August 19, 2010

UPDATED: It's Like a Bad George Clooney Movie

Fade to INTERIOR: DAY, a home office.

A young man eating his morning bran muffin is casually watching the ABC morning news as he buttons his shirt.

The news anchor shows a clip of a man in brightly colored robes, screaming provocative and racially-charged phrases at a large gathering of emotive followers. He propagates long-held conspiracy theories. He stokes the crowd's emotions by calling for judgement on their nameless, faceless oppressors. He asks for God to damn America.

The young man watching is so stunned he forgets to chew. He turns the TV on mute in disgust and practically runs to his laptop. Going to his email account, he composes a new email to his yahoo email group:

We have to kill ABC.
***
Those of you who are my facebook friends may or may not have been seeing the links I have posted the last few weeks regarding the JournoList. Yes, that's how it's spelled.

If not, or even if you have seen them but you haven't had time to read any of them, I'm going to do my best to break it down for you here. Why? Because you have to know. Because this has affected every one of us, and we just didn't know it until now.

The JournoList, a "listserv" or mass email exchange group, was founded by Ezra Klein, journalist for the Washington Post, and Joe Klein, of TIME Magazine, in 2007.
Ezra Klein, JournoList founder Joe Klein
It grew to over 400 journalists, bloggers, politicians, news anchors/writers and college professors (to date, 135 names have been released/confirmed) who exchanged information for the sole purpose of influencing public perception through mass media - the news.

Now, that may not sound like a lot of people. And there may not be that many "big" names on the list (no Katie Couric or Chris Matthews types, for instance).

But the institutions they work for, you will undoubtedly recognize: Washington Post, Newsweek, The New York Times, MSNBC, LA Weekly, Chicago Tribune, Slate, Air America, The Huffington Post, TIME, CNN, the New Yorker, as well as representatives from Yale, Harvard and UCLA, among others.

All of these people at these institutions were working together to create a unified public image regarding, well, whatever they wanted.

When everyone is thinking the same thing, someone's not thinking
~ Gen. George S. Patton

Their first big break was with regard to the 2008 Presidential Elections, beginning with the primaries. When the public first became aware of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of 20 years (who believes the American government manufactured the AIDS virus as a way to kill black people), the reaction on the JournoList was intense. They expected and desired for the story to go away. It did not on its own. At an ABC moderated debate, Charlie Gibson asked Obama about Rev. Wright. The JournoList exploded. One of the contributors wrote:

What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.

Rather than foster debate, or stick to the traditionally-assumed role of journalism and just present the facts, they instead decided to control the narrative - that anyone who asked questions about Rev. Wright or his connection to Obama was a racist, and I dare you to prove otherwise. Doesn't matter who - "who cares" - just accuse them of being racists. And check the motivation: they wanted to let "the right" know that the needed to live in fear...figuratively, of course. (I assume he means "figuratively," in place of "rhetorically.")

And, yes, this is where the "we have to kill ABC" email was circulated.

And what happened? Rev. Wright fell off the radar, and the few who asked about it were told to move on, that it was a non-story. (For more on this, rent "Media Malpractice," a documentary about 2008 election coverage.)

This is the earliest documented example of the JournoList's collusion and effect upon the mainstream media. Other examples involve corporate bailouts and - predictably - Sarah Palin.
On the question of liberals coordinating, what the hell’s wrong with some critical mass of liberal bloggers & journalists saying the following among themselves:
“McCain lies about his maverick status. Routinely, cavalierly, cynically. Palin lies about her maverick status. Ditto, ditto, ditto. McCain has a wretched temperament. McCain is a warmonger. Palin belongs to a crackpot church and feels warmly about a crackpot party that trashes America…
Again. And again. Vary the details. There are plenty. Somebody on the ‘list posted a strong list of McCain lies earlier today. Hammer it. Philosophize, as Nietzsche said, with a hammer. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not waiting for any coordination. Get on with it!
Spread the narrative. Vary the details (not verify the details). This sounds like a campaign strategist, someone with a vested interest in the outcome of the race - not, as we have been led to believe through the decades, a reporter who just wants to present the facts and help the public make an informed decision. (By the way, still waiting on those "lies" they kept talking about to come to light.)

And how do the JournoListers feel about our military?
Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands.
The thing is, the JournoListers weren't just media wonks. They were also political policy wonks. And they wanted to shut down any dissenting voice, using whatever means necessary, be it intimidation, regulation or legislation.

Trust, but verify.
~ Ronald Reagan

The chief offender in this respect, as an institution, is the Washington Post. The founder of the JL works for WaPo. Several of its members were on staff or contributors to WaPo. WaPo's general tone has been under the influence of the JL for going on 4 years now. And to date, WaPo has yet, as an institution, to comment on the now public lack of objectivity of its writers and contributors. Most of them who were part of the original founding of the JL are still there, "guiding" the narratives of WaPo's stories. Keep that in mind as you click through their website.

This is a bare-bones summary of the whole story, because I didn't want to write (and I know you didn't come here to read) 5 pages worth of material. It doesn't even scratch the surface. New information is coming to light every day. I highly encourage you to hop over to Big Journalism to follow it. They didn't break the story, but they have the most up-to-date comprehensive coverage on it.

For the last few years, when it comes to the most major issues in our country - even to the presidential elections - the public perception has been guided and crafted to a specific purpose, because the avenues of information have been manipulated by those entrusted with relaying that information to us. We can no longer assume objectivity on the part of the media. There is always an agenda. Actually, we've always known there was an agenda.

But now we have proof.

UPDATE: Some of you may or may not have seen WaPo's story today declaring OIF over. Obviously, we know that is not the case. But considering all we now know about the goals of those running WaPo's newsroom, are we surprised? What possible narrative could this deliberately misleading story serve?
***
Quick reminder:
LAST DAY TO ENTER SUPER AWESOMELY EXCITING GIVEAWAY!!!

6 comments:

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  2. Whoa... intense. Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. The media today is as corrupt as the politicians lining their pockets.
    Since when did "news" venues start doing commentary instead of reporting what's actually going on? MSNBC is one of my personal digusts. I absolutely cannot stand the rants they put on night after night. It turns my stomach.
    I love your Patton quote, I have it on my facebook page.
    It truly scares me what our country has come to with this current administration. He wants control of everything and wants everyone to owe him, no matter what it costs him. Anti-Christ? Marxism? Communism? Seriously, it's frightening.

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  4. Great post. Very thorough, well put. Love it.

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  5. This is great!! I have so many reactions...first of all, I trust no one...seriously you just can't anymore.

    I LOVE that Patton quote...I am going to be stealing that from you :-)

    Also, I have never understood why people hate Sarah Palin so much. I'm pretty sure if I called someone out on it and asked them they would stammer out some made up excuse....because they only think they hate her because their news source manipulated them. Most haters don't even know why.

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  6. On the OIF thing I think people just need to realize that yeah its a really big deal that the last Strykers rolled out of there. It just is. When you've had someone you love fighting over there in some of their bloodiest battles, it does mean something that the serious combat is mostly over. It means a lot when you know people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice over there. I won't lie, I cried last night watching the video of those Strykers heading to the boarder. But that doesn't at all mean that the whole thing is done and over with. The media likes to twist things and breeze over others.

    Journalism today (for the most part) sickens me. Because you're right--its not about TELLING the story its about molding the story to fit their agenda. The media should have any other agenda besides telling the facts as they and leaving it to America to think for themselves to form an opinion. But is America that lazy that they'd rather read their own opinions in a newspaper?

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