Cabal Theories

In JournoList: Inside the echo chamber, at Politico, Michael Calderone writes (my emphasis):

For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.

Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy?

Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. “Basically,” he says, “it’s just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely.”

But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won’t say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he’s seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.

“I’m very lazy about writing when I’m not getting paid,” Alterman said. “So if I take the trouble to write something in any detail on the list, I tend to cannibalize it. It doesn’t surprise me when I see things on the list on people’s blogs.”

Last April, criticism of ABC’s handling of a Democratic presidential debate took shape on JList before morphing into an open letter to the network, signed by more than 40 journalists and academics — many of whom are JList members.

But beyond these specific examples, it’s hard to trace JList’s influence in the media, because so few JListers are willing to talk on the record about it.

POLITICO contacted nearly three dozen current JList members for this story. The majority either declined to comment or didn’t respond to interview requests — and then returned to JList to post items on why they wouldn’t be talking to POLITICO about what goes on there.In an e-mail, Klein said he understands that the JList’s off-the-record rule “makes it seems secretive.” But he insisted that JList discussions have to be off the record in order to “ensure that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions.”

One byproduct of that secrecy: For all its high-profile membership — which includes Nobel Prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman; staffers from Newsweek, POLITICO, Huffington Post, The New Republic, The Nation and The New Yorker; policy wonks, academics and bloggers such as Klein and Matthew Yglesias — JList itself has received almost no attention from the media.

A LexisNexis search for JournoList reveals exactly nothing. Slate’s Mickey Kaus, a nonmember, may be the only professional writer to have referred to it “in print” more than once — albeit dismissively, as the “Klein Klub.”

While members may talk freely about JList at, say, a Columbia Heights house party, there’s a “Fight Club”-style code of silence when it comes to discussing it for publication.

But a handful of JList members agreed to talk for this story — if only to push back against the perception that the group is some sort of secret, left-wing cabal.

Several members volunteered that JList is unlike listservs such as Townhouse, the private, activist-oriented group formed by liberal blogger Matt Stoller.

“No one’s pushing an agenda,” said Toobin.

Toobin joined JList about a year ago, and he said that he had to get a new e-mail address just for JList in order to keep up with the sheer volume of commentary that appears there every day. The frequent disputes among members, he said, are “what’s most entertaining on the list.”

John Judis, a senior editor at The New Republic, described JList in an e-mail as “a virtual coffeehouse” where participants get a chance to talk and argue.

“There is probably general agreement on the stupidity of today’s GOP,” he said. “But beyond that, I would say there is wide disagreement on trade, Israel, how exactly we got into this recession/depression and how to get out of it, the brilliance of various punk bands that I have never heard of, and on whether, at any given moment, the Obama administration is doing the right thing.”

But aren’t there enough forums for arguing about domestic and foreign policy — or even for partaking in the more idiosyncratic JList debates about the merits of Bruce Springsteen and whether The New Republic is liberal enough? And do those debates really have to happen behind a veil of secrecy?

“It’s sort of a chance to float ideas and kind of toss them around, back and forth, and determine if they have any value,” said New Republic associate editor Eve Fairbanks, “and get people’s input on them before you put them on a blog.”

Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts.

Yglesias, who writes an eponymous blog hosted by the Center for American Progress, noted that “the combined membership has tentacles of knowledge that reach everywhere,” adding that “you can toss out a question about Japan or whatever and get some different points of view.”

Alterman said it’s important that there are “people with genuine expertise” on the list.

“For me, it’s enormously useful because I don’t like to spend my time reading blogs and reading up-to-the-minute political minutia,” he said. “This list allows me to make sure I’m not missing anything important.”

POLITICO’s Mike Allen, Ben Smith and Lisa Lerer are on the list. “The roster includes some of the savviest authorities on everything from behavioral economics to Ben’s Chili Bowl,” Allen said. “It’s a window into a world of passionate experts — an hourly graduate education.”

