar and the customers bring him news tips and he latest scandals. The reporter's nemeses [plural?] is a corrupt City Hall, gangsters, union thieves, and of course some big business tycoons.

Today your journalists are wining and dining with the old reporter's lifelong corrupt targets, going to barbecues at the VP
's house and writing story after story how Green Energy is good while his own spouse is making big big bucks GE or a windmill company.

Lastly, FLS, my reporters' bar was open to the public. That is a sharp contrast to your Journolist Bar.

Seven Machos said...

But it's only by airing one's thoughts that you can decide if they're half-baked or not.

That's not what this thing was. It was an orchestrated, invitation-only attempt by people who are supposed to be reporting news to instead shape the news itself before it was reported to the hoi polloi.

If you value the freedom of information, you cannot value forums such as these.

John Lynch said...

Hey, that's what it was. Ask Ezra Klein. Any conservatives there?

Weigal wasn't a conservative, as it turns out. So the fact he was on the list shows that whoever invited him knew more about him than we did. See the problem?

Anyway, it's a dumb thing to argue about. It was an explicitly liberal list.

That doesn't bother me. People have opinions. Reporters do, to. Big deal. But--

What bothers me is the power and the secrecy of the people on the list. If this was just the comments section on Balkinization it wouldn't matter.

Janis Gore said...

It looks like the same silly thing it was when kausfiles exposed it before.

You wrote about it.

John Lynch said...

Also, the disagreement about what went on there is because it was secret. All we can do is speculate. Liberals see nothing wrong, conservatives do. There's no way to find out without more information.

Which is what Althouse wants.

Seven Machos said...

John -- I'm not so worried about the power of the people behind this thing. It did seem to work for awhile, but reality is a pernicious thing. Your spin can only be spun for so long until the shit that is facts spews on your fan.

Really, in the long run, it works the opposite way. The Juicebox Mafia is just another liberal cocoon, where people of similar (and, in this case, similarly flaccid) intellect and persuasion can talk.

Still, on principle, 400 people in the news business should not be colluding about what to say publicly. That should strike anyone as wrong and grossly un-American.

SMGalbraith said...

Ugh, some of these journalists may have violated ethical guidelines but, it seems to me, that's up to their employers to work out.

Sure, I'd be interested in reading their posts but I think demands (requests? calls?) that they be released are a bit much.

Like Nixon should have done, burn the material (kidding).

garage mahal said...


Journolist was a conspiracy to use major corporate media for partisan political purposes..


And their master plan to carry out this conspiracy was forming an email group of over 400 people to run narrative forming ideas by each other, and continuing it after it had already been compromised? I would think just emailing each other privately without a list would be much stealthier.

AJ Lynch said...

Garage:

If you were ever part of a list serve, you'd understand the efficiency.

And it does not clog up your own email and you don't have to maintain group lists and / or cc 400 people.

AJ Lynch said...

Btw- was Journolist formed before the 2008 election? If so, I bet the emails back then would show major malfeasance by the MSM in its lovefest with candidate Obama.

edutcher said...

If the archive is made public, a good many people (though by no means everyone) will find out how they've been betrayed for so long. It's like finding out who taught Saul Alinsky his rules.

(Hint: Rhymes with gremlin)

former law student said...

It looks like the same silly thing it was when kausfiles exposed it before.


Once I persuaded google that I wasn't simply misspelling "journalist," I saw that March of 2009 was the big time to expose Journolist -- on HotAir and Politico, for example, as well as by kaus.

Seven Machos said...

I bet the emails back then would show major malfeasance by the MSM in its lovefest with candidate Obama.

There's no question that the lovefest for Candidate Obama approached surreal proportions such that there had to have been collusion. It's hard to fathom now, but back then criticizing Obama just wasn't done by right-thinking people.

As I say, though, reality is a bitch and it can't be spun for long. Ultimately, this groupthink does much more harm than good for the causes of the participants.

Seven Machos said...

I also want to go on record here as saying that the archive will prove a lot less compelling than some here predict. There will be some tasty morsels, but mostly it will be what it is: a bunch of lightweights harping snarkily on the issues of the day.

