June 28, 2010

"Well, I'd like to know whether they are defaming me on JournoList."

That's something I blogged back in March 2009.

I'd still like to know. Don't I have a right to know what a gang of 400 journalists are saying about me, as they endeavor to shape my reputation, decide that all the good people must avoid linking to me, or whatever it is they do?

If I were to bring a defamation suit based on Ezra Klein's lie "Ann Althouse sure has a lot of anti-semitic commenters," I would seek access to the Journolist archive, and I believe I would get it. There is no privilege that would shield this information from discovery. Lawyers, argue with me if you think I'm wrong.

I'm not the litigating type — though when I practiced law, I worked in the litigation department — and I am not threatening to sue. I am saying this to make one more argument for why the Journolist archive needs to be made public.

107 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

Ezra says "Mommy, please save me from this mean lady"!

David said...

I'm not the litigating type — though when I practiced law, I worked in the litigation department.

You say that as if it were odd, but I don't think very many litigators are, on their own behalf, litigious. Nothing makes people less likely to sue than really understanding what litigation entails: the chance to disclose your most important secrets to a bunch of strangers, all in service of putting your future in the hands of people not smart enough to get out of jury duty.

AllenS said...

If you go through with this, and there is a filing fee, and you need expense money, let us know. I'll help pay your way.

Fred4Pres said...

Journalists are such dweebs.

And they are not subject to any special privileges or immunities. Nor should they be.

Bob Ellison said...

I don't like your assertion that you have a "right" to know what was said. I have no idea what the courts would say-- I'm not a lawyer-- but the Journolisters were ostensibly a private group, no? trading in what they thought were private communications, no?

Perhaps you would argue that at some point the group becomes big enough and powerful enough that its right to associate privately and without fear of intrusion collapses under other rights, like yours to sue for defamation. I'm not a lawyer, and I know the "right" I just cited isn't in the Constitution; it's just Americanish. I don't mean to put words or arguments in your mouth, either; I'm just trying to understand what you're saying.

Can't we just hate (or love) Journolist as we see fit without demanding some "right" to peer into their underpants? Journolist seems to be dying just fine without that.

GMay said...

Ezra Klein said: "Ann Althouse sure has a lot of anti-semitic commenters..."

Cedarford does fill up quite a bit of space here, but I would hardly call him "a lot".

Scott M said...

Who is optimistic enough to think that this archive, not subject to FOIA requests, isn't full of gaps and holes by now?

Roger J. said...

Except for one notable commenter, I don't recall seeing much anti-semitism on the blog comments.

tim maguire said...

I think it's an excellent idea. We all have a right to know who these 400 are but I was dubious that anybody would have standing to sue to compel disclosure.

I hadn't thought of defamation (because I didn't know a statement like that had gone public). You'd be doing a great public service if you went for it.

A.W. said...

Ann, you should send them a letter: open up the archives, or i will sue and ask for it in discovery. We can do this the hard way or the easy way.

Christopher said...

Weigel's posted an explanation--that's really an inadequate word, I don't know what to call it but it's pathetic--over at Big Journalism. Maybe Ann should go over there and ask him to cough up whatever he has.

Daniel said...

Ann, from having read for a few years (4?), I've noticed that one of your defining traits (and one of the reasons you've had so much success as a blogger) is that you absolutely hate to be criticized, and make every effort to beat people into submission when they criticize you. Breasts and your marriage to Meade* are very prominent examples come to mind, though I think this is a defining day-to-day feature of the blog. This is good and bad, important, entertaining and often petty, at the same time enforcing accountability and part of a massive trend towards umbrage everyone seems to have to take these days. Like thin skin and a penchant for holding grudges are entry requirements for the blogosphere or something. (A defamation suit against Ezra Klein? Really? Silly.)

Can I ask you -- why the hell do you care what people may have gossiped about you on the Journolist? Some might say that this is a gimmick to add to your "open the archives" campaign, but I think, based on my observation above, that you really want to dig into those archives, find anything that may have been said about you, and absolutely tear into the authors -- and, for that matter, anyone who either agreed or didn't actively disagree. You want to take private communications and make them public for the purpose of umbrage-taking, food for your blog. You take all these people on brutally in the public sphere when they ever dare criticize you -- and they do give you material. Why should people have to be brought to account for ideas they never meant to present in public? It's like thoughtcrime.

And also, how many casualties are you willing to create in this effort? Because you have to know there will be many.



*Necessary point -- I really don't know how anyone could have ever offered anything but congratulations for and delight in your marriage, particularly given its 21st century foundation.

MadisonMan said...