Said another JLister: “I don’t know any other place where working journalists, policy wonks and academics who write about current politics and political history routinely communicate with one another.”

But what if all the private exchanges got leaked?

That’s been the subject of some JList conversation, too, as members discuss the Weekly Standard’s publication of a 2006 e-mail posted to the private China Security Listserv by diplomat Charles Freeman, who last week withdrew his name from consideration for a top intelligence job.

Michael Goldfarb, a former McCain staffer and conservative blogger who published the e-mail, was not part of the China list and therefore hadn’t agreed to any off-the-record rules.

Asked about the existence of conservative listservs, Goldfarb said they’re much less prevalent.

“There is nothing comparable on the right. E-mail conversations among bloggers, journalists and experts on our side tend to be ad hoc,” Goldfarb said. “The JournoList thing always struck me as a little creepy.”

Kaus, too, has seemed put off by the whole idea, once talking on BloggingHeads about how the list “seems contrary to the spirit of the Web.”

“You don’t want to create a whole separate, like, private blog that only the elite bloggers can go into, and then what you present to the public is sort of the propaganda you’ve decided to go public with,” Kaus argued.

But Time’s Joe Klein, who acknowledged being on JList and several other listservs, said in an e-mail that “they’re valuable in the way that candid conversations with colleagues and experts always are.” Defending the off-the-record rule, Klein said that “candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private.”

And then Klein — speaking like the JLister he is — said there wasn’t “anything more that I can or want to say about the subject.”

Nearly every name in this article is jewish, even the outsiders, Kaus and Goldfarb. A preponderance of the signers of the aforementioned open letter to ABC are jewish as well.

Are the JournoList “liberals” embarassed with the lack of diversity in their cabal? Are they concerned how their ethnic networking appears to “liberal” anti-racists?

Not likely. Diversity is a weapon of ethnic warfare intended for use solely against Whites. Likewise anti-racism. If these jewish journalists were White, “liberals” would viciously attack their cabal as a form of racist “white privilege“. Jews however are treated to a different standard.

Keep in mind now, the existence of this cabal in no way substantiates crazy conspiracy theories and old canards about jewish media influence. It is nothing special. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of cabals just like this one, all full of influential jews who disagree widely about what’s best for jews, how to defend israel, whether Bernie Madoff deserves life in prison or death, who to pin the financial meltdown on, which holocaust movie deserves the Oscar, etc.

15 thoughts on “Cabal Theories”

  1. Tan, before I got to your comments, I was thinking; what does the J in Jlist stand for?!

  2. Joachim Martillo has a detailed exposition encompassing these sorts of influence structures and much more:

    Judonia Rising: The Israel Lobby and American Society.

    He seems highly intelligent and very well educated, and includes detailed references justifying his assertions. He also knows Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish, among others, and claims to analyze old source material of the Eastern European Ashkenazis to justify his arguments.

    His latest blog post, Robert Lindsay: The Jews Under Stalin seems a good introduction to his blog coverage of these issues with many links to other of his related posts.

  3. Reading Martillo and Lindsay, back to back, leaves me queasy. I do believe I’m reaching my limit in trying to understand the thoughts and passions of jews. Their capacity for self-absorption and self-righteousness is, as far as I can tell, bottomless.

  4. He’s just crazy.

    Motivation doesn’t matter, what matters is what he posts. He could be insane, stupid, or a provocateur. Regardless, his posts still suck. Give him the boot.

  5. “Weston,” u pathetic creature, if u want to disparage my “posts” u need to try to make a case, poor creature.

    My case is everything you’ve written here and elsewhere.

  6. Apollonian – I was attempting to be ironic, I know it was too clumsy, I was tired.

    Dan (cheers pal) clearly has more finesse than you.

    You really may be nothing more (or less) than a trouble maker.

