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July 25, 2010, 10:00 AM ET

Inside (or at Least, Uncomfortably Near) the Right-Wing Hate Machine

I never thought becoming an education policy analyst would lead to crazy people accusing me of treason. But that's what happened last week, as a result of the controversy over "Journolist."

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about—well, let me offer my congratulations. You have a good filter for the absurd. The controversy is a kind of unholy combination of inside-the-Beltway myopia and journalistic solipsism. In short: a few years back some left-of-center bloggers, journalists, pundits, college professors, and think-tank wonks started a private, off-the-record email listserv called Journolist.

Over time, the group grew to about 400 people. I was one of them. It was basically a place to shoot the breeze about things such people find interesting—politics, policy, sports, music, themselves. You'd probably recognize a few of the participants like Paul Krugman, Katha Pollitt, Jeffrey Toobin, and Joe Klein, but most of them were pretty obscure, i.e. people like me. It was, more than anything, a fantastic way to avoid working during the day. Over time, Journolist grew into a kind of virtual community. You got to know certain voices, get tired of certain recurring petty disputes, etc.

Then, a few weeks back, Journolist founder and Washington Post blogger / reporter Ezra Klein got an email from Tucker Carlson, a man who has distinguished himself primarily by spectacular creativity in being humiliated on national television. Seriously, you have to give it up for someone who manages to get bullied out of a job by Jon Stewart and flame out on Dancing With the Stars. Most of us aren't so versatile. Carlson was writing to ask if he could join Journolist. Ezra was open to the idea, but after polling the members we decided it was best to limit the group to the center-to-left side of the ideological spectrum.

Not long after, Carlson's Web site, the Daily Caller, began publishing a series of articles based on excerpts from old Journolist emails. Apparently, someone on the list leaked the archives. The Caller articles, written by Jonathan Strong, were laughably sensationalist and wrong, alleging that Journolist was a secret left-wing conspiracy to control the media and put Barack Obama in office. For example, in the course of a long string of Journolist emails about Fox News, a law professor wondered whether the FCC could legally decide not to renew Fox's license. A journalist from Time responded by saying, in essence, "that would be a terrible idea." Nobody mentioned it again. Yet this exchange produced a gigantic 60-point Caller headline: "FOX HUNT: Liberal journalists suggest government shut down Fox News." It was an obvious lie: No journalist, much less journalists, plural, had suggested any such thing.

But that was more than enough to set the gears of the right-wing outrage machine in motion. Soon Daily Caller folks were being interviewed by Fox News' Megyn Kelly, a woman whose reporting technique consists primarily of modulating the degree to which her eyeballs bulge with rage and incredulity. Glenn Beck weighed in, and Rush Limbaugh, and the guy who posted that fake video that led to Tom Vilsack railroading an innocent woman out of her job at the USDA, and so on. Right-wing radio host Mark Levin published a McCarthyite list of known Journolist members on his Facebook page. It turns out that a lot of the people who like to post comments on Levin's Facebook page are either tremendously stupid ("Why aren't these people arrested and charged with conspiracy to influence an election!"), violent (Wouldn't you like to grab these elitist media types by the collar and knock a few teeth out?), or—surprise!—anti-semitic.   

The long-run effect of the fake Journolist scandal will be another frayed thread of privacy and civil discourse. Kathleen Parker, no liberal she, explains this well in the Post today. One of the great things about Journolist (Klein has since shut it down) was that it was a place where media and policy people could talk to college professors. There were economists, historians, political scientists, sociologists, law professors, and others on the list, all lending their ideas and expertise. I remember one thread where a political reporter offhandedly said of a recent campaign best seller, "Political scientists aren’t going to like this book, because it portrays politics as it is actually lived by the candidates." The political scientists on the list promptly explained what a dumb comment this was. And the reporter agreed! Having a group of economists around was invaluable to interpreting the economic crises of the last few years. We even debated education policy from time to time. 

People in academia are often accused of hiding in the ivory tower. These people were doing the opposite, engaging with people in other spheres and fields. For that, they've been branded as thugs, traitors, and other words I can't reprint here. All so the owners of various cable news outlets and Web sites can make money by lying to their audience and fanning the flames of resentment. We live in strange times. 

 

Comments

1. gracey - July 25, 2010 at 02:56 pm

Journolisters are clearly superior to the clodhopper masses who read their columns or buy the magazine for which they write.
You misunderstood this. The people on journolist have been shown to be disregarding of people with whom they disagree. Journolisters calling people retards...planning collusion..groupthink...sameness..scorn for working people. It was a look under a rock. Conflating the right wing hate machine with getting seen for being lemming-like kool kids is just an effort to frame the truth in a way that is self-flattering.

2. livefreeordie2 - July 25, 2010 at 03:18 pm

Ah. . .so it's a fake scandal,eh? Of course. Let's see, one items you neglected to mention - the biggest item - was the discussion by accredited journalists about what a great idea it was to falsely accuse others - conservative journalists - of racism. Sure. . .not everyone agreed with it, but many did. Then there was the woman who talked about how she would delight in watching Rush Limbaugh choke to death in front of her. You were part of a group of people, some of whom, as journalists, would be happy to lie about others for the purpose of deflecting justified criticism of Obama. So now, you want us to believe it was a non-story? A non-scandal?

As a voluntary member of a group that includes liars, why should we believe your attempts at minimizing shameful conduct in which you apparently participated? Especially when you leave out the most damning parts? And more than that, you can't author an article about this without getting down in the gutter to make fun of others. Carlson's dancing abilities have nothing to do with the story. Apparently, Kelly, in her interview, must have hit the target squarely because the best you can do is make fun of her eyes. You hang with liars whom you defend by making fun of the physical characteristics of others. . . What a piece of work you are. . .