FOIA requests might work if any of the Journolisters were silly enough to use a .edu domain to subscribe. That is, if there were journalism professors on the list. If they're mostly .com'ers though, I don't see it happening.

On the whole, though, I agree with Bob Ellison. If people are talking about you, and want to keep it secret, I don't really want the Government coming in to pry open the lid.

EDH said...

I'm not sure Althouse has a claim for defamation as a result of Klein saying "Althouse sure has a lot of anti-semitic commenters."

It reminds me of a case I saw in the news while studying defamation in torts.

A Wisconsin elementary teacher filed a defamation suit against a substitute teacher who called her class "the worst class in the whole world."

How Bad Was It?
A Wisconsin elementary school teacher has filed a lawsuit against a substitute teacher who allegedly described her students as "the worst class in the whole world." Linda Grieger, a teacher in Waukesha County, claims substitute Barbara Volkmann defamed her character in 1994 by telling other school workers that Grieger's 1st graders "will never make the 2nd grade." Volkmann's lawyer, Scott Wagner, called the allegations "goofy." "Nothing defamatory was ever said," he said.


"Good morning, Mrs. Althouse." (An anti-semitic paper airplane flys across the comment space.)

Lincolntf said...

Keep fighting the good fight, Ann. I believe you may just get the archives in the end, and that would be a huge coup (mainly in the blogosphere, but huge nonetheless).

One name I'm particularly curious about is Mara Liasson. She's undergone a bit of a transformation in the last couple years. She used to come across as thoughtful and as one of the few "talking heads" interested in moving the discussion forward, whatever the issue. Now she's just another cantankerous talking point spitter. Watch her some time and you'll see what I mean. There is no longer any "there" there.
Perhaps getting her marching orders directly from the "collective" at Journolist has diminished her ability to think originally and communicate intelligently.

rhhardin said...

One of Limbaugh's most entertaining bits is playing seriatim the day's identical spin from a dozen MSM programs.

That does in the left more effectively than any mail dump.

lucid said...

Klein truly is a ratfucking asshole (to paraphrase Dave Weigel on Jounolist).

craig said...

Antitrust law is fairly clear in forbidding collusion not only to set prices, but also to control what products will be offered to the public. I'm pretty sure that such collusion isn't exempt simply by declaring it "private" communications.

How is Journolist any different from a hypothetical mailing list of oil refiners, distributors, and resellers discussing how to market alternative-energy and/or alternative-fuel products to gas station consumers?

Daniel said...

Wow, Craig. I guess that's the last time I ever send around a paper for comment.

Flexo said...

I am not threatening to sue

But you have enough to send a demand letter that they preserve the entire archive and not destroy the evidence.

It is also enough to demand disclosure, if only through the attorneys on the list, who have an ethical obligation, as part of the legal profession, to report on wrongful activity such as defamation.

Richard Dolan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Dolan said...

Defamation is a matter of state law, and perhaps WI is different from NY. But I don't see how you were defamed by this: "If I were to bring a defamation suit based on Ezra Klein's lie 'Ann Althouse sure has a lot of anti-semitic commenters,' ...." That's not a statement, derogatory or otherwise, about you.

Assuming you got past that, I don't see how any statements about you on Journolist would be privileged. Shield laws protect journalists and their sources; but Journolist isn't a "source" in that sense, and the comments on it are just candid statements by the list-members about any topic that comes to mind.

I think the real problem would be that the putative defendants would demand a confidentiality order covering those materials before producing them. If they were all produced pursuant to a typical confidentiality order, you could only use them for purposes of the litigation and would have to return or destroy them at the end of the litigation. Whether materials covered by a confidentiality order may be quoted or disclosed in public filing during the litigation is a hot topic today -- many courts are uncomfortable with sealing papers submitted in civil litigation seeking a court ruling, but others routinely sign confidentiality orders that effectively keep such material out of the public docket.

So getting the docs doesn't mean you could use them in the way you probably would want to (i.e., make a blog-post about them).

Flexo said...

Daniel --

If you are sending the paper around to libel people and injure their reputation and livelihood, or to collude with others to engage in monopolistic activity or to otherwise restrain trade, yes, you should stop from sending that paper around.

Brian Hancock said...

Love the full court press you are putting on Ann! Kick ass!

Comrade X said...

Everyone at Reason knew Weigel was a democrat shill and Weigel mocked them for saying so. The emails showed who was right.

Everyone knows Juiceboxlist is being used to collude to shape a narrative.

AJ Lynch said...

Who coined the term "Juicebox Mafia" to describe Journolist? Was it Seven Machos?

Daniel said...

So Flexo, a whole bunch of people who shared ideas on that list should be exposed so that some douchebags who said obnoxious things should get their comeuppance?