It'll be a lot like these comment threads, actually, except for the lightweight part. ;]

former law student said...

I'd like 7M a lot better if he consistently hewed to some crazy ideology. Like that Mick fella, for instance.

AJ Lynch said...

I agree Seven- there won't be any big bursts of brainpower from the hacks involved. And it's hard to be creative or develop new ideas when you are marching in lockstep.

garage mahal said...

If you were ever part of a list serve, you'd understand the efficiency.

I have an email distribution list of 200 clients I send offers to on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It could not be easier. Select group, and send. The theory that they wanted to continue to set narrative talking points after emails were forwarded to Mickey Kaus of all people, is pretty weak.

Seven Machos said...

FLS -- I was great in my 20s, man. I had ideology down.

John Lynch said...

Age makes you realize that ideology is just a justification for who should rule.

John Lynch said...

GM-

The Kaus leak was a while ago. Maybe they thought they'd plugged it. Maybe they did.

Any defense that says people would never do something in secret because it would come out ignores the fact that scandals happen all the time. Secrets are often broken. That doesn't change the fact that they were meant to be secret.

Seven Machos said...

I actually credit and have credited Althouse and many of the commenters here for showing me over the years for showing me how rich and varied the spectrum of thought on the left is.

Mostly, though, it's probably age that has calmed me down.

Bruce Hayden said...

What I see as having been pernicious here was the intentional management of the news by those who pretend to be unbiased and to report it. If candidate Obama said something that might hurt him, such as spreading the wealth around or about bitter clingers of religion and guns, they would, in unison, change the topic to Sarah Palin's family life, including who mothered what baby, who was paying for her clothes, etc. After the VP debates, they announced, again in unison, that Biden had won, while Palin looked like and idiot - and then ignored the fact that much of what Biden had said that night was pure imagination. When questions came up about Obama's credentials, the subject was changed, again, in mass, to that of the other party's VP candidate.

And, of course, it didn't stop at the election. I think that there is evidence that the coverage of the tea party movement has been as heavily managed as the presidential campaign was.

The result is that what many in America thought was the news of the day, turned out, apparently, to be contrived propaganda designed to put Obama in the White House and big majorities for the Democrats in Congress. Stories critical of their candidates were suppressed, while those critical of their opponents were sexed up and pushed.

Why would the archives be helpful?
- To see whether this list was really as harmless as those involve claim, or as pernicious as those like me claim.
- To see which stories were suppressed, how the topics was changed, etc. or not.
- To see who is involved, and, therefore which news organizations have been compromised and the level of the compromisation.

garage mahal said...

That doesn't change the fact that they were meant to be secret.

You seriously don't think conservative pundits don't email each other, or have their own email lists? Where do you stop? Prevent journalists from having lunch with each other? Trace their phone calls? Track their blackberry transmissions? This whole spectacle to me might be the dumbest thing I've seen in a long time.

lucid said...

It would be interesting to have ambush interviews--on video--of members of the media to ask if they were members of Journolist and then to ask them other questions about the list and its functioning.

It would be very telling to have them refusing to answer questons and getting angry at being asked. It would tell us a lot about how the media think of us and how they think about themselves.

John Lynch said...

gm-
Of course they do. Let me know when there is a list of 400 of them coordinating messages across different media. Then I'll say the same thing.

Remember the story about the no-name reporter in the White House press pool? He was an obvious plant to throw softball questions. Conservatives do play message games. They tend to be exposed a lot sooner than liberals because there are more liberals in the media.

Seven Machos said...

Bruce -- That's all true. You make a strong case. In response, and mostly in passing, I note three things:

1. The 1994 election was very similar to the 2008 election. Bill Clinton was deified. This collusion thing has happened many times before in history and it was probably much easier when media gatekeeping existed. The Juicebox Mafia was just stupid in the way it tried to collude.

2. McCain was a terrible, terrible candidate. Even I didn't want to vote for him.

3. There is a difference, still, even though it's murky, between reporters and opinioners. Klein is definitely an opinioner and I don't think he makes any bones about it. Weigel has no case for that. I don't know about the other 398.

Seven Machos said...