3. jeffaltman - July 25, 2010 at 05:10 pm

With respect, it is neither clever, nor witty to attempt ridicule of individuals for behavior as part of an argument. Ficus on facts you disagree with, rather than attempt to degrade people for things you think are quirks. Each of us can be mocked for some behavior of ours (ask an ex-spouse or partner if you disagree). The right is engaged in behavior that the left engaged in during the 8 years that President GWB was in office. That doesn't make it correct but tit for tat. Stories running about the illegitimate President Bush (remember, not single Florida recount by any news organization showed a different outcome) are mirrored by birther stories. That President Bush was responsible for 9/11 are mirrored by President Obama being responsible for the economy.

4. rightoflimbaugh - July 25, 2010 at 05:42 pm

i joined this site for one reason, and one reason only. and, i truly hope someone open-minded enough to provide a reasonable, well-thought-out (and, non-political/emotional) response will respond to this. i will unfriend as soon as i get an answer that makes sense to me. so, here goes; why, just because someone is in the education profession, or has a college education, do they feel it is necessary to go against common-sense and denegrate, and change the greatest country in the world into a third-world, socialist society. what was wrong with the free-market, capitalist system that we had in place where everyone was free to be as great, or as meaningless as they chose to be. i'm serious, i really want to know why you guy's think the way you do. so, if someone with a little balance will respond, i would greatly appreciate it. thank you in advance.

5. kevincarey1 - July 25, 2010 at 06:59 pm

livefreeordie2:

You're fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of a listserv. It was an open forum where people shared ideas and talked about things. Because it was off the record and ideologically bounded (and because a fair number of the participants knew each other personally; Washington, DC is a small town) people talked the way people talk when they're hanging out in a bar after work. The suggestion to accuse people of racism was made by one person. You say "not everyone agreed with it, but many did." That's not true. No one did. Which highlights the problem here: the Daily Caller is publishing stories that veer between gross distortion and outright fabrication, but nobody on the outside can verify that because they're quoting from the emails selectively. They're lying to the readers to drive traffic to their website.

Think about it: this was a group of 400 liberal writers, journalists, wonks, and college professors. People like that couldn't successfully organize a *bake sale* much less a global media conspiracy.

6. lost_angeleno - July 25, 2010 at 08:23 pm

#4: I am in the education profession and have a college degree too, and I don't do any of the things you complain about. So...your question is irrelevant, since it assumes things that are not true. Therefore, you have no (valid) complaint.

7. agpbloom - July 25, 2010 at 08:45 pm

lost_angeleno

You make a great point in response to post #4. Not long ago, a person I know was shcoked to find out that not all people in my profession voted for Obama and supported the socialist takeover of America.

Communication is so distorted these days, and some of these radio listeners are brainwashed by a new McCarthy "red scare."

I have also encountered people outside of the academy who seem shocked to find out that there is really such a thing as a born-again, Chrisitan academic in many college classrooms.

But a steady diet of extreme radio seems to convince many Americans that the big enemy to be dealt with first are all THE EDUCATORS.

For those ready to buy into this move, remember, all extremist governments began by persecuting and doing even worse to intellectuals deemed dangerous to the state--whatever the state ideology happened to be at the time(i.e. fascist, communist, etc.).

So...when those radio pundits stir you up against ALL educators, you might want to think about past purges in history. Just a thought...before things get out of hand someday.

8. agpbloom - July 25, 2010 at 08:47 pm

In my haste...I misspelled "shocked."

9. livefreeordie2 - July 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

KevinCarey1 - So. . .let me get this straight. The problem isn't:

1. Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent calling on colleagues to lie and call conservative writers racists. . .
2. Michael Tomasky calling on colleagues to "kill ABC and this idiocy" because Stephopolis asked Obama tough questions about Wright.
3. Thomnas Shaller of the Baltimore Sun (and a poli sci prof) suggesting that "we use the power of this list to do something about the debate" and others chiming in.
4. Sarah Spitz, a producer for NPR affiliated KCRW wishing Limbaugh would have a heart attack in front of her so she could "laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out" (She has publicly apologized).

No. . . those and other dirty tricks aren't the problem. The problem is that Livefreeordie2 "fundamentally misunderstands the nature of a listserv." Really? Tucker Carlson can't dance, Megyn Kelly's eyes bug out, and I don't understand the nature of a listserv. Indeed. So. . . if someone discovered a "right wing" listserv with all kinds of conservatives participating and one of the members suggested white sheets and burning crosses, would you give all the others a pass because it was "off the record and ideologically bounded?" Would you? Would you really? Right. I didn't think so.

Two final comments. First, you used the phrase "right wing hate machine" in your subject. But truth be told, your protestations regarding the gross incompetence of liberals notwithstanding, what you were doing was in fact participating in a wannabe left wing hate machine. You were doing precisely what you accuse the right of doing. And the group got caught. But you didn't even have to post this! Were you bragging? Why tell everyone? Trying to show off in front of your academic lefty friends? Or is something hideous coming out with your name on it? We'll see. And number two - make no mistake about how I really feel about you and your left wing hate machine buddies. I've only been this gentle because I'm trying to be civil at the request of a friend.

#7 and 8 - It's blog comments. They don't even provide a spell checker. Don't worry about it.

10. goxewu - July 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Re #4:

Oh, what the hell. I'm a sucker (I'm going to take somebody who calls him/herself "rightoflimbaugh" to be sincere in his/her question), and I happen to need a break from this chapter of pseduo-intellectual gobbledygook I'm supposed to be writing, so I'll give it a shot, and presume to speak for "you guys" on the academic center-left.

