The JournoList has evoked much commentary. But a bigger question is being missed. What lurks beneath the outward gentility and civility of the most enlightened liberal bloggers and columnists?

Apparently it is not pretty. Some people expressed surprise at the ugly tone of the thread released by Mickey Kaus, in which the JournoListas lashed out at Marty Peretz. But the trash talking on the JournoList itself was a ruse for some deeper level of cat-fighting that goes on off-list.

Note this comment by Eric Alterman directed at Jonathan Chait, who had questioned whether “the point of this [is] to create a forum where certain people can be criticized (or, more precisely, called names) without the criticizer having to fear a response?” Alterman responded, in part, as follows (emphasis mine):

Quit lying about my record, Jonathan Chait…. As you well know, there are plenty of attacks going on between yourself, Matt, Ezra, Spencer, and myself that do not make it onto this list because we respect the importance of civility here. Or at least we did…. I expect Ezra will want to intervene here, but please do feel free to forward our exchange to Marty. I can only imagine how proud he’d be….

So the trash talk on-list pales in comparison to the fighting off-list, according to Alterman. What does that say about these oh-so-smart people who devote so much of their lives to attacking Bush (still), Republicans, conservatives, plumbers, moose-hunting moms, and everyone else who does not fit their paradigm of a compassionate and intelligent American?

What the JournoList reveals is that so much of liberalism as perpetuated by liberal bloggers and columnists is a facade, a veritable Potemkin Village of humane emotions hiding an ugly truth of egotistical anger and an obsessive need to attack others to prove to their own self-worth. And all this is gleaned from a single JournoListic thread.

See these related posts: The JournoList Should Be Called The PlagiarList, Release ALL The E-Mails, Ezra, My First Tweet: The JournoList Sure Has A Lot Of Anti-Semitic Commenters, Ezra Klein Smears Ann Althouse.