Garage -- Who is talking about preventing anyone from doing anything. There is an archive that exists. We'd like to see it.

The people who are preventing are the people who are keeping the archive secret. And idiot enablers like you just tag along.

New said...

You said, Ann. I had posted this on your earlier thread. Yes, yes, yes. We need it accessible. First, by allowing Ezra to delete it, we have created two-tier system. If a GOP had done it, it is hello unemployment. Ezra walks free. Why no one at Media Matters or Huff Post has blog about Ezra's act has totally confused me? Your blog needs to be known everywhere.

garage mahal said...

Garage -- Who is talking about preventing anyone from doing anything. There is an archive that exists. We'd like to see it.

So what rules do we establish right now so this secret cabal can't exist in the future, that's what I want to know. What journalistic ground rules.

Doug Wright said...

IMHO, Journolist houses today's version of budding Walter Durantys types, all with tingles going up their legs. It'll be a shame if all newspapers die because holding a laptop while drinking coffee is froth with peril and it doesn't have the same tactile feel.

garage mahal said...

gm-
Of course they do. Let me know when there is a list of 400 of them coordinating messages across different media. Then I'll say the same thing.


So it's a list of 400 people that make it bad? Is 300 okay? 100? Is 3 okay? Are conference calls allowed? Can they call or email each other at all?

Bruce Hayden said...

3. There is a difference, still, even though it's murky, between reporters and opinioners. Klein is definitely an opinioner and I don't think he makes any bones about it. Weigel has no case for that. I don't know about the other 398.

And that is the rub here. We know that Weigel was portrayed as a journalist and not as an opinioner. How many others? My, admittedly prejudiced, guess is quite a few. The news has just been too well orchestrated and managed during the time that this list was active.

I agree that Sen. McCain was not a very good candidate. I got on board grudgingly, seeing through, I think, the spin in favor of his opponents. But how much of McCain being a poor candidate was spin by these journalists, and how much was reality? And, of course, the opposite is also in question. How really good a candidate was Barack Obama? He said a lot of questionable things throughout the campaign that were essentially suppressed, most often by an immediate and concerted change of topic by the MSM. In other words, if the candidates had been effectively switched, would the results have been the same?

Seven Machos said...

We don't establish any rules, Garage. If news entities wish to establish rules, they are certainly free to do so.

As for the archive, we want to see it. Why are we prevented from seeing it?

former law student said...

There is an archive that exists. We'd like to see it.

Young David Kernell just wanted to see if he could read Sarah Palin's email. And he discovered he could. But he was prosecuted for gratifying his curiosity, although convicted only for covering up his acts.

Seven Machos said...

Bruce -- I don't think McCain would have beaten any Democrat. I don't think any Republican would have beaten any Democrat (within the realm of possibility). It was a Democratic year. The Republicans were spent in terms of political capital and in terms of intellectual spirit. Moreover, they had been drunk on power and had turned corrupt.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

We don't establish any rules, Garage. If news entities wish to establish rules, they are certainly free to do so.

One of the journolist rules was that they didn't want you in their list, or for you to see their emails. Now precisely why should they show them to you?

Seven Machos said...

Young David Kernell just wanted to see if he could read Sarah Palin's email.

Young David Kernell committed a crime. This is why he was convicted of a crime.

These journalists have committed no crime, despite the claims of our protestethness too much of our resident leftists who can only respond by trying to pass a law to prevent behavior. But they're not fascists. Not them.

Bruce Hayden said...

So it's a list of 400 people that make it bad? Is 300 okay? 100? Is 3 okay? Are conference calls allowed? Can they call or email each other at all?

I think that it depends on whether they are being portrayed as reporters/ journalists or opinion writers. I have no problem with opinion writers talking together.

And, I think that it depends on what organizations they are writing for, and how much of the news coming out of these news organizations is being coordinated. NYT, WaPo, LAT, AP, the alphabet networks, CNN, PMSNBC, NPR are bad, because they control so much of the upstream news. The papers in smaller cities not nearly as bad.

Seven Machos said...

Now precisely why should they show them to you?

Because we want to see them. "They" already showed "them" to Mickey Kaus and to the Daily Caller guy. "They" will probably show more.