This wonderful "free-market, capitalist" system wasn't created in its present quasi-humane condition in 1787, by the Founders. At various times of various lengths, it boasted slavery, debtors' prisons, horrible child labor, Jim Crow, women deprived of suffrage, miscegenation laws, etc. And oh yes, it had the irritant of a native population that had to be practically exterminated so that we could all prosper. Much of the gradual amelioration of the system's harshness was accomplished, in large part, by people who seemed to the status-quo'ers then about like liberals to do the likes of rightoflimbaugh now.

Academics--particularly those in the humanities and social sciences--were educated to question and to criticize. (People so inclined by their natures are also more apt to get themselves educated that way and to follow academic careers.) So, even today, when we don't have segregation (at least the de jure kind), child labor, women deprived of the vote, the unemployed selling apples on the corner, etc., we center-left academics still question and criticize and would like to see the harshnesses of our system ameliorated further. We would like to see, for instance, a public option in the health care system (if not a single-payer system itself), stringent regulation of huge corporations and especially Wall Street's dazzling con games, of the sort that almost brought the economy down. We don't want "socialism" in the sense of what the Eastern Bloc had from about 1950 to 1990, but we'd probably like to see a little more socialism in the mix, i.e., a higher, tighter safety net and more, not less, public education, libraries, recreational facilities, etc.

There are those, of course, who sincerely think that all, if not any, of the above will put the country on the road to being "third world," in the sense of the economy plummeting to the level of the developing nations'. (If rightoflimbaugh means by "third world" a browning of the population, then that part of his or her question is racist and beneath contempt.) Whether government spending on social programs, the military budget, tax cuts, or wars without tax increases to pay for them are most dangerous to the country, I won't argue here. (There's certainly no shortage of argument on that; the specifics are argued all over "Brainstorm," even when the original post is about something else entirely.)

This answer to rightoflimbaugh's quite possibly rhetorical question is of necessity overly general and of necessity contains a few descriptions that have an editorial slant to them. It's impossible to state many things in a way that both rightoflimbaugh and a hypothetical leftofbousquet would agree is objective and politically neutral. If I know the habits of several conservative frequent commenters on "Brainstorm," there will follow here a bunch of vehement objections to this comment. If so, I'm not going to make a debate of it. My only interest is to give rightoflimbaugh a sincere answer to what I sincerely hope is a sincere question.



11. permsabbat - July 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Without getting into tedious detail, the previous post's self indicting "escape from pseudo-intellectual drivel" in order to reply with pseudo intellectual drivel, that is proven by the clear omission of the success of the unfetttered free market's creation of a middle class. Prior to this country's "grand experiment" (cliches intentional-as this discourse bores me) name a significant middle class with comparable livimg standards AND a reasonable absence of coercion by an arguably irreproachable and largely militant upper class? Anywhere in the world? I havent even brushed the surface of religious cooperation in the subjugation of the "less than lordly" or the outright religious brutality of religious oppression as government and subsequent failed economic conditions.
The dichotomy between the left and the right in moderate terms is the continuation of an imperfect but wildly succesful capitalism or a socialist/fascist (yes they are of a kind-sorry lefties) centralized overburdensome repeatedly failed spending machine with a larger class of recipients than providers.

What is NOT academic is the sheer size of the numbers bandied about during yawns at the next pork exchange in the rarefied atmosphere of the unintentional oligarchy we suffer under. Keynes did NOT believe stimulus should be used if a structural deficit already existed(i am sure you can look it up since so many of you are experts on keynes). What is important now is the DEBT. There can be no more talk ofr deficit. There has been no money to run in the black when ALL liabilities are considered since the liberal congress of the 80s traded the lockboxes for star wars.
Hooray for some Christian conservaticve valoes in some higher institutions but I rarely mention my laurels as they are useless and embarrassing when speaking to people that have the knowledge and the power to attempt to influence the power elite. cheers

12. permsabbat - July 26, 2010 at 01:37 am

Just a brief follow up: Academics rightfully earn positionand tenure through the production of the useful furthering of our understanding. However, Public education in the sense of federal control is an abject failure for two simple reasons: one, disconnect from the subjects of the learning by the architects of its curricul;um and two: a profound misunderstanding of the role of the other educational sources from which children obtain knowledge. These two things make centralized control of education and the markedly criminal union influence anathema to education which is irrevocably local, at least k-12. The need to understand the unique circumstances of each regional family/school/societal structure argues for abolishmentof centralized education control. Dept. of Education is a good place to start cuttng and return control atleast to states if not municipalities. Another argument is what better way to find a working model than to try many different experiments? Clearly the command and control structure is utterl;y failing as is evident by our continuing fall in comparison to the rest of the developed ansd indeed most of the developing world. Please fell free to rebut this statement but please demonstrate at least ONE success since the creation of the dept of ed. I will look in the morning for feedback as my fingers can no longer accurately stroke the keyboard. good night.

13. new_theologian - July 26, 2010 at 02:32 am

Goxewu presents a perspective as it really is. Whether that perspective is correct or incorrect is a matter for debate. That said, not all of us in academia do share the perspective goxewu presents or hold the position rightoflimbaugh attributes to academics in general, though I agree with both of these interlocutors that they correctly identify the preponderant representation. So rightoflimbaugh has a reasonably clear answer.

What else can be said? Those who hold goxewu's perspective do not acknowledge the fact that many, if not most, of the institutional wrongs they identify were the result of governmental--i.e. legislative--protections. Even the financial crisis on the table today features congressional mandates as a major player.

