The archive of Journolist has been released to Gawker by the hacker Guccifer, and it presents a terrible dilemma for anyone connected to the Washington reporter scene from 2007ish to 2010, when it was revealed that some people made fun of Sarah Palin on the secret reporter listserv. As Gawker's Hamilton Nolan explains, it forced some reporters to publicly apologize, stirred up conservative outrage, and Dave Weigel left The Washington Post in the aftermath, only to be hired by Slate.
The listserv caused problems for a few people who were on it. But now that the whole thing is public, it's created a problem for those who weren't. Do you search for your name? It's like the old Washington game of searching the index of the latest political book to see if you're mentioned — but more dangerous. Journolist was not meant for publication, only for private bitching. Do you want to know up what people were saying about you? Who were your real friends? What if no one cared about you at all? It's like crack — so dangerous, but it feels so good.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.