What's your problem with "that"?

John Lynch said...

gm-

I'm not talking about rules. There's no crime here. People can say and do what they want on the internet.

It's a matter of information. If people with some amount of power are doing something that matters in secrecy, that might be something we want to know about. Whether it's "OK" or not depends on what happened. If they were all sharing cookie recipes no one would care. I doubt that was the case.

Like I said, if this was some other group on the internet it wouldn't matter. The comments section on Althouse probably has had a lot more than 400 people, but they are relatively powerless and also public (in what we say if not our identities).

I don't think we can, or should, legally compel answers out of a private listserv. However, I'd really like to know what happened there. Newspapers find out private things all the time without doing anything other than asking questions.

There's no real principle here other than wanting to know what our betters are up to. I think that's fine.

garage mahal said...

Because we want to see them. "They" already showed "them" to Mickey Kaus and to the Daily Caller guy. "They" will probably show more.

What's your problem with "that"?


I'd like to see Salma Hayek's tits, but if it came down to seeing them from some pervert taking pictures through a peephole, I'd rather not. Yes, I just compared you to a Peeping Tom.

LoafingOaf said...

Althouse, I fully support the call for someone to make the Journolist archives public.

But did you happen to see that your commenters have proven in this thread on your blog (scroll way down) that more than one conservative listserv for conservative bloggers and journalists exists? We know next to nothing about these top secret conservative listservs, except a few confessions here and there that they do, in fact, exist, and that the daily postings on these listservs would be embarrassing if they were ever leaked. Shouldn't there be a call for more info about those conservative listservs, too? And for their archives?

It's odd that bigtime bloggers such as InstaPundit never seem to mention that conservative versions of Journolist exist. Are they so top secret that even Glenn Reynolds doesn't know about them? Or is he hiding their existance from us? I heard about Journolist a long time ago.....

But, yeah, see the comments section at the link and you'll see your commenters have proven they do exist.

I'd like to know more about what's going on on all these listservs, left and right. And certainly people should be aware that there are more than one conservative listservs very similar to Journolist out there. We don't even know the names of those conservative listservs, so I guess the bloggers and journalists on them are much more hardcore in their code of silence.

John Lynch said...

So spying on a private internet list is wrong?

If a story broke about internal BP discussions about the oil spill I doubt anyone would think that was wrong.

The private often matters a lot to the public.

Some people do deserve to keep secrets. Private individuals do deserve to be left alone. Media people trying to claim the same privilege are confused about their line of work.

John Lynch said...

Loafing Oaf--

Sure, why not?

I don't like my information being coordinated and codified across different media. The whole point of going to different media and different writers is to get different points of view.

If the listservs really are forums for discussions and ideas, that's fine. I'm sure to some extent they are. But to the extent they are not it concerns me.

Information matters. This is exactly the sort of collusion that media uncovers in private industry and government all the time. That's fine- that's part of their job. But media deserves the same scrutiny.

Whoever exposes conservative listserves will be a liberal, and that's OK too. You get the dirt on someone from their enemies.

Seven Machos said...

Garage -- You are being ridiculous. If Selma Hayek put a picture of her tits on a list serv with 400 people, and one of those 400 people forwarded the picture to someone else who then put it on a website, that's Selma Hayek's problem because Selam Hakyek would be a complete dumb ass.

You have to try harder than this. I have seen you make good arguments on occasion. It's sad that you end up in such straits as this most of the time.

Seven Machos said...

Oaf -- I encourage the dissemination of virtually all information. I worked with highly classified information, by the way. Most of it is stupid.

This information sure ain't classified, either.

Bruce Hayden said...

Bruce -- I don't think McCain would have beaten any Democrat. I don't think any Republican would have beaten any Democrat (within the realm of possibility). It was a Democratic year. The Republicans were spent in terms of political capital and in terms of intellectual spirit. Moreover, they had been drunk on power and had turned corrupt.