Now, I'm not saying that "unfettered capitalism" is a great thing, or that the free-market is magically able to create virtue. But I think we need to be clear about the fact that, historically, government intervention in matters of social and economic intercourse is not a particularly trustworthy friend to the downtrodden.

Ironically, it was at a time when I was having some serious misgivings about the free-market, which really involved my questioning whether the free-market was really just a useful myth, that I came to embrace free-market solutions through a reading of Karl Marx's "Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844." It took a long time before this move worked its way out for me to the end; and Marx was not the only influence, by any stretch, but his writings did bring to light for me just why I could not abandon the idea of the free-market.

This text is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the problem of free-market vs. socialist/communist economics. Marx was certainly a genius, and he correctly names a number of the real challenges to the free-market. But his villain is really capitalism, not the free-market. That is a significant distinction, because his starting premise is that there is, by nature, a radical disparity in the distribution of goods. If that premise is called into question, the whole problem quickly changes shape.

So he holds that the concentration of wealth into the hands of the few, tending to the one, is a natural condition, given by the inequality of circumstance into which we are born, even before the emergence of political structures. He holds, then, that institutional structures are constructed through the application of metaphor, for the purpose of maintaining the current distribution. Somehow, the one who holds the wealth, and thus, the power, is in a unique position to decide upon the metaphors by which the human experience is to be interpreted, and he does this in a way that favors his own position. The result is the creation of "religion," whereby the masses are held in bondage by their own beliefs.

The solution to the problem, for Marx, is the destruction of the metaphorical apparatus upon which religion is built, such that the system of psychical oppression can be undermined. The "true" materialist structure of the world could then be disclosed, and the masses encouraged to band together in overthrowing the present power structure. For Marx, this result is inevitable, but it can be delayed or hastened.

In any event, this will mean that, after the destruction of the present power structure, the mediator of the means of production--i.e., capital--will have to fall to the political structure. That political structure will then become, de facto, the new capitalist. So Marx's thesis results in a paradox. In order to remove the concentration of capital from the hands of the present few, we must vest that concentration anew into the hands of a different few. The new capitalist, though, has the power of the sword, and not merely that of persuasion, and the result is the emergence of the totalitarian State at the expense of the pre-political community.

In the end, it is really from top to bottom that I reject Marx, even though I acknowledge that he had an awful lot right, in the end. His analysis of HOW the capitalist is able to crush emerging competition is obviously correct and observable. But again, we have to wonder if any such concentrations of capital are really possible without governmental protections that lead to them. That is a serious question that does not get nearly enough attention. And, of course, his materialist starting point is repugnant to me, as is his consequent denigration and subjugation of the pre-political structures that, in the American system, are capable (theoretically) of placing a check upon the power of the State.

14. gracey - July 26, 2010 at 07:43 am

Journolist member, Scott McLemee--Inside Higher Ed.


"For some time now, I have been collecting notes on the interaction between academics and journalists. In theory, at least, this relationship ought to be mutually beneficial -- almost symbiotic."
--Scott McLemee, 8.2005.
-

15. goxewu - July 26, 2010 at 08:47 am

Not debating, but geez...

"Pseduo-intellectual gobbledygook" was a facetious little bonbon for rightoflimbaugh who, I surmised, would think that's the kind of thing any center-left academic such as I would be writing.

And it was "gobbledygook," not "drivel." I wonder what else permsabbat is projecting.

Oh, one little semiquasidemiargumentative question: Why is it that so many commenters of a certain political stripe seem to think that a large, healthy middle class is unique to America? Every country in Western Europe has one, a few countries in South America have them, Japan and South Korea have them, and even China, where 80 percent of the people still make their livings through manual labor, is getting one. Many of those countries have beaucoup de what rightoflimbaugh would call "socialist" features that actually strengthen the middle class. I've lived in a couple of those places and my non-aristocrat neighbors were as happily middle-class as I am.

16. permsabbat - July 26, 2010 at 09:22 am

gowexu: my point was not that middle classes do not exist in other places but that the means by which they were created began in the same fashion as ours;ie Magna Carta and extension of rights to the individual for self determination. This is how these other countries have achieved what you call a middle class though one would argue the metric by which this is measured. As for the gobbledygook I was merely snarking in response to what I perceived as snarky. And as yourself, I enjoy my middle class-ness.

17. bdr8y - July 26, 2010 at 09:26 am

Kevin,
I am long time and loyal fan of you and your work, but to compare this to folks sitting around a bar and shooting the breeze is a little understated provided the degree of influence that several if not many members of this group have to shape both public opinion and policy. Also, to suggest that this was a think-tank where like-minded folks could refine their ideas and thinking seems also understated provided the amount of well, just mean spirited banter that appears to have gone on. While I hope and don't think you were party to much if any of the snark and mean spiritedness of the group, you have to know that alot of this banter treads dangerously close to social class elitism-I have been there-it is sadly par for the course in some left-of-center circles that many of us run in. Words like "ignorance" and "stupidity" often veil, though rather thinly, a real social class contempt that even well intentioned progressives have for certain segments of America, even if those comments are broadly directed at "followers" of certain public figures on the right. I think out of all the people in the group you would best understand the complicated and overlapping terrain of social class, race, and political ideology.

I still think your work on low-SES students is brilliant and will follow that work intently, but I think you are better this.

18. kffdn - July 26, 2010 at 09:52 am

Two sections of Mr. Carey's article will best illuminate the Journolist debacle:

"Carlson was writing to ask if he could join Journolist. Ezra was open to the idea, but after polling the members we decided it was best to limit the group the center-to-left side of the ideological spectrum."


