Journo-List And My Hyperbole

By The Daily Dish

I've been highly critical of some of the emails on Journo-List, especially those that seem to be speaking as "we" and suggesting collective management of various story lines, such as the Palin pregnancy and birth controversy. I've also qualified my posts by 1) insisting that these emails were probably swamped by many many others that list-members did not read, or care about, or that had nothing to do with a "line" of any kind, and 2) that while there's some collective direction here, and some collusion, there is nothing resembling a conspiracy to set an agenda.

I am always distressed when I over-hear or encounter journalists who simply argue that a story should not be pursued because it would hurt "the cause" especially when that "cause" is the election of a candidate. However, after hearing from many Journo-List members, many of whom I deeply respect as journalists, I want to stress that my qualifications should have been more prominent in the Dish's coverage. The vast majority of the list's content, I am convinced, was harmless, even helpful to general discourse. I remain skeptical of the subtle dangers of groupthink that such a list can generate, especially in election campaigns, and when I read explicit exhortations to "leave this be", my hackles rise. But these were, for the most part, un-coordinated exhortations, not regimented orders; this was a list-serv, not a conspiracy.

I do not withdraw my criticisms, but I should withdraw some of the hyperbole that I garnished them with. And so I do.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2010/07/journo-list-and-my-hyperbole/184326/