The Journolist sure has a lot of anti-semitic members.

former law student said...

Here, I agree with Althouse. She's got a personal stake in knowing what's in the archive. If a leaked comment put her in a bad light, what might unleaked comments have said about her, without giving her any room for rebuttal? How would you like 400 prominent journalists to view you as an anti-Semite, or anti-Semite sympathizer or facilitator? Under the FRCP she can use discovery to open the archive.

The only flaw I can see off hand is that the judge may allow Klein to redact the archive, sending the professor only posts with her name in them, and perhaps replies.

Quayle said...

The participants of JournoList should voluntarily make it public as a price to claiming the right to make other's "private" conversations public, and as a price to be taken seriously by anyone in the public.

Anything short of full disclosure should forever tarnish the reputations of its participants.

Flexo said...

Yes Daniel. The douchebags are liable for damages for defamation. The non-douchebags, if any, are at the very least witnesses thereto and if the on-list defamations made their way into public print by the "non-douchebags," or the target's reputation was otherwise injured, they too are liable.

Michael said...

The list will come out, or most of it, in the fullness of time. What, above all, do the members of this list crave? A book deal.

I would venture to guess that at least half of the 400 have every single post ever made by a "member" in both hard and electronic format.

You can bet this will burble up to the surface.

traditionalguy said...

That brings back memories of Klein the cheap shot artist who had no fear of his victims. The Journo-Guys worked it like the Cosa Nostra.They hinted what could happen if protection was not sought from the God Father.

Flexo said...

Were there any media outlets, e.g. New York Times, CNN, etc., who rejected Prof. Althouse or otherwise simply failed to consider her for authoring some opinion piece or appearing on TV for a panel discussion because the NYT or CNN, etc. believed that she might be anti-Semite or a sympathizer, or whatever else was said about her on JournoList?

How many opportunities were denied her because of what was said in secret about her?

And when you are speaking of 400 list members -- FOUR HUNDRED! -- how many members of the MSM were NOT on the list??

I think it prudent for everyone to presume that every prominent member of the MSM was on the list.

sean said...

Is Kevin Drum on Journolist? He called Prof. Althouse a wingnut once, as I recall, which seems defamatory to me. Even if she has tenure, it would affect her consulting work (if she has any, which I don't know) if people thought she had bizarre, out of the mainstream political beliefs.

Martha said...

Let's help Althouse buy JournOlist listserv/Archives: http://www.clsoc.com/?p=71

garage mahal said...

Is Kevin Drum on Journolist? He called Prof. Althouse a wingnut once, as I recall, which seems defamatory to me.

LOL

Daniel said...

Flexo, whatever argument you and Ann and others are trying to make, it boils down to "YOU CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT ME!" Anywhere. You have a problem with people's writing? Go argue with their writing. If someone defamed Ann in their journalism or other public communication, she should -- and good lord does she -- take it up with them. Legally, if she wants. You think the media are too liberal? Point it out -- unlike 20 years ago, there are a hell of a lot of fora to do so. Otherwise, this is the equivalent of suing people for barroom discussions.

Also, this may be a law professor's blog, but I personally really don't care about the legal implications of the Journalist because all this talk of suing is so clearly complete bluster. No one is going to sue anyone over this -- and if there are lawsuits, they won't go anywhere. Way worse than Weigel's stuff happens all the time in full public view, sans lawsuit. Erik Erickson called Souter a goat fucker!!! Ezra Klein wanted Tim Russert fucked with a spiky acid-tipped dick!!! Both in full public view.

Everybody needs to think about what they're really arguing about here. And also imagine whether media bias would disappear without something like a Journolist.

Daniel said...

Garage, don't laugh. You're in deep shit. Ann had your "full metal wingnut" comment on her banner for a while. Gird your loins and start taking donations for the coming lawsuit.

garage mahal said...

Not to mention the fact that if you were reading this blog a few weeks ago you would think there are a lot of anti-semitic commenters here, with AC245 calling me one on every thread.

Flexo said...

No, Daniel, the law has been for hundreds of years, you cannot libel people with impunity, not even "in private," because those "private" defamations have public consequences.

You may not care about the law or the ethics or the morals of the situation, you may care only about your politics, but there is more to it than defending and promoting your leftist ideology.

Daniel said...

1. Flexo, you know everything about everyone already, whether me or the Journolist, so why do you need the archives?

2. People defame other people with impunity all the time. This is a tame version. It's your politics that make it matter.

3. There are no conservative listservs. There are no private emails sent by conservatives defaming liberals. Move along.

Tina Trent said...

