Ezra Klein’s Meteoric Rise

How he went from Juicebox Mafia member to the most important young journalist in DC.

ezra-klein-wapo

TNR has a longish profile titled “Ezra Klein: The Wise Boy, A tale of striving and success in modern-day Washington.”

I’ve followed Ezra’s career since was he was a kid at UCLA blogging at Pandagon, having linked to him at least as early as nine years ago, through his migration to the LA Weekly and his creation of a mini-empire at the Washington Post. He’s gone from one of many voices of the Juicebox Mafia to easily the most important young journalist in DC.

His Wonkblog, which started out as a solo venture and has since swollen to include a staff of five, has arguably become the Post‘s most successful project, bringing in over four million page views every month. “It’s ‘fuck you traffic,'” one of Klein’s Post colleagues told me. “He’s always had enough traffic to end any argument with the senior editors.” On top of this, Klein writes a regular column for the print edition of the Post, as well as long features for The New Yorker. He is a columnist for Bloomberg View. He has a book deal. He frequently subs in for Rachel Maddow, on MSNBC, where he is also on contract as a contributor, and, recently, there were rumors that Klein was on track to get his own show on the channel.

That he’s this successful at 28 naturally annoys the hell out of his competition. How’s he done it? Talent and hard work, certainly. But those things are in long supply in journalism.

And he was doing good work, particularly on health care, making sense of a controversial and highly politicized topic well before the issue became national news. In 2009, the Post took notice and, looking to bring in some new media talent, hired Klein. Once there, it didn’t take him long to figure out how to adapt to the customs of elite Washington: One must be nice and above it all. Klein now says that he will not write a negative book review. “Because if you’ve gone through the trouble to write a book? And I just don’t think it’s that good?” Klein told me, breaking into his occasional habit of lilting at the end of each clause. “I’m not going to shit on your work. I just won’t review it. This is a rule James Fallows has that I’ve adopted. Whom I really respect, by the way.”

[…]

Klein explains the nice policy this way: Unkind writing is unthoughtful writing. “I used to be meaner,” he says, because “you don’t think of people as people when you don’t think they’re reading you.” These days, he says the scale of his audience and his platform have given him the luxury not to write “like that” anymore.

That’s been my approach to the enterprise as well. But I was considerably older when I started blogging a decade ago than Klein is now.

“Ezra is an incredible operator,” says one prominent Washington editor. “He is always looking upward at things. You only have to watch him work a party. He moves right to the most important people there.” One friend saw Klein and his wife, New York Timesreporter Annie Lowrey, at an event for last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and noted that they spent most of the night talking to Gene Sperling, Obama’s economic adviser.

This is a rare talent; certainly, it’s not one that I possess. And, while not essential to success, it’s awfully helpful.

All of this has allowed Klein to slip easily into the Washington establishment, leaving the rest of his old blogging crew merely doing well, though they are still close. “I had no conception of, or ambition of, trying to run a multimedia empire,” says Matthew Yglesias, a good friend of Klein’s who was also the closest thing he had to a rival. “He obviously wanted much, much more.”

Until quite recently, I would have considered Yglesias as the primus inter pares of the Juiceboxers. He took the proverbial Boeing sooner and got hired at a lot of prestigious places, including The Atlantic and Slate, as a young man. But he’s still a liberal opinion blogger, whereas Klein has become a big time influencer. Guys like Paul Krugman feel like they have to read Wonkblog. More importantly, the White House feels like they need to talk to Klein to get their story out.

It’s not a happy accident.

When Klein talks about Wonkblog, he sounds like an earnest business school student selling his start-up. It is a service, a product, a brand. He thinks about market share. (“A couple years ago, policy was an underserved market.”) He thinks about his client base. (He speaks often of “my readers,” about what they want, what they need, and how he can best serve them.) He thinks about productivity. (He reads far less media and blogs these days, he says, because “I just don’t find the margin in that so great?”) He is wary of growing too big, too fast, because “I actually think overly quick expansion can kill the product.” When I asked Klein if he considers himself an entrepreneur, he demurred. “If I can say that without sounding self-congratulatory, because ‘entrepreneurial’ is sort of a word we’ve imbued with a kind of a pathos,” he hesitated. “But yes, I mean, fair enough.”