    Lurker (anon because blogger seems to have forgotten who I am)

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this guy is trying to pull an Eric Hufschmid on us. Honest bloggings and death to the Apollonian.

  8. In Is Ann Althouse anti-semitic? James Edwards points out Ezra Klein playing the anti-semitism card, triggered by a few comments left on a short blog post she made about his JList.

    It’s the usual PC kabuki, with both the card playing and the card defending based on the same “jews are sacrosanct” premise, except for the one guy who triggered the whole thing by refusing to accept this premise and making pretty much the same point I did. Except he comes at it from a strictly literal anti-racist angle:

    jdeeripper said…

    hdhouse said…but hey, as the least among your ilk “jdeeriper” noted above, they have liberal Jews among them so it must be ….

    Jews AMONG “them”? Jewish males are “them”. Its an overwhelmingly Jewish male liberal cult in a nation that is no more than 1% Jewish and male.

    It is absurdly unrepresentative of the racial, ethnic, religious and gender diversity in America. But as I said the Jewish liberals rarely apply the call for diversity to themselves.

    It’s a racist, Judeocentric, sexist/male chauvinist group of narcissistic liberal policy nerds.

    This is immediately answered like so:

    Seven Machos said…

    Why does it matter that any of these people are Jewish?

    JD, you really aren’t helping the cause of criticizing these people when you keep harping on their Jewishness. That is one of the very least important aspects of any of this.

    In fact, the fact that people who happen to share a common ethnic characteristic are really powerful is quite the opposite of a negative thing concerning that characteristic.

    Focus, dude. Both raging and subtle anti-Semitism will get you nowhere.

    Why does it matter? Why did it matter to the jews who criticized the WASP-dominated institutions throughout the 20th century? In that case at least the WASPs were more closely representative of the population (both racially and ideologically) and were not operating covertly. WASPs being “really powerful” was considered a negative, and it was used as an excuse to lambast them mercilessly. It still is. In contrast the jewish elite who has largely displaced the WASP elite are considered sacrosanct. You can say they’re “really powerful” as long as you genuflect, offering them thanks and praise. Saying it isn’t a good thing is considered “anti-semitism” – a form of “hate” that is considered so wrong it can be illegal, depending upon where and how you say it.

    Too bad WASPs didn’t invent “anti-WASPism”. If only they’d developed such a magic defense that turns every criticism against the critic they might still be running the West.

    jdeeripper said…

    Seven Machos said…Why does it matter that any of these people are Jewish?

    Because racism matters. Whether it’s Judeoracism or any other kind. Sexism also matters.

    White Jewish males have an unacceptably prominent role in the American media in comparison to all the other Americans who are not White or Jewish or male.

    Liberals need to be inclusive, diverse and multicultural no less than the Conservatives they mock and hate.

    The Jlist is not only a kind of liberal cabal but a White male Jewish one as well.

    So despite their liberal/progressive self image they are nonetheless a demographically narrow, Judeoocentric and male chauvinist group.

    I think it’s important not to be in denial about that truth.

    Of course I expect the typical evasiveness and defensiveness that always happen when anyone dares to notice these things.

    Jdeeripper never did back down. His self-righteous opponents offered nothing but scorn, ridicule, fear, and loathing:

    hdhouse said…

    “As long as the Jews remain anonymous, they are secure. The moment they lose their anonymity, the racial problem became acute and required a suitable solution. We certainly do not hold the Jews solely to blame for the German spiritual and economic catastrophe. We all know the other causes that led to the decline of our people. However, we have the courage to recognize their role in the process, and to name them by name. It was difficult for a time to persuade the people of this, for public opinion was entirely in Jewish hands.”

    “One has to stay that, even if it stirs up a hornet nest. We know these so-called neutral intellectuals. They do not deserve the name. They do not understand what is happening. They look backwards instead of forwards. They have no idea of what was, and still less of what is coming. They would like to pick things up after the war where they left them when it started. Their sterile fantasies are not sufficient to build the future. They think the possible to be impossible, not to mention that which seems impossible”

    These are quotes from what appears to be a hero to some who have posted recently. You can decry the “left wing” all you want but you who do sound like Gobbels.

