The media moved with stunning symmetry this week is seeking any and every means of tearing down the Republican National Convention, and particularly Paul Ryan.
To borrow their favorite metaphor, it was as if someone blew a dog whistle that only the liberal media could hear.
National Journal, which until now I have viewed as one of the few relatively neutral news entities, soiled itself when its Editor in Chief, Ron Fournier, wrote a rant titled Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card, in which he translated what two other people said in an interview into what he believed they were saying and then used his beliefs as proof of racism applied broadly to opponents of Obama:
I share this story to crack the code – the subtle language of distrust and prejudice that whites use to communicate deep-set fears, and that cynical politicians translate into votes. Translating Miller and Benson:
“Subsidization” = Welfare
“Generational Apathy” = Lazy
“They Slept All Day” = Blacks Sleep All Day
“I Feel Like a Fool” = I’m Mad As Hell
I have not seen such a feeding frenzy since the Palin nomination. When it came to Palin it was mostly very personal attacks on her and her family, particularly her son Trig.
For Ryan, it was false and hyperbolic “fact checks” which were not fact checks but political arguments.
Yes, Obama weakened the work rules required of states for welfare; how that weakening is described is a matter of the usual political puffery on both sides, but hardly evidence that Ryan’s speech was dishonest. And Ryan was correct that Obama promised that a Janesville auto plant would stay open if he were elected, and the decision by GM to permanently shutter the plant was not taken until six months after Obama took office and after the auto bailout; yet the media tried to claim Ryan lied, until the media itself was fact checked by the right blogosphere.
I can’t wait to see how these same major newspapers and networks swarm over every word and nuance spoken at the DNC.
They’re all just JournoLists, in heart if not history.
For those of you who haven’t been here long, the JournoList was an email list serve organized prior to the 2008 election by Ezra Klein, now one of the lead writers at The Washington Post, in which various young bucks (uh oh, is that a dog whistle) and doe in the emerging melding of blogging and journalism traded various strategies.
Another of the JournoLists was Greg Sargent, one of WaPo’s lead bloggers and someone who helps funnel Democratic talking points into the mainstream media. Nate Silver, now of The New York Times, was on the list as well (although I will say I have found his work at The NY Times to be quite good), as was Ben Smith (formerly Politico, now BuzzFeed Politics) and several others at Politico.
Many of the JournoLists were rewarded after the election with access to the White House.
Among the strategies were how to elect Barack Obama by jointly pushing certain themes, including claims of racism against McCain supporters, and how to neutralize Sarah Palin’s potential appeal. Not every one of the JournoLists engaged in these strategies, but enough did to create a scandal when The Daily Caller obtained some of the emails. (To my knowledge, Ezra Klein never has released the full email archive.)
The JournoList revealed what we always have known. What we call “journalism” really is a stacked deck against Republicans and conservatives.
Whether they move together because they exchange emails, or hang out at the same places, or just hear the same dog whistles, much of what we call the news media has an agenda and for the next 60+ days that agenda is to elect Barack Obama.
You need no better proof than the sleazy comment by the (now former) Washington Editor of Yahoo! News that the Romneys like to party while black people drown. The comment was caught on an open mic, and therefore became controversial.
But among the established and aspiring journalists in the room, the comment elicited no criticism. Only by luck of an open mic was the truth revealed of how a highly influential and respected journalist thinks, and how willing he was to share that agenda with those who work with and under him. It was the JournoList in another form.
There is a greater ability to fight back, but don’t kid yourselves. The accusations made in the media against Romney-Ryan and down ticket candidates drown out the pushback. But push back we must, and defeating the media at the polls has to be one of our highest priorities.
Update: Via John Sexton at Breitbart, one of the subjects of the Ron Fournier interview says Fournier took his comments out of context.