Can I make a suggestion? If you're going to ban certain offensive words -- and I agree with doing that, why is "douchebag" acceptable? I can think of few terms more inherently degrading -- and not just to the target.

On a similar subject, I've got a narrow question about Journolist: have any of its members every railed about the Republican spin machine? You know, the Grover Nordquist Wednesday meetings, or the circulated talking points (that both parties actually employ)? Because, if so, more shame to them.

Back when I was an increasingly disillusioned academic, I was always amazed when my peers would rail about the existence of things like right-wing research institutes and policy centers. As if they didn't do the same thing.

Christy said...

All I know about journalism and the law I learned from that Paul Newman movie, "Absence of Malice." (Don't we learn most of what we know these days from movies?) So I'm wondering if the Journolist archive changes the dynamic that has made it so impossible to sue newspapers? Can the Journolist be used to demonstrate malice?

Daniel said...

Tina, how about colostomy bag? More appropriate? And were your academic disillusions caused by the lack of enough political correctness among your peers?

Also, can you also ask your question of Ann and other commenters? Those who consider the arguments they are making about the Journolist completely irrelevant to any discussion on the right?

Some of us here are discussing the right of private people to have private discussions with the people of their choosing. Others are playing games for their own benefit.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Not to mention the fact that if you were reading this blog a few weeks ago you would think there are a lot of anti-semitic commenters here, with AC245 calling me one on every thread.

Well to be honest garage, and not to rehash the whole Buchanan is your favorite GoPer, but when you look at the old comments from Ann's old post on that topic, your 4:03PM comment doesn't exactly help your case.

Just sayin chief.

garage mahal said...

So there you go Hoosier. Klein appears to have a case.

garage mahal said...

As well as other commenters here who have stated they enjoyed Cedarford at one point or the other. And Althouse doesn't delete Cedarford's comments to begin with.

Hoosier Daddy said...

So there you go Hoosier. Klein appears to have a case.

I suppose if you, C4 and Maxine constitute 'a lot'.

Largo said...

But you have enough to send a demand letter that they preserve the entire archive and not destroy the evidence.

Hah!

Flexo, you magnificent bastard!

Daniel said...

1. Moses disses Pharaoh! Somebody Sue!!

...

9,739,688. Powerline equates Democrats' win with terrorists winning? Somebody sue!!

9,739,689. Jonathan Chait call Glenn Greenwald a fanatic! Think of the lost consulting income! Somebody sue!!

Oligonicella said...

Althouse, since you don't ban people, you have haters here. It is quite obvious that the term "anti-semitic" in that sentence referred to the commenters, not you. Also, the definition of "a lot" is rather abstruse. Perhaps you could answer, how many is 'a lot'?

You'd better watch your own ass on the lawsuit stuff. You ban one racial slur, but not others. That makes you bias, and quite possibly racist yourself (from a lawsuit point of view). I wonder how many times you've actually deleted or reprimanded anti-Semitic comments?

wv: menie - Klein was a menie.

Oligonicella said...

Hoosier Daddy --

"I suppose if you, C4 and Maxine constitute 'a lot'."

Thinking too short-term, Hoosier. Ann's entire comment history could be disclosed and counted. She could spend a butt-load of time in court.

Oligonicella said...

Jeff, she's not a conservative.

salixquercusii said...

I subscribed to Journolist commencing February 20, 2006. You will not believe the shit these savages were saying about you. There's two weeks of stuff on the stringiness vel non of your hair alone!

I will e-mail you the entire archive for $300, payable in krugerrands.

Email me at youreanobsessivecompulsivelunatic@gmail.com for further arrangements.

Ann Althouse said...

I think members of the Journolist had a very strong self interest in copying/preserving the whole text. For one thing, there is the danger that out-of-context quotes will be used in a way that is damaging to them. For example, Weigel himself has been hurt by out-of-context quotes. He should want to preserve the whole conversation for his own protection.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Funny how you conservatives don't want big government expect when you do.

Bringing a defamation suit is now considered big government?

Projecting a bit?

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse, since you don't ban people, you have haters here. It is quite obvious that the term "anti-semitic" in that sentence referred to the commenters, not you. Also, the definition of "a lot" is rather abstruse. Perhaps you could answer, how many is 'a lot'?"

If you read my old post, you will see that at most, Klein could have been referring to 2 commenters. Even assuming these 2 are anti-Semites, that is not "a lot." We may disagree about what number equals "a lot," but it is undoubtedly more than 2. That's why I state with confidence that Klein published a lie that was damaging to my reputation.

Ann Althouse said...

He tweeted it. He has over 24,000 followers on Twitter. That tweet is still posted and has been up for over a year. It's quite despicable.

former law student said...