"One of the great things about Journolist (Klein has since shut it down) was that it was a place where media and policy people could talk to college professors. There were economists, historians, political scientists, sociologists, law professors, and others on the list, all lending their ideas and expertise."

With Journolist gone, Carey whines, how are we socialist intellectual and media types supposed to lovingly reassure each other that we're right, no matter how ignorant our worldview is? After all, everything (well, most) we propose works in theory. Isn't that what counts?

19. rickinchina09 - July 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

My by the author of this piece panders in propaganda. Does he really believe we're going to swallow the line that his coterie of cozy academics on the Left are just sipping lattes and picking feathers from their down jackets as they post to this website? Come, come, give us readers here a wee bit of credit. I am neither on the far Left or the far Right but I can smell the manure in this piece without a scratch-n-sniff feature.

Really wonder if The Chronicle would deign to post a similar piece written by someone on the Right who is also innocously engaged in acts of journalistic rapport. Jeesh.

20. rickinchina09 - July 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

"My but the author" --correction

21. livefreeordie2 - July 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

Goxewu - I too have lived in Western Europe, Japan, and Korea (but not in China). You rightly point out that each country has a middle class - but with the exception of China, they all have another thing in common. Dramatic American influence. Look at each before WWII and you will find something completely different. We were a big part of the rebuilding of Germany and much of Europe after the war, as we were with Japan and Korea. Our presence and our influence played a key role.

When I first lived in Korea in the mid-70s, the middle class was just beginning to grow. When you saw a car on the highway, it was a taxi, a wealthy Korean, or a GI. Korea was booming, no question, but the assassination of Park Chung Hee and the eventual move away from dictatorship was the key. As permsabbat said, the increased opportunity for individual self-determination plays a huge part in the formation and maintenance of a middle class. And I pretend no expertise regarding China, but I think it is safe to say that the increased economic freedoms seen, both in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and increasingly across the country, have played a major role in the formation of a middle class.

The point is that yes, today there are many countries with a middle class, but I think that the US was a leader and served as an example for others to follow. Just my opinion. . .

22. haohtt - July 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

Let's see...is it the "Right-Wing Hate Machine" or the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"? I always get those mixed up. Of course, the left is always the bastion of civility and is completely tolerant of those who hold a different point of view. The left-leaning media would never EVER engage in the kind of name calling and ad-hominem attacks and "hate speech" proliferated by right wingers. (Can't you hear the lovely strains of "Kumbaya" playing in the background?) :-)

23. lisalita - July 26, 2010 at 11:51 am

The whole tone is a dead giveaway. This is the purest dishonesty and self-protection, with the obligatory smears of his opponents. The whole point is that these people are not playing fair, and this piece is a case in point. Dishonest!! Or possibly deluded, I guess.

24. integrityisimportant - July 26, 2010 at 11:56 am

Lying and hiding the truth from America is not opinion journalism. You were a part of a conspiracy to lie to the American People. How can you have a job in journalism or in education. We can have different political opinions but they cannot be lies. You have committed treason against your country unless you are totally ignorant or mentally disabled and did not do these things with a sound mind. We all should know right from wrong. Why is it that the left has such a low moral compass?

25. jack_cade - July 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm

So many smart people too deeply rooted in ideology.
It is a sad waste.

26. permsabbat - July 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Just a few more observations on the direction the posts have taken.
It seems to me unlikely that anyone can credit the development and flourishing of a middle class without recognizing the loosening of the bonds of coercion by gun or dogma. The countries cited as having middle classes burgeoning or otherwise, agrarian or industrial Have not, Can not, Will not occur under so called socialist or fascist(command and control) political systems including theology based. Recent history worldwide(120 years or so) have laid to rest the Marx philosophy-exchanging one group of power elite for another. Socialism is a succesful enterprise for the socialist, NOT the person in the society.

Back to the weak apologetic insipid explanation for the group in the editorial. Such groups existed on both sides historically with varying degrees of influence(witness H.L. Mencken and Stevenson(albeit rather loosely and without written comment) and FDR and his coterie and power base. Menckens's writings vociferously proclaimed FDR's rise to power and subsequent actions (prophetically) failures and had he not had a stroke at the height of the turmoil he would have been the ultimate historian of capitalist opposition to the New Deal. To put it more clearly I find these so called cabals humorous when depicted by the right in the sound bite mash ups. the word for word repetition is hilarious and damning. Yet these are nopthing new. Anyone care to comment or follow up?

27. livefreeordie2 - July 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

permsabbat #26 - I'm not so sure that these groups have existed on both sides. The problem that the right seems to have, jeffaltmans' Bush Derangement Syndrome aside, is that they do indeed try to play fair. They don't realize that the left has no moral grounding and therefore, doesn't care about playing by any rules. Yeah. . . so. . . if you can let us know about a similar group on the right, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Regarding the "coercion by gun or dogma," perhaps you missed my comment. . . WWII was pretty darn coercive for Germany and Japan.

IntegrityisImportant #24. Using the word "treason" to describe Carey's behavior or even the behavior of the worst of the hate-mongers on Journolist, is hyperbolic, stupid, and probably counterproductive. Because it goes so far over the edge, those on the left will tend to disregard the entire episode as nonsense. That's precisely why Carey used that as an example in his blog post. It's what he and the others want. I suggest that you refer to the US Constitution, Article 3, Section 3. This little hate group of lefty elitists may be labeled by lots of words - many with 4 letters and some with "k" sounds - but the word treason doesn't even come close.

28. mainiac - July 26, 2010 at 01:04 pm

This rant belongs on the Huffington Post.

