JournoList: Proof of liberal media bias?

Leaked emails to and from progressive pundits suggest a concerted attempt to keep Rev. Jeremiah Wright out of the headlines

 Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
(Image credit: Getty)

Conservative bloggers already had their suspicions over "JournoList," the now-defunct mailing list set up by Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein as a means for journalists to privately debate current affairs and industry issues. But the blogosphere has been thrown into uproar after the leaking of "JournoList" emails from 2008 which appear to show a concerted attempt by liberal pundits to keep the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story out of the mainstream media during the 2008 presidential primaries. Journalists such as the Washington Independent's Spencer Ackerman and the Guardian's Michael Tomasky privately "plotted to fix the damage" done to Obama by revelation of his link to Wright, says Jonathan Strong at the Daily Caller, which broke the story. Are the leaked emails proof of the mainstream media's liberal bias? (Watch a Fox News report about JournoList's aims)

Only a handful of JournoList members approved of this "plot": Let's get the facts straight, says Jonathan Chait at The New Republic. The extent of this so-called plotting was an open letter, signed by only 10 percent of JournoList's members, condemning ABC News' treatment of Obama during one of the Democratic debates. An open letter is hardly "an example of secret message coordination," and "most people on Journolist had nothing to do with it." In fact, many of us felt uncomfortable about it. This "conspiratorial analysis" is entirely bogus.

"The Journolist conspiracy continues"

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This is clear evidence of liberal bias in the mainstream media: As a meeting place for progressive bloggers, says Logan Penza at The Moderate Voice, JournoList sounded "cliquish, but harmless." But evidence of a conspiracy to kill stories that were "harmful to liberal politics" is truly scary. For years, the mainstream media has argued that it was made up of "fair and objective professionals who could separate their personal ideology from their reporting." Now, it's clear some of them were "just plain lying."

"None dare call it conspiracy"

The only JournoList plotters were well-known liberal pundits, not reporters: This has nothing to do with the mainstream media, says Steve Krakauer at Mediaite. Ackerman, Tomasky et al are openly "liberal opinion columnists," not "supposedly unbiased reporters." It's no surprise they didn't like the mainstream media talking about Rev. Wright. And if it was a plot, then it didn't work — the Wright story "bubbled up for a significant part of the campaign, across the entire media."

"Journolist is back: attempted coordination to downplay Jeremiah Wright story"

But this kind of collusion shows the Left is just as bad as FOX News et al: I'm with the Daily Caller on this one, says Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic. The leaked emails show Journolist pundits railing against the conservative bias of cable news and talk radio. But this transparent "attempt to corral press coverage and skew it to a particular outcome" shows they are no better than the "propagandistic FOX News and the lock-step orthodoxy on the partisan right." Whichever way you look at it, "collusion is corruption."

"The corruption of Journolist"

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