Ezra Klein: ‘This is My Final Finally-ish Final Word on JournoList!!’

by Donald Douglas | July 23, 2010 11:11 am

I actually expect this to be my final public comment on the subject[1].”

Famous last words, from JournoList head-henchman Ezra Klein[2].

Now the Boy Wonder’s got another post up attacking — wait for it!! — Tucker Carlson for “smearing” JournoList with omissions and misleading statements[3] and — Oh, the humanity!!

So, what better way to respond than to attack Tucker Carlson ad hominem? See, “When Tucker Carlson asked to join Journolist[4].” And the best thing is that our boy Ezra confirms what everyone knows of JournoList: It was designed as an inside left-wing conspiracy and there was no way any conservatives would be allowed to join the discussion group. Even better is Boy Wonder’s admission that the “evil” Michelle Malkin would never — NEVER!! — be allowed to join the list. Hmm, afraid something untoward might actually get out, like, um, wishing people like Rush Limbaugh were dead AND not getting a hint of backlash among JournoListers to those views? Face it, Ezra, you people are evil and oh so un-journalist-like. Best thing is to just leave a beefy quotation for posterity:


If this series [at The Daily Caller] now rests on Tucker’s credibility, then let’s talk about something else he doesn’t mention: I tried to add him to the list. I tried to give him access to the archives. Voluntarily. Because though I believed it was important for the conversation to be off-the-record, I didn’t believe there was anything to hide.

The e-mail came on May 25th. Tucker didn’t ask that it be off-the-record, so I’m not breaking a confidence by publishing it. Here it is, in full:

Dear Ezra,

I keep hearing about how smart the policy conversations on JournoList are, and am starting to feel like I’m missing out by not reading them. Could I join?

I realize you and I don’t share the same politics, but I can promise you I have no interest in flaming anyone or even debating (I get enough of that). I’m just interested in knowing what smart progressives are saying. It strikes me that’s the one thing I’m missing in my daily reading.

Please tell me what you think. If it makes you uncomfortable, ask around. I’m pretty sure we know a lot of the same people.

All best,

Tucker Carlson.

At the time, I didn’t know Carlson was working on a story about Journolist. And I’d long thought that the membership rules that had made sense in the beginning had begun to feed conspiracy theories on the right and cramp conversation inside the list. I wrote him back about 30 minutes later.

We definitely have friends in common, and I’d have no worries about you joining. The problem is I need to have clear rules, as i don’t want to be in the position of forcing fine-grained membership tests based on opaque criteria. Thus far, it’s been center to left, just because that was how people wanted it at the beginning in order to feel comfortable talking freely. I’ve been meaning for some time to ask the list about revisiting that, so I’ll take this opportunity and get back to you.

I then wrote this e-mail to Journolist:

As folks know, there are a couple of rules for J List membership. One is that you can’t be working for the government. Another is that you’re center to left of center, as that was something various people wanted back in the day. I’ve gotten a couple of recent requests from conservatives who want to be added (and who are people I think this list might benefit from), however, and so it seems worth asking people whether they’d like to see the list opened up. Back in the day, I’d probably have let this lie, but given that Journolist now leaks like a sieve, it seems worth revisiting some of the decisions made when it was meant to be a more protected space.

As I see it, the pro of this is that it could make for more fun conversations. The con of it is that it becomes hard to decide who to add and who to leave off (I don’t want to have to make subjective judgments, but I’m also not going to let Michelle Malkin hop onto the list), and it also could create even more possible leaks — and now, they’d be leaks with more of an agenda, which could be much more destructive to trust on the list.

I want to be very clear about what I was suggesting: Adding someone to the list meant giving them access to the entirety of the archives. That didn’t bother me very much. Sure, you could comb through tens of thousands of e-mails and pull intemperate moments and inartful wording out of context to embarrass people, but so long as you weren’t there with an eye towards malice, you’d recognize it for what it was: A wonkish, fun, political yelling match. If it had been an international media conspiracy, I’d have never considered opening it up.

The idea was voted down. People worried about opening the archives to individuals who could help their careers by ripping e-mails out of context, misrepresenting the nature of the ongoing conversation, and bringing the world an exclusive look into The Great Journolist Conspiracy, as opposed to the daily life of Journolist, which even Carlson describes as “actually pretty banal.”

Voted down?

Well, of course. Really bad goings-on were going on there, and the more Ezra Klein talks about it the more we know that all the moral condemnation is entirely justified and wondrously gratifying.

Perhaps Boy Wonder should take his own advice and now just STFU before somebody slams him through some damned JournoListic plate-glass window.

HAT TIP: AoSHQ, “Ezra Wails: “I didn’t believe there was anything to hide[5].”

Cross-posted from American Power[6].

  1. I actually expect this to be my final public comment on the subject: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/07/first_time_as_tragedy_second_t_1.html
  2. Ezra Klein: http://www.memeorandum.com/100722/p138#a100722p138
  3. omissions and misleading statements: http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/letter-from-editor-in-chief-tucker.html
  4. When Tucker Carlson asked to join Journolist: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/07/when_tucker_carlson_asked_to_j.html
  5. Ezra Wails: “I didn’t believe there was anything to hide: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/303914.php
  6. American Power: http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/ezra-klein-this-is-my-final-finally-ish.html

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