It is quite obvious that the term "anti-semitic" in that sentence referred to the commenters, not you

Sure, that's the one relatively innocuous comment they allowed to leak out. Who knows how far they went when they thought they were safely within the privacy wall?

Daniel said...

Who knows how far they went when they thought they were safely within the privacy wall?

And if that's what they said, imagine what they thought!! And think about this -- what you think influences what you write. It's all coming together now.

Hoosier Daddy said...

We may disagree about what number equals "a lot," but it is undoubtedly more than 2.

Maybe Klein thought you only had three actual commenters and the rest were sockpuppets ;-)

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm sure that if 400 oilmen had a private listserv where they discussed pricing, marketing, and public relations in the oil industry, all these Journolist defenders would defend them too.

Or maybe the privacy of email does not trump all.

Daniel said...

"Althouse is right on one point: She does not have "a lot" anti-Semitic commenters. Rather, she has "a lot" of anti Semitic comments in threads about me. I had been looking at comments rather than attaching them to names. So for that misrepresentation, I apologize."

He withdrew it. You linked to his withdrawal of it. It's still up on the American Prospect website even though he doesn't work their anymore. And 24,000? Please. How many hits do you get an hour?

Find something meaningful to be pissed off about, umbrage queen.

jamboree said...

Slippery slope. Do we really want to start legislating against people talking shit about one another in private? Good Luck with that.

Daniel said...

Freeman, I assume you're a member, since you know what they're discussing. So therefore you know that Chait's description of the Journolist is wrong, and that people used it to coordinate writing (which is obviously how you become a successful opinion journalist -- by writing what everyone else is writing).

But I guess we don't know, which is why we have to have the government force the release of the archives -- just in case there was collusion. Maybe we can get a special investigator on it.

Daniel said...

By the way, this whole thing stinks of social conservatives and condoms for teenagers. You know, kids have sex because of condoms, so stop handing them out and they won't have sex. Instead of kids have sex, give them condoms and its safer. The Journolist doesn't make people liberal, and it doesn't make the media liberal. As W used to like saying, there was terrorism before we invaded Iraq.

Wow, a lot of analogies there.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do we really want to start legislating against people talking shit about one another in private?

I don't think Althouse was suggesting Congress step in. Maybe you can point to where I am wrong?

craig said...

Daniel neatly sidestepped my objection. My point at issue was not defamation, which I will leave to others, but antitrust.

There are 400 members of Journolist, likely comprising a preponderance of the "traditional" MSM (i.e., wire services, papers, magazines, and TV networks) as well as the better-funded, more prominent leftist blogs (Huffington Post, Kos, etc.). Given such a membership, any coordination of news stories among them could be restraint of trade. It doesn't have to be 99% of the news media to qualify as collusion.

Jeff said...

By the way Ann, how could Ezra's tweet be any more damaging than you allowing the following post?

"Hey downtownload, you dumbfuck of a homo, did it ever occur to you that the more you show your naked hatred of “straights” the more it will be returned? It is good, profoundly good that normal America is getting it full in the face from all the marginal shits, it’s a lesson that will be well and truly learned and never forgotten. A tidal wave coming your way in November, fagellah."

And I would argue Jessica Valenti had a better case of defamation against you than you do against Ezra.

Derek Kite said...

Daniel, I think you are missing the point.

Someone saying that Ann is a flake, un this, or too that, that is one thing.

But change the situation. The person saying that is a representative, official and paid, of the Washington Post. He has a private discussion group where other paid representatives of commercial enterprises talk shop. A hypothetical.

comment 1 Althouse comments are pretty wild.

comment 2-300 examples of situations where these paid representatives disagreed with Althouse or were humiliated by her rather sharp but nice barbs.

Comment 301. ...too much influence....knock her down a peg or two...

...Althouse has Racist comments.

Is that evidence of malice? Conspiring to libel, with proof of intent?

Or another example. The last year or so has been characterized by accusations of racism. A nasty accusation. What if on this list, an individual was discussed in detail, in terms similar to what we have read in the excerpts from the list, and the consensus came out that they would all say that he was racist. Something like 'he would lose influence/esteem/power if the meme was that he was racist'.

Libel, with proof of intent and malice?

I would think that the discussions in media Legal Departments last week and this are that very point.

I don't know what is on Journolist. I too would like to know. These are powerful people forming impressions and opinions by their writing.

Derek

Daniel said...

Monopolism in action.

Craig, I want to point out that you have shown absolutely zero evidence of actual collusion. Your argument is based purely on fallacious logical deduction, with the resulting implication that a certain group of people cannot ever be allowed to communicate in private with each other.