That he thinks assiduously about Brand Ezra is hardly surprising. What’s made him so successful so fast aren’t just his analytical chops—plenty of others have those, too—it is also the idea of Klein himself, the nice, rational, incongruously handsome nerd, the kid you want explaining your budget policy and marrying your daughter. His predecessors, the Brookses and Russerts he mocked on the way up, were talented but mostly anonymous youngsters at the beginning of their careers. They didn’t have Twitter to disseminate their work to a broader audience. They weren’t treated like celebrities with pictures of their faces plastered atop their blogs, as was once the case with Klein. Washington has always fetishized wunderkinds—Andrew Sullivan became editor of this magazine at age 28—but, mostly because the technology didn’t exist, it was impossible to package them as effectively as Klein has been packaged. He is a product, the kind an old organization like the Post can use to revive its flagging legacy.

Sullivan remains a superstar and was likewise able to be the biggest traffic producer for sites like Time, The Atlantic, and Newsweek/Daily Beast. And he’s decidedly a brand. But people read Sully for his opinions and eccentricities, not because he’s somehow got the pulse of Washington.

The rest of the feature is worth a read, containing some interesting insights into Klein’s view of the political system and the media culture that he’s both part of and strongly dislikes.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Media, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    “A couple years ago, policy was an underserved market.”

    And that right there explains why the Washington media sucks.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Of course. Doubleplusgood duckspeaker.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That he’s this successful at 28 naturally annoys the hell out of his competition.

    HEY YOU! Get off my lawn!

  4. Stan says:

    Starting in 2007 I started reading blogs to find out about health insurance. At that time even the best newspapers were unwilling to publish articles about health insurance policy, as opposed to health insurance politics, and bloggers, particularly Megan McArdle, were hopelessly ignorant about all aspects of the subject. But Klein actually knew what he was talking about. He told his readers about the three main health care models used in Europe, socialized medicine in the UK, single payer in France, and what would later become the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. One of his posts contained more substance than a months worth of New York Times articles. So all hail, Ezra Klein! You’re a success, and you deserve it.

  5. Woody says:

    Thank you for the article alert.

    I’ve read Klein nearly as long as Dr Joyner. I read Wonkblog far more often than I ever read any of his earlier incarnations. Much of this is due to his fine co-writers – Dylan Matthews, Sarah Kliff, et al. – just a terrific bullpen of data-driven political columnists there now (enjoy it – it certainly won’t last . . .)

    Two things stood out: first, that his high school GPA was a mediocre 2.2. This figure alone would be sufficient to block him out of so many fields these days, so unnecessarily short-sighted we’ve become.

    The second is that Klein has found a home within the traditional media at such a young age because his numbers are so strong. In the past, someone even with his talent would have been years away from a columnist’s byline. Reminds me a bit of Spielberg’s start in the director’s chair.

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Odd how one word is absent from the article…

  7. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    JI13, you’re the worst kind of troll: Boring.

  8. Rob in CT says:

    I knew before opening this post that there would be a Jenos post citing journolist. It was a foregone conclusion.

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rob in CT: I’m glad I didn’t disappoint you.

  10. Hal 10000 says:

    The thing I like about Klein is that he is imminently fair. I disagree with him on a lot of policies but he’s always very fair in laying out the case, acknowledges the other side’s points and tries to stick to the facts as best he can.

  11. MBunge says:

    “it didn’t take him long to figure out how to adapt to the customs of elite Washington: One must be nice and above it all.”

    And the more he abides by those customs, the less useful and worthwhile he will become.

    Mike

  12. Rob in CT says:

    @MBunge:

    Likely true.

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There’s basically no way for you to disappoint me. On rare occasions, you can pleasantly surprise me. There are benefits to low expectations.

  13. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Odd how one word is absent from the article… “

    Ponytail???

    Ohhhhhh, journolist. Man, you already got the scalp of Dave Wiegel with that one. You thought it would keep paying off, years after Journolist was shut down??

  14. MBunge says:

    @Rob in CT: ” Likely true.”

    Let me clarify to be fair to Klein. It’s one thing to adopt the customs of a place when you’re a young kid on the make and it’s not like being nice is a bad thing. When you go from young kid on the make to rising star to entrenched member of the establishment, however, you become responsible for enforcing and perpetuating those customs. And “being nice” and “above it all” in The Village has morphed into tolerating irrational and truly destructive ideas, attitudes and behaviors.

    If Ezra Klein is truly going to improve our media and political environment, at some point he’ll have to stop “nice” by Beltway standards. Hopefully, he’ll rise to that responsibility.

    Mike

  15. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Unoriginal and uninformed. Double the uselessness. Are you really that desperate for attention? Do you really not care how childish you appear by making those inane points?