You may be right, but the Democrats have always been the more corrupt party. For pretty much every GOP ethics scandal, there have been several similar, and most often more egregious, Democratic ones quietly suppressed. How else do you explain two successive Democratic Presidents having had significant ethical questions about their pasts that were essentially ignored by the press during their respective campaigns? Bill's affairs and Hillary's monetary shenanigans were known, as well as the issues about Obama's house. And, it is far worse in Congress. The difference seems to be that Republicans fire their corrupt politicians, while the Democrats promote theirs (note that picture yesterday of Frank and Dodd, both with checkered pasts, overseeing financial "reform").

Yes, it was a Democratic year. But would it have been if there hadn't been a concerted effort by the MSM to tar the Republicans as corrupt and drunk on power, while ignoring significantly more corruption on the part of the Democrats?

nenhum said...

Why it would be of any public interest liberal bloggers gossiping with each other?

I once tried to create a listserv among Brazilian bloggers because I thought that it would be a great resource for bloggers to exchange articles and information.

Besides that, we are talking about a group of people where their whole professional lifes revolves around writing pages and pages of texts, and reading the web. It´s a lonely job.

I don´t want to know about Ezra´s or Matthew Yglesias personal problems....

John Lynch said...

20th century media technology favored government and large corporations. The internet changed that, and I'd rather it stayed changed.

Using the internet to turn back the clock on information dissemination is perverse.

Seven Machos said...

Why it would be of any public interest liberal bloggers gossiping with each other?

What is it with you people and law? Is law really everything that governs life? There is no "public interest" issue here to decide. I want to see the archive. Me. Seven Machos. And other people.

Fuck the public interest. That has no basis in anything.

mr. burlingame said...

let me know if you start a fund to help entice any of the 400 to share ...

Janis Gore said...

From what I've seen of Journolist, the worst to come is what the members think of each other.

I can be convinced otherwise.

John Lynch said...

We need a "300" movie poster photoshop.

But with 400.

Wendy Kloiber said...

Ann, I think you might be overrating the efficacy of a 25-year-old Ezra Klein's efforts to get his friends to talk to each other. Lefties are famously hard to get to agree to anything, let alone coverage of major issues in a market with cutthroat competition.

I fear when you get the archive it will be very unsatisfying as an artifact of Liberal Scheming, though a fun source of juicy tidbits.

There's something that strikes me as generational about the response to JournoList. I wonder what danah boyd thinks? It seems to me like a bunch of wired millenials doing their cooperating/social learning thing. I'd be shocked if people on it weren't primarily arguing with each other, asking questions, and self-promoting.

Fen said...

Libtard: Was that was Journolist was? To me it was --

What part of "conspired to shape the news" do you not get?

I know you enjoy being fed with a shovel, but geez... are you really this stupid?

I think I need another round of Libtards lecturing us all on how intelligent they are. I've lost the faith.

Someone grab Ritmo and his Thesaurus. Quick!

Fen said...

Libtard: Young David Kernell just wanted to see if he could read Sarah Palin's email

Hack. He wanted to see if he could hack into her email account.

Damn, you Lefties really are this stupid.

John Lynch said...

Whoever leaked Journolist was probably a party to it.

Hacking an email is not the same. If you hack an email you aren't supposed to be looking at it. That's not the same as leaking a forum you have access to. One's a crime, one is not.

Note that the media published that, too.

John Stodder said...

6. The chain of command of reporter to editor needs to be restored. Journalists should not be taking any kind of direction from, or feel pressure to conform their analysis with, their peers, or feel like it's up to them to share information with them about leads, sources, angles or ultimate impact of a story. It's the editor to whom the reporter or columnist should look for guidance, period.

former law student said...

Damn, you Lefties really are this stupid.

At least we don't confuse ends with means. From the Washington Times, September 19, 2008: "A person taking credit for hacking into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo account claims to have read the Republican vice-presidential candidate's e-mails to find something that "would derail her campaign" after using publicly available biographical data to reset her password, according to a posting on the Internet.

Kernell wanted to read Palin's emails in the hopes of digging up some dirt. Commenters here want to read the Journolist's journalists' emails in the hopes of digging up some dirt.

I kind of doubt that anyone would have saved all of the listserv emails, because most people are not packrats, and apparently it was a high volume list. High volume lists deluge one with email -- personally I set my preferences to digest or nomail in that case.

