JournoList Revealed! Inside the Secret Liberal Media Email Cabal

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March 26 2009 5:12 PM

JournoList Revealed! Inside the Secret Liberal Media Email Cabal

Thursday, March 26, 2009    

Michael Calderone's article on the large, secretive liberal media email group JournoList sparked a lot of debate-- some of it in this space --on whether this group is a healthy development for coverage of politics. The debate was necessarily speculative because actual JournoList discussions remained secret. But with more than 300 members of this club, virtually all of them with easy access to the media, did you really think a JournoList thread wouldn't leak? People are rightly interested in learning what goes on behind the scenes at powerful institutions--or wannabe powerful institutions--whose power derives precisely from their decision to exclude the public.
 
Kausfiles has obtained a copy of one JournoList discussion, focusing on  New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz (for whom I once worked.) This is not a parody ! It's the real thing. I don't know whether or not it is representative. I've edited it only to remove potentially defamatory passages--those cuts are marked--and left out various boilerplate links and commands embedded in the thread, such as "Print" and "Report this message." ... I won't add my own commentary, at least for now. Find your own lede!   ... Reminder to JournoList organizer E. Klein, who likes to take it private :  All communications are on the record. ...
 
*************************************
 
From: Chris Hayes <christopherlha...@gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 10:43:51 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 1:43 pm Subject: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Yglesias points out on his Twitter feed that Peretz "has ethnic
dislikes beyond arabs"
I know this is a tiresome, but this kind of explicit racism is really,
really, really fucked. And it's useful to keep pointing that out
money quote:

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"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."

From: Matt Duss <mattd ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:13:54 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:13 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  I anxiously await the explanation of how Peretz's obvious racism is
really just an argument about "culture."
On Mar 24, 2:00 pm, Matthew Yglesias <mygles ... @gmail.com> wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -

From: Clay <ris ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:14:57 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:14 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Funny -- under Peter B. (no idea whether this extends to Frank, though
I imagine so) using the term "illegals" was verboten, for obvious
reasons. I guess Marty didn't get the memo. Or, well, you know.
Also, and this is slightly orthogonal to the topic, but Marty's post
demonstrates the accidental danger in praising Latin American
immigrants as driven and hard-working. Logically it makes sense, but
it's also easy for people to draw the false conclusion that anyone who
doesn't immigrate is therefore lazy and stupid.
On Mar 24, 2:00 pm, Matthew Yglesias <mygles
... @gmail.com> wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -


From: "newdon ... @gmail.com" <newdon ... @gmail.com>

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:18:30 -0700 (PDT)
Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:18 pm
Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist
To be fair, Cottle was writing about self-styled Pundit Types, not
making comparative judgments of worth. I actually don't think
Olbermann much ever achieves the heights of hysteria routinely
maintained by the well-named Savage, but the pretence by some of us
admirers of Keith that he's a paragon of reasoned discourse is a bit
much, too.

Ed Kilgore
www.thedemocraticstrategist.org

From: Jonathan Chait <jch ... @tnr.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:27:59 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:27 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Perhaps, if his work is going to be brought up here  2 or 3 times a
week, he should be invited on the list. Or is the point of this to
create a forum where certain people can be criticized (or, more
precisely, called names) without the criticizer having to fear a
response? I do recall Eric Alterman going after Eve Fairbanks, and
then -- when Eve mounted a defense -- confessing that he didn't know
she was on the list, and only criticized her because he thought he was
speaking behind her back.
Is Michelle Cottle on this list? She's criticized less frequently
here, and I don't think this sort of thing interests her, but her
presence would definitely improve the list. There seems to be a junior
high quality to this list with regard to TNR, where if you're not on
it you get sniped at constantly, but if you are on it you're mostly
safe.
On Mar 24, 2:18 pm, "newdon
... @gmail.com" <newdon ... @gmail.com> wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -
>