  16. stonetools says:

    Ezra Klien is one of the finest journalists in DC today and his success is richly deserved. When it comes to health care policy, Wonk blog is the first place I go to if I have any question.
    I hope he does get a show on MSNBC. He would fit right in with Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes.
    Eventually, I see him ending up with ABC, NBC, or CBS. He is already good enough as a journalist and he is telegenic enough also.

  17. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It actually speaks volumes that a kid with such a limited education and quite literally zero real world experience can be in this position. Not begrudging him his success, of course. You have to give him a lot of credit. He’s made lemonade out of lemons and his bank account presumably reflects that. But it does illustrate some of the titanic problems we face and it’s Exhibit Z for why in such short order we’ve declined so precipitously.

    This is the demographic that blindly voted for Obama not once but twice. The same demographic in ’16 blindly will vote for whomever the Dems nominate that time around.

    Klein would need to start over from scratch working in the operational component of the private sector to know half of what people even his age who actually work in operations in the private sector long ago figured out about the topics upon which he writes and opines.

    Healthcare policy? Riiight. There are 25 year old benefits consultants who’ve already forgotten more about healthcare than Klein has figured out. Which is the whole point: In connection with the cocooned and inexperienced chattering classes the lowest common denominator principle takes a guy like Klein and elevates him. It’s surreal.

    Given the demographics of this blog, and its audience, the obvious and inevitable reaction to this comment will be to shout sour grapes. Au contraire. And again that’s the whole point.

    Let me put it this way: About 15 years ago I was working on a class action lawsuit against a major newspaper publisher. The case drew local and even regional media interest, most notably from the competitors of the subject newspaper company. One day I got a call for comment on the case from a person who was the “legal editor” of a major newspaper (you’ve all heard of it; it’s in the top-15 for paid circulation, nationwide). So of course when I set aside phone conference time to be interviewed by this “legal editor” I presumed he would have, you know, a modicum of legal knoweldge. Um, no. Only certain “buzzwords.” No actual experience. No actual understanding.

    Moral of the story: What passes for talent and knowledge in media circles does not pass for much of anything in real world circles. It’s not a coincidence the media is so overwhelmingly liberal. It’s not a coincidence that merely by not being off-the-reservation idiotic a neophyte like Klein automatically steps to the head of the class. It’s also not a coincidence we’re in such dire straits.

  18. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    I think you misunderstand what Klein does, as he’s the opposite of the editor who doesn’t know what’s going on. Without a link to back it up, the claim that Klein doesn’t know what he’s talking about on health care policy is just laughable.

  19. john personna says:

    Brad DeLong made a point of this part of the story:

    “we highly overstate the power of individuals and highly under-rate seeing Washington as a system…” Klein began as we wheeled through the city. He placed particular blame on the media for latching onto trivial matters and overlooking the sticky, more complicated [structural] issues

    and the piece itself, about Ezra the individual

    The overused word, staring with “i”, applies.

  20. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    What a troll. Your formula is simple enough. Find some hook, and connect that to your prejudices .. but the thing I can’t understand is how you have energy for all those paragraphs of swill.

    Surely one or two will do.

  21. Tillman says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    It actually speaks volumes that a kid with such a limited education and quite literally zero real world experience can be in this position.

    But isn’t college ruled by the liberal academe and hence worthless as a place to learn? Dude, at least have some consistency month to month.

  22. Montanareddog says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Most trolls seem to be like sad, anonymous versions Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck – spittle-flecked and dim. What’s really annoying about our imperial Russian friend is that he is the troll equivalent of David Brooks or Megan McArdle – turgid windbaggery in the cause of interminable attempts to justify anything right-wing and to disparage anything perceived to be “liberal”, wrapped in a sheath of pomposity.

    And like Tom Friedman – always the absurd, self-aggrandizing anecdote. Who cares that you once dealt with a young journalist who was not an expert in the field he/she covered – what has that got to do with Ezra Klein?

    And do you really think that Klein’s wonky journalism is the problem and not, say, the David Gregory types or Politico?

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I see I need to expand a bit on my earlier comment.

    It is almost criminally negligent to discuss Klein’s “meteoric rise” and acceptance by the establishment without mentioning his creating and maintaining “JournoList,” a highly-confidential mailing list (both in membership and content) where like-minded liberal-leaning academics, journalists, commentators, and government officials could privately discuss events, often collaborating and coordinating actions and statements to push their political agenda, suppress issues that challenged it, and how to counter right-wing critics. One of their earlier efforts was to suppress discussions of Obama’s longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, explicitly for the reason that it was harming Obama politically. They also planned to choose a high-profile conservative — Fred Barnes and Karl Rove were discussed as targets — and coordinate attacks of the conservative as a racist in hopes of discrediting and silencing them.