29. permsabbat - July 26, 2010 at 02:23 pm

LForD: I was referring to the more moderate voices in the POSTS not the self effacing(irony) op-ed piece. Indeed these people are heinous to a degree I find repulsive. This coopting of the "fourth estate" such as it has been since the 60s rads took over is ,as you say bordering treasonous. I cannot engage in conversation with the journalists becauese they are so egocentric and indoctrinated into Mao and Marx and Alinsky(AND I EMPHASIZE this is NOT hyperbole) It is simply fact. The attraction to these mantras is easily explained by the shallowness of the readers and their utter lackof understanding of the consequences of the types of changes that are brought about by this ignorance. I have read all three aforementioned "philosophers" and they dress ignorance in pretty words without examining the consequences to the point of enlightenment of the reader to understand the evil inherent in their teachings.

30. 22250655 - July 26, 2010 at 02:41 pm

A number of people so far have lauded the notion of a free market and even "unfettered capitalism." Both are like unicorns, they have never existed. A free market stops being free as soon as one party has more power than another, i.e., immediately. Since human beings first began living in groups, someone controlled interactions within and outside any group. Since antiquity, governments have exerted control over internal and external trade, favoring some purposes and not others. The transition from mercantilism to capitalism has been a story of continuous government involvement. Capitalism" quickly became inhuman in its treatment of individuals because short-term profit was seen by some as more important than any ethical or legal values of the society as a whole. The response to 12 hour days, unsafe working conditions, adulteration of ingredients, cartels, and the like has been governmental interference because only governments are powerful enough to insist on some changes. Capitalist forces fight back seeking to remove some of the checks on their behavior. What all of this adds up to is that no market has ever been free. "Unfettered" capitalism is a horror and almost immediately results in government interference. The only proper debate is how to encourage economic initiative without endangering the survival of society. Use of propaganda terms such as the "free market" or "unfettered capitalism" only makes it harder to consider the real issues.

31. svoorhies - July 26, 2010 at 02:47 pm

Lots of verbiage here so maybe I've missed where someone explained why the site was shut down. All adults should know by now you don't say something in an email you aren't willing to defend in public. My advice to those Journolists: grow a spine. Take a lesson from the right -- don't debate -- speak your mind.
Bring back the listserve.

32. abichel - July 26, 2010 at 02:53 pm

27. livefreeordie2 said "The problem that the right seems to have...is that they do indeed try to play fair."

You are kidding, right?

33. hafajc - July 26, 2010 at 03:29 pm

Right wing hate like 'that manufactured piece' about the USDA person...yep, only them there right wingers do stuff like that, right. Not us enlightened and oh-so pleasant 'Move-On-dot org types... "Right wing hate machine?" "Bush & Chaney suck and they're war criminals." "Bush is a Nazi." Let's us left wingers make a hopeful and uplifting movie about Bush getting assassinated. Let's us loving left wingers believe Dan Rather when he brings up a totally fabricated "document" detailing Bush's transgressions in the National Guard. So I guess it is a "hate machine" if you are politically opposed to it--and merely "useful information" is you agree.

34. zen42 - July 26, 2010 at 07:14 pm

This article is absurd. The very title is as Orwellian as the content, suggesting a right-wing hate machine while whitewashing the actual left-wing hate expressed in the Journolist. Amazing. It reveals not just the immaturity and hate-filled rhetoric in liberal circles, but an unethical desire to manipulate people with untruths.

Pondering the shutting down of FOX news as a one-time event is not the issue, it's the fact it was mentioned at all. What kind of law professor would suggest such a fascistic/communistic act of silencing opposing voices. Yet, this listserv seemed to attract those of a clearly totalitarian mindset.

The author also neglects to mention the listserv members advocating the smearing of conservative journalists and politicos as "racists"; their twisted desire to see Rush Limbaugh killed; their effort to coordinate talking points to attack Palin and McCain, while boosting Obama.

Furthermore, no one accuses academics of "hiding" in ivory towers. Rather, the issue is with their monolithic adherence to left-wing dogma, and indoctrination of students. You cannot be serious that they are only "engaging" with people in other spheres -- strange how those other spheres are all on the same side politically.

Not unlike the ClimateGate scandal, there appears to be a concerted effort to advance an agenda at the expense of the truth. It's not the job of the establishment media to help elect Democrats or push liberal policies. Yet, they were caught red-handed in this shameful collusion.

35. 22178338 - July 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm

For a fascinating look at today's Lefty mindset, compare their outraged howling and foot-stomping over the "outing" of the Journolist archives, with any evidence of concern over Wikileaks publishing a number of classified military documents.

The contrast could not, of course, be more startling. JournoListers, as Mr. Carey himself takes pains to point out, are just some average Joes and Janes gathering down around the water cooler to talk about yesterday's Redskins game, or the Counting Crows concert at the Nissan Pavilion, or their kids' soccer games. Except that's not really what you all did, is it Mr. Carey? The average water cooler banter in a typical American office doesn't involve people who have won Nobel Prizes, or write for the New York Times, or produce for NPR, or lobby education policy, or are in a position to influence millions of people every day, etc. etc.

And of COURSE the JournoListers' comments and their opinions and their feelings are MUCH more important than the ignorant masses out there in flyover country. Why of COURSE, Wikileaks and the NY Times SHOULD have published those Afghanistan documents, national security be damned. And just as certainly OF COURSE you JournoListers have an absolute right to privacy and secrecy of your own snarky, self-serving, patronizing, and lying comments.
How wonderful of you Mr. Carey to pause in your daily labors to point this all out for us.