From: Jesse Singal <jesse.sin ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:41:15 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:41 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  Everyone I know who likes Olbermann also acknowledge that he is egomaniacal
and has a penchant for hysterical drama. The main difference, which is
glaringly left out by anyone who conflates him with the Savages and
O'Reillys of the world, is that Olbermann doesn't tend to, you know, lie
about stuff regularly.
On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 2:18 PM, newdon ... @gmail.com <newdon ... @gmail.com>wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -
 
From: Michael Cohen <speechbo ... @yahoo.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:51:25 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:51 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Personally, I find Olbermann insufferable, but I'm not sure I buy the comparison. Michael Savage is a complete nut job and if he wasn't on radio he would probably be standing on a street corner with a bullhorn bitching about socialism.
--- On Tue, 3/24/09, Jesse Singal <jesse.sin
... @gmail.com> wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -

From: Isaac Chotiner <ichoti ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:55:59 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:55 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   A friend of mine who works for Pelosi and has been active in California
politics for a long time claims that Savage's bizarre, racist, homophobic
schtick is a complete act. He knows Savage a bit--or at least did when
Savage started his show. This obviously does not excuse it in any way, but
for Savage listeners it is interesting to think about.
On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 2:51 PM, Michael Cohen <speechbo
... @yahoo.com>wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -
 
From: Eric Alterman <era00 ... @aol.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:56:38 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:56 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Quit lying about my record, Jonathan Chait.
Or at least check the archives before descinding into Kirchickism.
What I posted about Eve was an article I PUBLISHED. It could hardly
have been going behind her back to PUBLISH an article, could it? What
I explained when you last leveled this false accusation ... [SNIP] ...  was the fact that had I known Eve was on the list, I
would not have posted it here, even though it was relevant to the
discussion at hand, because a) I had no wish to hurt the feelings of
someone I had never met, and b) this is no less important, I respect
the value of civility on this list. 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....
n Mar 24, 2:51 pm, Michael Cohen <speechbo
... @yahoo.com> wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -

From: Chris Hayes <christopherlha ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:57:00 -0700 (PDT) Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   There's a lot of people on this list routinely criticized who are not
on it, Jon. That said, I'm more than happy to call Marty Peretz a
racist to his (electronic) face.
-c
On Mar 24, 6:51 pm, Michael Cohen <speechbo
... @yahoo.com> wrote:  

From: Katha Pollitt <katha.poll ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:56:57 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:56 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  Michael Savage told a gay caller he should get AIDS and die. He is a  
bigoted crazy person. (or is it all an act?)  Olbermann is funny  
sometimes but insufferable. He was really unfair during the primaries  
-- like calling Katie Couric the worst person in the world when she  
made some quite mild remark I think about sexism in the media (?).
On Mar 24, 2009, at 2:51 PM, Michael Cohen wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -  
 
From: Alyssa Rosenberg <alyssa.rosenb ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 15:06:27 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:06 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  I'm not about to speak to the question of who should or shouldn't be on this
list.  But I agree with Jon that the tendency to lapse into name-calling, or
making broad assumptions about people who aren't on this list, seems at
minimum like it's not the best use of our time, and at worst, unworthy of
this very smart, very funny community.  It bothered me when folks where
making totally unsubstantiated comments about [REDACTED!--mk]'s sex life, and
it bothers me when folks make [REDACTED] jokes.  To be clear, I'm
totally open to legitimate commentary on the substance of anyone's argument,
and people should get smacked down if they lie, if they get things wrong,
etc.  I think analyzing Peretz's writing about Mexicans, or Palestinians, or
whoever, is totally fair game.  But saying that [REDACTED] clearly must not have a
girlfriend, or speculating about who [REDACTED] gets turned down by sexually are
not arguments.  We wouldn't take similar statements remotely seriously if
they were made by conservatives about anyone on this list.
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -


From: Clay <ris ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:10:49 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:10 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  Heh. That reminds me of a very similar meme going around in the
mid-1990s about Rush Limbaugh, that he was actually a pretty liberal
guy who had created this bloviating ass to make conservatives look
bad. The general conclusion was that, a) what does it matter, since he
never reveals himself, and b) he's clearly got an audience, and so
he's doing a lot of bad even if he is really, deep down, a "good" guy.
The same would apply to Savage, methinks. If it's an act, I'd say that
makes him all the worse of a human being.
On Mar 24, 2:56 pm, Katha Pollitt <katha.poll
... @gmail.com> wrote:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -  

From: Rick Perlstein <Perlst ... @aol.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:18:09 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:18 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   My judgment would be that, by the evidence on the record, Michael
Savage is far too deranged and possesses far too little self-control
to do anything as an "act."

To wit-- ...[REDACTED]
 
From: Jesse Singal <jesse.sin ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 15:23:59 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:23 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  Then there's Savage's work as a fiction writer, mentioned in this great *
Salon*<
http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2003/03/05/savage/print.html >piece
that runs down his strange biography:
- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -
> This maniacal tendency, and the roiling emotions that fueled it, were laid
> bare in "Vital Signs," Michael Weiner's first and only book of fiction,
> published in 1983. A collection of confessional, stream-of-consciousness
> stories, it follows the exploits of Samuel Trueblood, who just happens to be
> a 40-ish New York Jew, an herbalist and writer with a tumultuous personal
> life, a substantial assortment of inner demons and a bit of a Napoleon
> complex. "I am physically not tall, but my eyes burn with fire," he states.
> "Two black fires of Hell." Trueblood narrates a series of misadventures,
> from procuring an illegal backroom abortion for his fianc?e to beating the
> stuffing out of an abusive cop.
> Trueblood describes his life as one long search for inner peace. He blames
> much of his discontent on his "childhood beneath tyranny," during which he
> was cowed by his bullying father. Trueblood describes how his father mocked
> him with "brutal jokes and chides, 'gentle' kidding: 'You're not a fag, are
> you Sam?' the little man would say each time the boy dared wear a colorful
> shirt or flashy trousers." Unable to shake his dead father's disapproving
> influence, the adult Samuel is tortured by feelings of weakness and
> inadequacy. "I am filled with fears," he admits, "nearly all the time
> feeling I am about to become totally insane."
> Even after moving to mellow Marin County, becoming a successful herbalist
> and starting a family, Trueblood remains plagued by his "underlying
> sadness." Not even trusty passionfruit tea can bring him off this bummer. In
> one passage, he almost loses it in front of his wife and two young children:
> "Inner voice screaming at me for years, first rational, then crazy, telling
> me to do mad things. Every form of relief tried, painting, psychotherapy,
> running, diet, vitamins, etc., etc. Almost uncontrollable now. Impulses to
> stab children, strangers, wife, self with scissors."

> Eventually, Trueblood seeks solace in chasing skirts. (Though he admits to
> being drawn to "masculine beauty," he confides that "I choose to override my
> desires for men when they swell in me, waiting out the passions like a
> storm, below decks.") While his wife stays home with the kids, he beds a
> young "cockswell" with a "dykish haircut" and skin "[s]ofter than that
> Northern Indian prostitute in Fiji whose covering was as soft as that of my
> own penis." And so it goes for another 50 pages.

When it comes to someone has insanely homophobic as Savage, I have no
problem saying that the dude's [REDACTED], and that this may explain some
of his more execrable paroxysms about homosexuality.

- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -  

From: Jonathan Chait <jch ... @tnr.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:25:29 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:25 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   I have no idea how to retrieve the echange in question, but if
somebody knows how, please do.
I'll concede the point that you published the critique of Eve on your
blog. However, trying not to be catty here, not everybody here may
read your blog on a daily basis. The exchange was about your decision
to repost the critique of Eve here on the list. You did it, she
replied, and then you said you wouldn't have done it if you had known
she was on the list. You viewed this as etiquette, I viewed it as
something different.
 
... [SNIP] ...