Meanwhile, there are over 50,000 traditional journalists in America, and vastly more bloggers. I don't think preponderance means what you think it means.

Daniel said...

Wait, Derek, so the implication here is that Ezra Klein was sent by the Journolist to attack Ann with a libelous tweet (which he then apologized for)? Are you listening to yourself?

If you want to make a case for release of the archives, do it on the basis of available information. Do not do it on the basis of ridiculous thought experiments and conspiracy theories made out of whole cloth.

Lincolntf said...

People pretending that this is a tempest in a teapot, or that it's typical political journalism, are deliberately missing the point. The country is largely ignorant because of the same mindset that created "Journolist".
There's a reason that it was "Bush's Katrina" and it's the "BP Oil Spill". These people (the MSM) are granted special rights (try tagging along on a Presidential trip as a "civilian") and given special trust because of the American ideal that a free press is vital. The reason a free press is vital is that an informed public is vital.
When the "free press" is actually a wing of the Government, as is the case today, and that wing deliberately suppresses information, reports myths as truth, refuses to correct it's constant and deliberate "errors" when they are pointed out, etc. then they lose their special status. Not legally, of course. But in the world of thinking people.
I want to know who the seminar columnists are, and I think I have a right to know.

Daniel said...

Lincolntf, imagine if there had been an invention in the last 15 years that produced massive new check on what journalists produce, and which serveed as a far better check on the products of the media than the release of some archived emails. I bet the media would disseminate a made up meme suggesting that Al Gore invented it.

traditionalguy said...

There is force behind what we call anti semitism. It usually hides itself behind a mask or poker face. The allowing of it to express itself in free speech is a great method for exposing it. ( E.g.,Mel Gibson's right to free speech helped us spot it). So Althouse Blog is helping expose the sickness when she does not delete the foolish commenter or two who front for that murderous hatred. At the same time Althouse Blog provides the forum for those who will not fence-sit and abandon Jews to their enemies to let that be publically known. The net effect is very healthy.

Jeff said...

Craig,
Seeing how the members of journolist are pretty much all rank-and-file journalists and not publishers, owners, managing editors (the people who wield editorial control), the idea of collusion seems particularly far-fetched.

Lincolntf said...

Daniel, your incoherence is off-putting.

Jeff said...

Well Lincoln,

If it isn't BP's oil spill then whose is it?

I'm curious to know who you think provides truth in the media.

And your right to know who the seminar columnists are is in the Constitution where?

Lincolntf said...

"...not publishers, owners, managing editors (the people who wield editorial control), the idea of collusion seems particularly far-fetched."

How do you know that? A group of 400 people can branch out in all sorts of directions, even in a group that's insular by design. I'd be particularly interested (and not a bit surprised) to know if Gibbsy or any of his staff were participants. Strikes me as a resource that Rahm and Co. wouldn't let go to waste.

Daniel said...

Well, Lincolntf, putting you off is really just a side benefit.

Daniel said...

If it isn't BP's oil spill then whose is it?

BP+MMS, clearly. And if the recent Rolling Stone article is right, both Obama and Ken Salazar knew about the problems in MMS well before the waiver BP was given. Bush obviously did a lot of damage in MMS too. Don't know about Clinton or others.

Lincolntf said...

Well, Jeff it's AN oil spill. Just like Katrina was A hurricane.

Millions of votes and billions of dollars shift on definitions like these. You know that as well as I do. There's a reason that the Left (and yes, this is a Left issue) has to collude, lie by omission, smear, cover-up, etc. under the guise of journalism. It's because they're stone-cold wrong.
Just like no climate scientist would break the law to hide data that proved him right, no Lib would have to distort and misrepresent the Tea Parties if they actually were "racist" and "violent".

(And no, my right to know exists nowhere in the Constitution, it exists only in my judgment, and my judgment is what I rely on when the Constitution doesn't cover something. How about you?)

Daniel said...

Lincoln, did you wake up in 2005? The entire press core failed utterly to challenge government information on WMDs in Iraq. The LEFT??? You know, it's a lot easier to use the world we have than to make one up.

Daniel said...

And also, I'm sorry, but this was not AN oil spill. A hurricane is a hurricane. The IMPACT of a hurricane depends on, for instance, levies that PEOPLE build. And an oil spill, following drilling far deeper than your capacity to protect the well, and using the bad version backup technology shown to fail at least 30% of the time under far less stressful conditions, is not some sort of happenstance. Read a little.

Jeff said...

Lincoln,

Nobody owns a hurricane, which makes its occurrence and Act of God, but BP does own an oil rig from which tens of thousands of barrels of oil are flowing daily, which makes it a man-made disaster. I guess in your world view if you drop a glass of milk it's a mess as opposed to Lincoln's mess.