    You need to shower because some of you who have posted some doggeral on this board very much in tune with the propaganda minister should be so ashamed, so repentent, hateful that you truly need to rot in hell.

    A vision comes to mind of old Obi Wan Kenobistein waving his hand while saying, “You feel shame, shame, shame!”

    In answer to his quote, a quote from an old Anglo Saxon comes to mind:

    The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favorable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it.

    – John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

  9. Why does it matter that any of these people are Jewish?

    It matters because liberal media pundits, like the members of JList, continue to call attention to and express disapproval of “white” disproportions. For example, Media Matters – Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News:

    to document the degree to which different programs and networks were presenting to their viewers a picture that resembled the American public. The results of the study, titled Locked Out: the Lack of Gender and Ethnic Diversity on Cable News, were not encouraging: The guests on all three networks’ programs were overwhelmingly white and male.

    . . .

    In total, 67 percent of the guests on these cable programs were men, while 84 percent were white.

    What percentage of these “whites” are jewish? If the true goal is to get media to “present to their viewers a picture that resembles the American public”, then to do so they must drastically reduce the jewish participation, because it obviously far exceeds their proportion of the American public. MM does not provide a full list of names, but of the 12 shows mentioned 4 have jewish hosts – Larry King, Alan Colmes, David Gregory, and Dan Abrams. That’s 33% for an ethnicity that comprises under 3% of the American public. Because MM does not distinguish jews or point out their overrepresentation MM is in effect bashing non-jewish Whites who are underrepresented relative to jews, and once this fact is accounted for might even be underrepresented compared to other ethnicities as well.

  10. Tanstaafl: That’s 33% for an ethnicity that comprises under 3% of the American public.

    Only 2.5% of the population? Ha, ha, ha. And a ho, ho, ho.

    ZOG propaganda, boyo. They’re at least 8-10% in America.

  11. In JournoList: Unclear on the Concept Sailer links a JList thread, JournoList Revealed! Inside the Secret Liberal Media Email Cabal, leaked by Mickey Kaus. It concerns the following “crazy-ass racism” of neocon jew Marty Peretz:

    Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Mexican-American relations, not because the U.S. had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy country has as its abutter a Latin society with all of its characteristic deficiencies: congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Catholic dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict. Then, there is the Mexican diaspora in America, hard-working and patriotic but mired in its untold numbers of illegals, about whom no one can talk with candor.

    Sailer also links commentary by Your Lying Eyes, who in Are You a Crazy-Ass Racist? writes:

    They don’t advance agendas – agendas advance them. And so the accuracy of Peretz’s comments is completely irrelevant – like craters on the moon, his musings suggest a flaw in the presumed perfection of the heavens – that there should be any doubts regarding the unalloyed equality of humanity; thus anyone raising these flaws must be dispatched to the rack lest such reckless talk be thought acceptable. The theology must be defended against all doubters!


    John Derbyshire noted:

    Whether Mexicans have “tropical work habits” (like Singapore?) or not, I couldn’t say, but they sure don’t seem to be welcome on JournoList.

    I left a comment at YLE, unsubtly alluding to the true core of the philo-semitic anti-White “anti-racist” theology:

    Those insufferable Catholic dogmatists, with their usual unacknowledged compromises, don’t seem welcome either. But there is another religious/ethnic group that’s tremendously overrepresented. If there’s one thing that vexes anti-White anti-racists even more than “racism”, it’s anyone uncouth enough to notice the disproportion of ethnocentric “racists” amongst them.

    It may or may not stand. Consider this “reckless talk” a probe to determine whether identifying the core of “anti-racist” theology is thought acceptable in the YLE corner of the “race-realist” camp.

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