From: Brad DeLong <brad.del ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:35:09 -0700 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:35 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 11:27 AM, Jonathan Chait <jch ... @tnr.com> wrote:
> There seems to be a junior
> high quality to this list with regard to TNR, where if you're not on
> it you get sniped at constantly, but if you are on it you're mostly
> safe.

I can fix that!!  


From: Jonathan Chait <jch ... @tnr.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:39:45 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:39 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Yes, your posts have more of a prison quality to them. I find it
preferable, though still well short of ideal.
On Mar 24, 3:35 pm, Brad DeLong <brad.del
... @gmail.com> wrote: 

From: Alex Rossmiller <alexrossmil ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 15:41:40 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:41 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  *sigh*
As the resident archive-checker, I link this only in the interest of
stopping the speculative element of the debate -- you should be able to see
the original thread
here< http://groups.google.com/group/journolist/browse_thread/thread/d9acdf0bacb38037/fed32501975cf602?lnk=gst&q=alterman+eve#fed32501975cf602 >
.
But really, the most notable quote from that conversation was from Rich
Byrne: "Do we need a separate TNR-list? Just asking."  (Though second is
probably this, from Spencer: "Jon Chait is to TNR as Ari Fleischer is to
George Bush.")
Civility in action!
 
From: Eric Alterman <era00 ... @aol.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:42:56 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:42 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist   Wrong again, Mr. Chait, on both points:
I did not publish on my blog but on the front page of the Center for
American Progress website where I write a weekly column. Not everybody
reads that either, but then again but more people read it than read
The New Republic, if I am not mistaken.  (See  "The State of the News
Media: Magazines: Opinion Titles.")
Second,  ... [SNIP] ....
 
From: Jeet <jeeth
... @yahoo.ca> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:46:48 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 3:46 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist Is there a tendency on this list to lash out against TNR too much?
Maybe.
But the core of the matter is: TNR is a really first rate liberal
magazine, especially in the last decade or so, so it's disappointing
that also have to run crude ethnocentric articles by Peretz.
When The American Spectator or National Review run frothing-at-the-
mouth xenophobic articles, no one here notices because we don't expect
any better from them. But TNR is one of the two or three most
important liberal magazines in American history, so it matters what
they publish.
On Mar 24, 1:41 pm, Alex Rossmiller <alexrossmil
... @gmail.com> wrote: 
 

From: Ezra Klein <ezra.kl ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 16:08:11 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 4:08 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist Jon -- you and Eric should take this off-list.

I'd love to have Michelle Cottle on the list. My worry with Marty is that he
wouldn't respect the off-the-record nature of the discourse when it ceased
to suit him.

From: Brad DeLong <brad.del ... @gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 13:08:40 -0700 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 4:08 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  

> Is there a tendency on this list to lash out against TNR too much?
> Maybe.

As someone who was working hard for the Clinton Administration to improve
American health care when Betsy McCaughey came over the transome from a
magazine whose editor "knew its flaws" but wanted to "provoke," I have an
answer to Jeet's question.
My answer is: "No."
Now if there were a rotating New Republic staffer outside on the street 24/7
saying: "Woe to an iniquitous generation. We published Betsy McCaughey! For
our sins the One Who Is has turned Her face from us forever!!" I might think
that they had learned their lesson.
Or if Chait and all other TNR staffers were to adopt that as their .sig
file...
But in this fallen world? In which... ahem... Marc Ambinder holds up Andrew
Sullivan as a sterling example of intellectual integrity?

Nope.

Brad DeLong


From: Eric Alterman <era00 ... @aol.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 13:13:39 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 4:13 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist  For the record boss man, I'm done. I merely responded to a series of
false accusations made about me by Mr. Chait. You'll note that I
manfully (and womanfully) resisted the urge to join in the Marty
bashing until lied about above...

*************************************

[ And so it ends. ... Or does it? ... Stay tuned!--mk ] 3:21 P.M.

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