You mention the Tea Party, and I gather you are among them?

Lincolntf said...

Daniel, apparently that "WMD's in Iraq" thing wasn't such a huge error or Obama wouldn't have appointed one of it's earliest proponents as his Secretary of State, now would he?

Jeff, the spill is a spill. Could BP have prevented it by doing the job better? Probably.
But the fact that Obama rec'd massive cash infusions from BP during his campaign, teamed with BP to capitalize on potential Global Warming windfalls, and had just approved a "safety award" to the very rig that blew up is NEWS. But it's news that makes Dems look bad, so it becomes NON-NEWS.
Keeping voters ignorant is the raison d'etre of the MSM, and it's high time that their audiences recognized that. Laying JournOlist bare would be a giant step in the right direction.

Freeman Hunt said...

Daniel, one of the oilmen says they only exchanged jokes on their list. Just banter. Nothing to see. I'm sure you wouldn't mind that.

Freeman Hunt said...

Also, the establishment of a narrative wouldn't have had to have been on purpose. Chait describes the list thusly:

Conversations consisted of requests for references -- does anybody know an expert in such and such -- instantaneous reactions to events, joshing around, conversations about sports, and the like.

and

Why was the group exclusively non-conservative? I wished it did have some right-wingers, but I went back and forth on this and I can understand the reason it didn't. You wanted to have some discussion of politics that didn't constantly require establishing first principles, so you could muse about a vote to extend unemployment benefits without having to refute the notion that Franklin Roosevelt deepened the Great Depression. It was the same reason that any community of interest exists.

So we have a bunch of journalists musing about the issues of the day within a liberal echo chamber. Asking for references for articles from other liberal journalists.

And you can't see how this could greatly skew the news media?

Freeman Hunt said...

And this is guffaw worthy:

This is the sort of thing that journalists like to talk about, but don’t like to write about in public, because it’s unprofessional to publish baseless speculation.

Unprofessional to publish, but not unprofessional to write out and share with 400 other journalists?

Daniel said...

Freeman, I'm not so naive that I think that closing trade conferences would prevent collusion, should the oil companies so decide. I would hope you, and others here, would not be so naive as to think that the couple year old Journolist has much impact at all on the "liberal media", which is a concept far older than the list. I have no doubt that certain liberals and conservatives primarily operate in an echo chamber. You can do that perfectly well on the blogosphere or watching MSNBC or Fox News all the time. All this conspiracy theorizing ignores plain sight.

Trooper York said...

Jeeez I hope you don't want a copy of all the posts on my blog about you.

Some of them are a hell of lot worse than anything these Journolist weenies could come up with.

craig said...

1. I did mess up in saying "preponderance". I meant to say that a preponderance of MSM outlets and markets are *represented* on the Journolist, not that a preponderance of MSM journalists are on the Journolist (as obviously could not be the case with a 400-member list). The point was that such a group might be considered as "representing" their employers's editorial boards. Then you get the investigative questions: Do Journolist members participate on company time? With company knowledge & approval? Does Journolist include DNC or Obama administration participants? George Soros or other foreign interests?? And so on... I'm simply holding CNN, Hearst, AP, NYT, Gannett, et al. to the same investigative criteria that they themselves would apply if the companies in question were Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, BP, et al. and a conservative were in the White House.

2. Correct, I have shown absolutely zero evidence of actual collusion. That's because it's impossible to prove without knowing who the list members are. We have years' worth of empirical observation that leftist talking points, right down to the specific terminology (e.g. "unexpected" used with every negative economic indicator under Obama, never under Bush), propagate across the MSM almost instantly. What we do not have is evidence of the specific transmission mechanism.

It could be that these strategies are discreetly proposed one to another, like airlines w.r.t. fares or fashion designers w.r.t. hemlines, without rising to the level of actionable collusion. Or it could be a trail of e-mails to establish coordinated talking points and terms. In the Journolist leaks, we may have stumbled upon the mosquito larvae that actually transmit a pox from birds in China to humans halfway around the world.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You only have one (openly) anti-Semitic commenter, but his rants are so pervasively bigoted, conspiratorial and verbose that it feels like more.

Maybe if you weren't so petty about conceding a point every now and then, then 1) Blogosphereans, including influential journalists, wouldn't be writing things that you find so knee-jerkingly objectionable, and 2) you wouldn't resort to portraying an unwillingness to sue as some kind of magnanimity.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

Here here, Ritmo. Though you've left out that being "so petty about conceding a point every now and then" is a major cause of blog success. Don't hate the player...

Daniel said...