36. triedtotellyou - July 27, 2010 at 02:42 am

"Academics--particularly those in the humanities and social sciences--were educated to question and to criticize. (People so inclined by their natures are also more apt to get themselves educated that way and to follow academic careers.)"

#10, you have given me the laugh of the week. Au contraire; the majority of academics skulk along those hallways, sucking up to gain political points and often specious committee appointments, and have no interest whatsoever in rocking any intellectual boat. You crack me up.

My late grandfather did not complete high school, but was more discerning, well-read, capable and wise than a loungeful of tenured professors.

Trying to argue that this particular profession imbues social observers with some sort of incisive perspective is simply a crock. The classroom constitutes a captive audience; students are most often too cowed to express their opinions and simply "go along to get along" as the grade is held hostage. Nowhere in society is groupthink so deftly encouraged. And, never has g.t. been so nauseatingly on display as during the media-pumped 'immaculation' of our current President. A sneering, petulant, unrealistic automaton and a bitter disappointment to those of us who would have loved to have seen a strong, self-accepting African American at the helm. Now, I will repair to my "hate machine" politics, which include avoiding blatherers like you at all costs.

37. goxewu - July 27, 2010 at 09:47 am

Re #36:

"Academics--particularly those in the humanities and social sciences--were educated to question and to criticize. (People so inclined by their natures are also more apt to get themselves educated that way and to follow academic careers.)"

Where in the above passage does it say that somebody's grandfather cannot be "more discerning, well-read, capable and wise than a longeful of tenured professors"? In fact, where does it tout academics as being inordinately well-read,* capable and wise compared to people in other professions?

The decriptions of academics in that passage is, I think most reasonable people would agree, pretty neutral. Those on the left can feel flattered about professors' being questioning and critical; those on the right can complain that academics undercut all the things that make America great. But unless one believes that humanities professors are the devil's spawn from the git-go, my explanation is fair: humanities professors are educated to question and criticize, and people who are naturally inclined to do those things pursue educations that'll foreground them.

The rest of #36 is simply agenda boilerplate that could be attached to three-quarters of the posts on "Brainstorm."

*Professors, whose profession involves a lot of reading, are apt to be "better read" than average folk. Athletes are apt to be in better physical shape, musicians better able to remember a melody, surgeons less squeamish at the sight of blood, etc., etc.,

I, by the way, am not Kevin Carey, and my comment has very little directly to do with Mr. Carey's post. I was merely trying to answer a general question from another commenter.

38. matthewsm - July 27, 2010 at 10:04 am

Kevin:

Don't assume that you can converse rationally with trolls. Save your energy and time for more productive ventures, like coralling the Gulf oil spill with gravy skimmer.

39. tbdiscovery - July 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm

"and the guy who posted that fake video that led to Tom Vilsack railroading an innocent woman out of her job at the USDA"

The video was taken out of context, but it was not fake. Sherrod went on to mention that she didn't want to help white people, but she did. Michelle Obama says that she is black first.

Switch.

I really don't like helping black people, but I do. We just have to get along. Please know that I'm white first.

It wouldn't fly.

40. new_theologian - July 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm

We could actually avoid a great deal of this controversy is we would just stop trying to pretend that journalism is an exercise in objectivity. That's non-sense. Even if, hypothetically, journalists were honest in the reporting of facts and only facts, allowing the reader to assess the significance of those facts for himself or herself, every journalist would have to make editorial judgments about what facts to select for the report and what facts to exclude. Even with all the collected facts on the table, the question can still be asked, "what facts did you notice and what facts did you not notice?" We notice what we notice because we have a window of perception through which the data of life is filtered for us.

Historically, journalism made no pretense of "objectivity." It was a bully-pulpit, and the First Amendment enshrines that bully-pulpit as a Constitutional right in the United States. The journalist had access to a medium of communication, and used it, openly, to say what he or she thought it important to say. The purpose of it was to break into the reader's window of perception so that the reader would come to notice the same things about the world that the journalist noticed. It's purpose was not to communicate neutral facts, but an interpretation of events. It was fundamentally editorial, and no one claimed it to be otherwise.

We should return to that model. Let's just all admit that the journalist has a perspective and a value structure that influences the way he or she decides what to report and how to report it. That way we can all be aware that we need to get our news from a variety of sources so we can see the events of the world through a wide array of lenses. That will help us form our own assessment of actual events.

So. let me say that, while it is clear that lies are sometimes presented, knowingly, as if they were facts, it is much more common to find journalistic bias in the form of self-censorship. It comes through what goes unreported--what is not deemed newsworthy, or what elements of data the reporter simply ignores. Readers, viewers, and listeners, who rely upon journalists to inform them have to understand that the journalist will only say what he or she thinks it relevant to say--and that this judgment is made from within a certain perspective. There's no avoiding it, and the make-believe game we've been playing for the past half century (?) is clearly starting to break down. The sooner we just clear the board and let everyone speak openly and honestly from whatever position he or she happens to espouse, the better off everyone will be--journalists included--and the sooner the ideological monopoly on the media will be broken.

Is the media biased? YES! Stop trying to deny it. Just admit it and let's get on with an open exchange of perspectives.

