2. John Tabin. Tabin has been one of the most forceful conservative apologists for JournOlist. Tabin defended the JournOlists in three distinct and rather lengthy blog posts at the American Spectator. His defense boils down to this:
- Everybody does it, even conservative journalists.
- JournOlist was more comical than dangerous; its efforts at liberal journalistic coordination and control were more ham-handed than menacing.
- The JournOlists were liberal commentators gathering information and talking points from other liberals – so what’s the big deal?
None of Tabin’s rationales is true or persuasive. To wit:
- Everybody doesn’t do it, as I explained here at NewsReal Blog and at the American Spectator. In fact, JournOlist has no known conservative counterpart, and for good reason: Conservative journalists don’t conspire together to comport with some preconceived party line or coordinated group effort.
To be sure, some conservative political activists do this, because they are trying to effect political change, but conservative journalists do no such thing. They value their professional independence and intellectual integrity too much to participate in a group that would compromise both of these virtues.
- While the JournOlists may, indeed, have executed their efforts in a ham-handed and comedic fashion, their intent was quite serious-minded and menacing. In fact, their intent was underhanded, deceptive and antithetical to everything a journalist is supposed to be and to represent.
The JournOlists’ intent was underhanded because their listserv and its contents were kept secret and hidden from public view. Yet, the Journolists engaged the public dialogue — and the American people — under the guise of being nonpartisan truth seekers, fair and balanced journalists. Their published JournOlistic dialogue, however, shows them to be anything but fair and balanced.
- Contra Tabin, not everyone on JournOlist was a commentator. Many JournOlists, in fact, were conventional reporters, producers and writers at legacy media outlets. And even the commentators were doing far more than simply gathering information.
Again, they were explicitly trying to direct and coordinate media coverage, while composing partisan political talking points. That’s why Baltimore Sun columnist Thomas Schaller urged his fellow Journolists to “use the power of this list to do something.”
The “power of the list” itself is telling. That power involved the ability to decisively shape the media narrative in support of Barack Obama and the liberal agenda.