Correct, I have shown absolutely zero evidence of actual collusion.

Good. I'm glad we've agreed that this whole endeavor is conspiracy theorizing. That's not to say that there's no conspiracy, just that all these hypotheticals are just that: hypothetical.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

being "so petty about conceding a point every now and then" is a major cause of blog success.

I think that's baloney. A good blogger is as curious about exploring and re-examining his point of view as he is in defending one, if not moreso. That's why Andrew Sullivan will always get more traffic than Ann Althouse. Well, that's one reason at least.

And hence, the success of the blogosphere. The personality behind what's written, and even, perhaps, his strength as a writer, becomes more and more peripheral to the ideas and how they are bandied about.

Once Althouse comes to realize this she will become an infinitely better blogger.

Daniel said...

Ritmo, there's a difference between good and successful blogging. Now, this is obviously a good blog -- between the posts and the commenters, that's why I keep coming back. But it could be a better blog in exactly the way you describe. I'm not sure that would result in more traffic though.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The commenters are witty, the themes as explored with as much a concern for aesthetic as for intellectual depth, and the topics, intentionally controversial. I think that when you combine all that with the cozy camaraderie of an ideologically self-selecting, open comments section, it's a recipe for a good mix.

Blogs seem to be organizing themselves into different categories. Some are more informational and technical, and among those there are blogs devoted to technology and blogs devoted to politics and policy. You have political blogs that value reporting and analysis and those that don't care for anything but an opinion and how fiery or snarkily it can be delivered.

Althouse's blog is a mix between a technical law blog, like Volokh, but with an open comments section that emulates the stylings of Wonkette.

I guess it's a good enough mix. Perhaps it doesn't need a more self-critical blogger. It's not like Wonkette doesn't have its strengths or fails to elicit a giggle or two. But it's impossible to know whether Althouse cares to be taken seriously as much as she cares to have fun. Maybe it just doesn't matter.

But it occasionally drives me up a wall because it seems like the witty banter is reserved for bashing the left (and usually in an inane way) while she fools herself into thinking that her analyses of the right are sobering and fool-proof studies.

That contradiction is what makes it irresistible for me to pounce pretty often and meet snark with snark - but in an often considered way, I suppose.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

And it's easy for me to compare and contrast her to Sullivan, I suppose, because unlike any of the other categories I mentioned, those two seem to make it more a point to be all things to all people.

One seems to succeed at it better than the other, though.

Guesst said...

You probably were damaged by the tweet to some degree, once identified as someone who allows a "lot" of antisemitism in her comments. The only reason to tweet something like that, is to smear by association. That was the intent.

Do you wonder who else were targets?

Why you, Althouse?

I can't believe you are perceived by the lefties, as being such a rightwing extremist.

They are truly maroons.

Chris said...

Huh? I don't read every comment thread but I've never seen a single anti-semitic comment on this blog. I guess I must be missing them all.

Seven Machos said...

Ritmo -- Yet you are here, tagging along. It must suck to be so unimportant that you have to argue in the very property of someone you wish did not have so much more power than you do.

It must feel nothing short of belittling for you to come here.

craig said...

"Good. I'm glad we've agreed that this whole endeavor is conspiracy theorizing. That's not to say that there's no conspiracy, just that all these hypotheticals are just that: hypothetical."

"Conspiracy" as an adjective here serves no purpose other than pejorative. Another hypothetical for you: if (a) blacks, Jews, and Catholics are being terrorized by people wearing white hoods, and (b) there is a known group of unknown membership which meets secretly in the woods whilst wearing white hoods, is it "conspiracy theorizing" to infer that (c) the two may be correlated? Or would it be more accurate to say that it is simple inductive reasoning?

zuzu said...

"Don't I have a right to know what a gang of 400 journalists are saying about me ...?"


No.

Kanzeon said...

I am privy to the Journolist emails. I know they just CAN'T stop talking about you. You are a constant obsession with every one of them. The correspondence is rife with intentionally falase and rude comments, not only about your general intelligence and positions, but your personal hygene, your sex life, and your mother.

I suggest you IMMEDIATELY sue and seek injunctive relief before they have the opportunity to coordinate and cover their tracks.

The time to act is now, Ann. If you are uncertain about your case, feel free to use my post as evidence of the conspiracy.

Billy said...

Ms. Althouse,

I have to agree with Kanzeon. I was on JournOlist some years ago, and they could not get enough Althouse. Everyday, there were emails about what was in your garbage, who was seen coming and going from your office, just about everything in your life. I think I even saw people trying to auction your hair and fingernail clippings.

There is no doubt. Most liberals spend at least half their time talking about you, Ms. Althouse.