A Pause on Self-Reflection

I think there's been too much reflection and navel gazing (literally) under my byline as of late, so I'm going to use this post as a catch-all to communicate a few messages.

First: Journolist. I asked if I could join when POLITICO broke the story last year. I found the list to be quite helpful as a way of figuring out what smart liberals were thinking and what they were venting about. No more, no less. I'd love to join a conservative version for the same reason. Virtually everything I contributed to Journolist I wound up using in a blog post, so you're getting the same me here that they did there.

Second:  I've had my fill of meta-analysis of how power is represented in the media. I don't speak for my colleagues, and the outrage cycles are distracting. On that jag, I've come up with some stock responses to questions about whether so-and-so covered such-and-such fairly.

1. Answering the question thoughtfully would require more time than I have, or want to devote, to media criticism. Sorry. It's a good question, and good questions are good starts.

2. I support the use of double standards when contextually appropriate. So I tend to ignore questions that start from the premise, "If X was a Republican, you just know the media would ..."  No, I don't know that. Or maybe I do know that, and maybe it's appropriate, because the concatenation of judgment and motivation and context can turn something that appears to be similar into something that is quite different.

3. I have respect for and recognize a variety of types of journalism as legitimate, but I am not the arbiter of journalistic legitimacy, so please ask someone else.

4. I do not speak for my colleagues, and I tend to avoid engaging in internecine debates with them unless it adds something meaningful to a debate. I have no obligation to condemn someone for writing something I disagree with because I am not them. Expressing offensive thoughts reflects on the organization I belong to, just as the freedom to express them without censorship or censoring does. Also, I am not using this platform to share my opinions with you; I'm using it as a way to tell you what I know about other things.

5. If I haven't written about what outrages you, it's because I try to resist writing about things that outrage people.

If you've taken the time to come read my blog, then I owe you something that you're not going to get someplace else. I owe you value-add. And that's my credo for now.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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