    JournoList was publicly exposed, and many of the secret discussions were leaked. Andrew Breitbart offered $100,000 for a complete archive of the discussions, but no one broke the silence.

    Klein, who created and oversaw JournoList, kept the records secret. And since then, he’s been very well regarded and treated by the Washington establishment, many of whom were part of that list, and many of whom are still unknown.

  24. An Interested Party says:

    Unoriginal and uninformed. Double the uselessness. Are you really that desperate for attention? Do you really not care how childish you appear by making those inane points?

    And just like clockwork, Tsar Nicholas comes along just to prove that Jenos isn’t the only one who deserves the above critique…meanwhile…

    Klein, who created and oversaw JournoList, kept the records secret. And since then, he’s been very well regarded and treated by the Washington establishment, many of whom were part of that list, and many of whom are still unknown.

    Ohhhhhh, the Evil Liberal Conspiracy continues to spread its nefarious tentacles throughout the land…also continuing is the Victimhood Tour with charter members commenting on this very thread…

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: What conspiracy? It was just a bunch of like-minded people discussing in secret how to shape the public discourse by pushing selected topics and suppressing others, coordinating their messaging and planning to silence their opponents, and working like hell to influence the elections and shape the future of the country. All of that confirmed by their own words.

    No wonder you’re sneering. You got nothing else.

  26. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Do we really need to see your lies again? We know you will not describe Journolist honestly.

  27. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Klein, who created and oversaw JournoList, kept the records secret

    He kept the records secret because most people there are personal friends and because most people usually post trivial and personal stuff on these lists(That´s my problem with Facebook: you get too much personal whining from people that you don´t know or that you don´t care). Megan McArdle is a personal friend of most of these people, for instance. Dave Weigel was at her marriage, for instance, imagine that other of his friends were also there.

    Besides that, Ezra had no control over what people posted there, and frankly, if you live in Washington DC your circle of friends are going to be lobbyists,

  28. steve says:

    I have worked in health care for nearly forever. I have read health care policy for 20 plus years. I occasionally dabble in writing it. Klein has done a better job of writing about it than just about anyone else. Not to say that he understand s it better, but he does write about it more clearly thna anyone else.

    Steve

  29. An Interested Party says:

    No wonder you’re sneering. You got nothing else.

    On the contrary, sneering is the perfect response to someone who deserves nothing but contempt…meanwhile, David M and Andre Kenji, among others to follow I’m sure, have ably presented a defense against your conspiracy charges…

  30. matt bernius says:

    I actually agree with @Jenos Idanian #13’s issue with the article (but not with his overall point). I think it’s unfortunate that this profile didn’t touch on the entire Journolist experience and how that altered Klein’s approach.

    Regardless of what one might think about the list itself (and to be clear, all the evidence I’ve seen is it resembled most gatherings of journalists that I’ve attended… only with less drinking), the “scandal” cost one of Klein’s co-workers and friends his job.

    Given the long form nature of the essay, it seems like a real omission. We’ll have to see if it comes up in the New York Magazine article…

  31. matt bernius says:

    Just so I can be clear — especially after I read Jenos’ later conspiracy twinged rantings — from everything I know about the Journolist, it was essentially a listserv for progressive journalists. It was private in the sense that it didn’t advertise it’s existence and the records were firewalled. I belong to a few similar listservs.

    The fact that Tucker Carlson knew about the list and wanted to become a member means it wasn’t exactly “secret.”

    As far as coordinating liberal journalists — sorry but anyone who things you can coordinate journalists has never spent any time around them. Yes there were firebrands there. Yes people put out different “big ideas” and the ‘pundits’ on the list made fiery suggestions — but here’s the thing, they would do the exact same type of thing when they meet in person at bars. And many of them, like Ackermann, more or less wrote the same stuff on their blogs.

    The entire thing is a tempest in a tea pot — but it was perfect for Breitbart and others because it fit the preexisting biases and general narratives that conservatives hold about the “liberal press” (see @Jenos)

    BWT, I have very little doubt that when conservative bloggers/talkers get together (or if they have mailing lists), they have very similar conversations.

  32. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    All of that confirmed by [snippets of] their own words [edited by partisans and released without the permission of people on the Journolist].

    Fixed that for you.

    And to begin with, as with other topics, I find it a little rich that someone who posts under a pseudonym — I’m assuming to protect your identity — is so concerned with exposing people on a “secret” mailing list.