Apparently Journolist was a google group -- subscribers could have just pointed their browsers over there to read the messages. But now it no longer exists.

Seven Machos said...

FLS -- If someone hacks Google to get into this list serv, that's arguably a crime. Forwarding the information is not. It's like if you break into my house and steal stuff, it's a crime. If I give you my stuff, it's not a crime. Even if you take what I give you and give it to someone else, or copy it to the whole world, it's still not a crime.

See?

former law student said...

For pretty much every GOP ethics scandal, there have been several similar, and most often more egregious, Democratic ones quietly suppressed.

Don't be so modest. From Teapot Dome to Abramoff, the GOP has kept up their end.

former law student said...

Even if you take what I give you and give it to someone else, or copy it to the whole world, it's still not a crime.


Does copyright law mean nothing to you? Have you never seen the "FBI Warning" at the beginning of a videorecording? I'm pretty sure that "forwarding copies of my messages to Althouse" was not one of the bundle of rights that the journalist-participants granted each other.

Or are you going to argue that Althouse is a library? Because copying an entire archive of 400 people's work is not likely to be considered "fair use."

Bruce Hayden said...

Does copyright law mean nothing to you? Have you never seen the "FBI Warning" at the beginning of a videorecording? I'm pretty sure that "forwarding copies of my messages to Althouse" was not one of the bundle of rights that the journalist-participants granted each other.

Or are you going to argue that Althouse is a library? Because copying an entire archive of 400 people's work is not likely to be considered "fair use.
"

The big issue in getting to criminal copyright infringement is commercial advantage or private financial gain. Plus, it is mostly limited to computer programs and motion pictures. See 17 U.S.C. § 506 for more information.

Otherwise, you just have the tort of copyright infringement, and if the creators of the works didn't promptly register their works (i.e. their emails), then they are unlikely to get either attorneys' fees or statutory damages.

And, even if that were the case, you still have the pesky problem of license. What exactly was the "license" for the listserve group? I belong to maybe a half dozen such groups, and haven't the foggiest what the terms and conditions are, or, indeed, if there are any that might affect copyright license. And note that changing them after someone has signed up is likely fruitless.

Finally, as you note, there is the aspect of Fair Use, if all else fails (ok, it may not help as a criminal defense, but that is highly unlikely anyway). There is definitely some news value in the emails, and so the 17 U.S.C. § 107 factors may lean towards Fair Use.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add to my last point. It is unlikely that the posters to the listserve promptly registered their emails with the Copyright Office. And if they didn't, they likely lost statutory damages and attorneys' fees.

Both could be very significant here. Normal statutory damages are between $750 and $30k per infringement, and each email could be considered a single act of infringement. Statutory damages may be cranked to $150k per infringement for willful infringement, but reduced to $200 for innocent infringement (which under current law, and with this group of journalists, I would think impossible to prove). Attorneys' fees would likely run from $100k on up.

But here is the problem - copyright owners (essentially) need to show prior registration for attorneys' fees and statutory damages. Prevailing defendants do not. That means that if the journalists sued and lost there is a possibility that they might end up owing attorneys' fees to the other side (again, $100k on up), likely without a chance at such on their side due to not promptly registering the emails.

John Stodder said...

I kind of doubt that anyone would have saved all of the listserv emails, because most people are not packrats, and apparently it was a high volume list

Most people are not packrats? It is more work to erase e-mails than to let them sit in your inbox. Some people religiously erase, some do it half-assedly and some just wait til their administrator says they're up against a limit. Out of 400 people, my guess is at least 150 fall into the latter category. Considering the type of people on this list -- people who use their e-mail archives as one more place to be researched -- a more realistic guess is probably 300.

Eric said...

As a result of Sarbanes-Oxley virtually every public corporation saves its emails and IM correspondence. Even if everyone on Journolist deleted every email from his personal inbox there are as many copies out there as there are people on the list who used their work email. It might take a lawsuit to get at them, but email is, for all intents and purposes, forever.

Porkov said...

My parents said "Walk a mile another man's moccasins before you criticize him." When I imagine myself as a member of Jounolist, one of my first reactions is to patch the leak. The person who ratted out Weigel must be found and cast into the outer darkness. Just like people sworn to secrecy by our government who leak to reporters should be tried for treason.