41. goxewu - July 27, 2010 at 03:44 pm

Re #40:

Stopping to "pretending" that the media is objective is one thing, the media's giving up any attempt to be objective is quite another. The New York Times may lean center-left, but its sourcing, second-sourcing, editing, fact-checking and published self-criticism every so often by its Public Editor makes it a more reliable first read (online) to me than The New York Post, The Village Voice, The LA Weekly, The Socialist Worker, The Advocate, The Chicago Defender, etc. The NYT may get caught out now and then (e.g., Judith Miller and the runup to the Iraq war), but it sure tries a lot harder to be objective than any of the above.

new_theologian might like to live in a country (I have) where the newsstand has only the fascist paper, the Catholic paper, the communist paper, the royalist paper, the socialist paper, the corporate paper, etc., where not just the op-ed pages but the entire news content are openly written from the paper's political stance, but I'd like to have at least a couple of outlets that try for some objectivity in the news department. And, by the way, I think that the WSJ--though its editorials may read like they're written by Jay Gould himself--does a pretty good job in that respect.


42. permsabbat - July 27, 2010 at 11:33 pm

OK, so this horse is dead and kicked into unrecognition. Put simply in an anecdotal imaginary scenario: UNBIASED{"an accident tied up traffic on the interstate,two people were injured and the accident was cleared within two hours returning normal traffic flow"
LEFT/ {"an accident injuring two people too injured to interview caused trafic to back up for miles and led to many tons of unnecessary carbon buildup that could have serious implications for the environment as well as a call for a NHTSA study on the safety of the speed limits and size of vehicles on our roads. We hope that new regulatory limitations can reduce the frequency of these tragic incidents'}
RIGHT\{"An acccident tied up traffic on the main thouroughfare in the city injuring two persons, the back up caused many people to be late to work and many people lost critical time at work that has serious implcations for their pocketbooks, Police quickly cleared the scene and did an admirable job of limiting the disruption but the lost work hours could lead to some companies missing their projected quarterly earnings and affecting the stock market"}

Of course this is an over the top illustration of the way a single story can be spun and all this WITHOUT projecting a true agenda or ideological slant to the writers. All the more reaon to agree with previous posters to come to your own conclusion about a story after reseasrching as accurately as one can any topic of importance to the reader. See most of you in the next article and postings. This is an entertaining and intelligent group of posters and my hopes are high that the discourse will remain glib,snarky and intelligent all at once. Good Day

43. trendisnotdestiny - July 29, 2010 at 10:27 am

My reaction to these posts is more related to addressing concentrated forms of less visible power. One example is the media industry:

GE owns NBC & their satellites networks
Viacom owns CBS
Disney own ABC & ESPN
Murdoch owns Fox & satellites networks

What makes us so suseptible to left-right divides is that we are often encouraged to take positions that fragment responsibility into ideological components as a means of replicating the arguments already being constructed and delivered to us by media... What we do not see as well is that oligarchical internal power is shared amongst stakeholders and their similarities with one another and collusions are much greater than the perceptions of antagonism (O'Reilly vs. Olbermann)...

This turns into an entertainment farce supported by what Chomsky suggests is the best forum for this type of misinformation without real dialogue or "commercialized concision" designed to evoke an emotional response for division versus a clear understanding of the broader subject in context.

If we spent more time on institutional analysis in this country and how larger institutions interests are designed to avoid scrutiny... then traditonal left and right debates might have less potential for stickiness into the morass of individualized rhetoric of division.... We already see this how this works after disasters. The institutional analysis is substituted for a parlor game of who might be to blame with all the various demographics to insure a fragmented discussion into left and right

1) Dealing with Home Foreclosures
2) Corporate Bankruptcy as means to avoid paying pensions
3) Tax Policy & Inheritance
4) Bailouts of Too-Big-to-Fail Banks
5) Socializing Losses and Privatizing Gains
6) BP & Energy Policy
7) Global Warming
8) Misreporting of Afghanistan War (wikileaks)

When considering some of the events, one can see patterns of corporate malfeasance, government incompetence, corruption, denial and indifference. Only through an institutional analysis of the partnership between public and private interests will we be dealing with common information...

44. physicsprof - July 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

"The NYT may get caught out now and then, but it sure tries a lot harder to be objective than any of the above."

#41, strangely, when I read about gun control in NYT (something I happen to know a lot about) I can not help but feel that it is written either by very incompetent or politically dishonest people. No attempt of objectivity whatsoever.

45. goxewu - July 29, 2010 at 02:19 pm

Re #44:

Let me guess: anti-gun-control, NRA member?

(Look, we've all got our pet peeves. I don't think the NYT covers a certain country in the Middle East very objectively, either. And I did say the paper is good as a "first read." After that, you can dig deeper or read stuff that's more editorially up your alley.)

46. physicsprof - July 29, 2010 at 04:01 pm

#45, have to be...
For NYT readership NRA is a political monster to fear and hate, but for those who know a little more it is also a sporting and educational organization (through which one gets teaching certification, the only avenue in this country for non-LE instructors).

47. scupterry - July 30, 2010 at 09:42 am

Ugh. The Faux News crowd is hilarious. The reason for its existence is to misinform the public. That is treasonous.

48. trendisnotdestiny - August 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

This brings up an important point... Faux (Fox) news is more of the media arm of the corporatist movement than a legitimate news organization. While most media conforms to this critique, the exaggerated bias is most observable with Fox...

This alignment between media and politics creates a huge divide between left and right because the left is so reactive to the propaganda model and the right is protective of the one last bastion that confirms their world view. It gets sticky when MSNBC gets brought up since to the people on the right, they are liberal. However to the progressive left, they are best option among a broken system of sell outs. They are hard to defend and often hypocritical.... (owned by GE and only there to appeal to a demographic that some media company has to service).

This whole conversation again subverts actual media analysis about how government/corporations collude. The best lies contain 70% truth and 20% ambiguous evasion and 10% manufactured untruth

both the left and right spew their 70% rhetoric, but there is very little context for the remaining 30% where institutional analysis should take place by consumers working together using both the skills of conservative and liberal thought

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