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‘Tabloid Journalism’: the Last Charge of a Journolist and His Apologists

Posted on July 29 2010 10:00 pm
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Is the Daily Caller’s stunning fact-based expose of Journolist really an example of “tabloid journalism”?

The Journolisters have predictably and self-servingly denounced Tucker Carlson and the Daily Caller for practicing what they call “tabloid journalism.” What they mean is that Carlson has withheld information from readers and taken snippets of information out of context to “sensationalize the narrative.”

Interestingly enough, this view has been articulated most forcefully by non-Journolist John Tabin of the American Spectator and endorsed by National Review’s Daniel Foster.

But how do Tabin and Foster know that Carlson and the Daily Caller are guilty as charged? They blithely assume that the Journolisters are right, and that Carlson has, indeed, unfairly “sensationalized the narrative.” The facts, though, show otherwise.

For starters, there is no reason to believe the Journolisters, who are hardly disinterested observers; and it is far from clear that any additional context would exonerate them. Their comments are pretty stark and damning.

Moreover, as Carlson has observed, most of the Journolist archive is banal; and some of it would needlessly embarrass people.

“So while it might be amusing to air threads theorizing about the personal and sexual shortcomings of various New Republic staffers,” says Carlson, “we’ve decided to pull back… Anyone on Journolist who claims we quoted him ‘out of context’ can reveal the context himself.”

Surprise, surprise, but it doesn’t look like any Journolister has seriously taken Carlson up on his offer. (Gee, I wonder why?!)

Tabin says this is because the Journolisters were “party to an off-the-record agreement.” That may be true, but this doesn’t stop any Journolister (or group of Journolisters) from releasing those portions of Journolist that affect him (or them) and not other Journolisters.

In any case, if Journolist is such a swell and harmless thing, then why did Ezra Klein suspend Journolist when its existence became public knowledge? If there’s nothing corrupt about the whole enterprise, then why not continue indefinitely its confidential (but no longer secret) proceedings?

Because Klein and the rest of the Journolisters all know better; that’s why — and so should John Tabin and Daniel Foster.

You can follow John Guardiano on Twitter: @JohnRGuardiano

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