AllenS said...

If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, you'll hear his montage of talking heads from TV land. It's the same thing. These mouths must talk to each other about news stories. They'll all have the same phrase, sentence, or direction that they want to peddle. And it happens all of the time.

HDHouse said...

I see. "We need" is all that "you need".

I had a lawyer once who I wound up suing because a friend of his wanted to look into my records kept there - for buyout advantage to be sure. He let his "good old boy" look. I sued. The judge asked me what was in the records that i was not wanting to show.

My response was I asked the judge for his personal diary at home. He replied (catching on) that it was his and at home and I had no business. But, I asked, what is there to hide?

He replied that he had an undertandable expectation of privacy as those are the rules of a diary.

I replied that I had a reasonable expectation of privacy because i was paying this attorney.

Journolist made a privacy rule. Those involved had a reasonable expectation that those enrolled wouldn't be ratbastards.

Fen said...

Libtard: Kernell wanted to read Palin's emails in the hopes of digging up some dirt. Commenters here want to read the Journolist's journalists' emails in the hopes of digging up some dirt.

Get back to us when you understand the difference between "hack" and "leak"

AllenS said...

Mr. House,

I believe that The Althouse Woman just wanted to see a list of people who belong to the Journolist. I don't think that she stated she wanted to read their emails.

Sounds like people are embarassed to be on the list.

Largo said...

My three cents worth: three rough, comforting observations about groups like this -- be they formal or informal, online or offline, liberal or conservative.

(1) The potential for real effective and pernicious coordinated activity is proportional to the size of the group (linearly or whatever).

(2) The difficulties in keeping such workings secret is also proportional to the size of the group.

The third is a different sort of observation:

(3) The moral gravity of releasing inside information is inversely proportional to the size of the group. Sharing a confidence held by six may be culpable. Sharing a confidence held by six thousand? Hardly at all.

Calypso Facto said...

Pretty straightforward...

Collusion: a secretive agreement between two or more persons to limit open competition by misleading others. It can involve "misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties."

former law student said...

Get back to us when you understand the difference between "hack" and "leak"

So if a non-member of the list guessed Klein's password and sent Althouse the archive, she would scruple to read it? What if the archive's recipient was less scrupulous than Althouse?

Ann Althouse said...

"I replied that I had a reasonable expectation of privacy because i was paying this attorney."

There is an attorney-client privilege in the law. So are you positing some kind of 400-person email list privilege. Absurd!

Ann Althouse said...

"I believe that The Althouse Woman just wanted to see a list of people who belong to the Journolist. I don't think that she stated she wanted to read their emails."

No. I want the entire archive of all the email. I think it should be made public, like the Pentagon Papers.

Ann Althouse said...

"Commenters here want to read the Journolist's journalists' emails in the hopes of digging up some dirt."

I'm not looking for dirt. I'm looking for insight into how journalists self-discipline and participate in the structuring of the news that reaches the public. It's about transparency and truth. I want better journalism in the end. What we have now is pretty bad, and I would like to look into an area of possible rot.

I'm quite serious.

jamboree said...

I don't agree - though maybe they'll gain a new respect for why anyone freaks out when some journalist makes the archives of their private conversations public.

You know what they're saying about you anyway. You can feel it. What you've always suspected they are saying about you? They are. I'm always surprised how viciously rude people are about you. You're hardly a Freeper, but I guess that's the point. You should know better, theoretically.

Original Mike said...

"2) The difficulties in keeping such workings secret is also proportional to the size of the group."

Which makes it all the more astounding that the government has kept the moon landing hoax secret all these many years.

Largo said...

(Tighten your tongue, Mike!)

AllenS said...

Althouse...

No. I want the entire archive of all the email. I think it should be made public, like the Pentagon Papers.

Heard
Understood
Acknowledged

If you go after them, I'll help with expenses.

Original Mike said...

@Largo - Yeah, I know. It's what got Gus Grissom whacked. But in my case, I'm a nobody, so they'll probably leave me alone.

afarrago said...

Because journalists as a profession make others' lives public.