    BTW: don’t bother responding to that, because I know it will be something about Tim Geitner’s taxes and Obama’s views on gay marriage…

    The fact is the only excerpts from the list were out of context posts that appeared at the Daily Caller — sorry if I take the excerpts that Carlson and Treacher posted with a grain of salt.

    Hey, haven’t you gone on, at some length, in other threads about how unethical it was for NBC to edit the Zimmerman tapes vs playing the entire transcript? Oh wait, don’t bother to respond on that one either — I know, Gietner’s Taxes and Obama & War Powers).

    Andrew Breitbart offered $100,000 for a complete archive of the discussions, but no one broke the silence.

    Hmmm… well, first, the last I checked, it’s pretty hard to export a Google Group archive. But more than that, why, pray tell, would you expect anyone on the list to — without permission — turn over private conversations without the authorization of the others involved to a man who clearly wanted to profit through the public destruction of people on that list.

    I mean, seriously, would you have done that in there place? It would be fundamentally unethical and rather immoral, not to mention disloyal.

    Don’t you think so?

  33. David M says:

    @matt bernius:

    I agree with you about Journolist and find it amusing to note that Jenos would not have been happy if Journolist had been described remotely accurately in the article. Even so, I’m not sure it needed bringing up given it’s essentially a giant pseudo-scandal manufactured by right wing hacks.

  34. matt bernius says:

    @David M:

    Even so, I’m not sure [the Journlist] needed bringing up given it’s essentially a giant pseudo-scandal manufactured by right wing hacks.

    Regardless of it’s origins — giant pseudo-scandal or not — the Journolist had enough real world effects (the most obvious being David Weigel’s resignation) that it was worth exploring. Failures — broadly defined — are critical to understanding an individual. And I have to wonder how much of Klein’s “no bad reviews” policy ties into lessons learned from that experience.

    Now, all that said, the interviewer might have broached the subject and Klein didn’t want to discuss it. But if that was the case, IMHO that avoidance should have been mentioned.

  35. Andre Kenji says:

    @matt bernius:

    Regardless of it’s origins — giant pseudo-scandal or not — the Journolist had enough real world effects (the most obvious being David Weigel’s resignation) that it was worth exploring.

    1-) There are tons of Ezra´s writing on the web, he was a prolific participant of Bloggingheads.tv(Where he was paired with people like Matthew Continentti, Byron York and James Joyner) and I don´t remember Ezra being mean or even angry with anyone. Maybe there is an occasion that I did not notice, but he was always a pretty nice kid.

    And I remember that a lot of people(Mickey Kaus, etc) wrote very mean things about him.

    2-) Weigel was fired because Conservatives wants Partisan Hacks, not Journalists, on the Washington Post. That´s why they love Fox, that has plenty of the first but very little of the latter.

    3-) The whole incident was ridiculous, by the way. Mailing lists are usually filled with pretty personal chit chat. Specially because the owner has no control over it.

  36. Andre Kenji says:

    @Andre Kenji: I forgot to finish this comment:

    … journalists and think-tankers, basically because that´s what you´ll find in most circles.

  37. Barry says:

    I have to disagree with James about “Talent and hard work, certainly. But those things are in long supply in journalism.”

    It’s clear that a talent for facts is not in long supply in journalism, once the bar of ‘opinions differ on shape of earth’ is cleared.

  38. Stan says:

    One of the things I like about Klein is his willingness to read scholarly articles on public policy and then present them to a general public in an easily understandable form. One example is his column

    http://tinyurl.com/bs22zak

    explaining why the US spends twice as much (per capita) as Canada and western Europe for medical care. The reason is that prices are twice as high in the US. I can’t recall reading this anywhere else except in Economix posts by Uwe Reinhardt, a co-author of the paper cited in Klein’s post.

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, in brief, when discussing Ezra Klein’s career, one shouldn’t mention JournoList because shut up.

    My description of the matter was totally incorrect and wrong and mean and shut up.

    And quoting the material that has gone public is unfair and totally doesn’t represent the other stuff that was far more representative and innocuous and shows it was totally harmless, just take our word for it and shut up.

    That about sum it up?

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: Oh, matty…

    You’re complaining that the people who reported on JournoList (as opposed to the reporters on JournoList) only published excerpts? Dude, that’s all they had. They didn’t have access to the full archives — and those who did have access, didn’t give them up. So they should have published nothing?

    The difference between JournoList and the Zimmerman NBC tapes is that NBC had the full tapes and edited them to convey a lie. TheDC specifically said they only had excerpts.

    As far as why the list should be published, a lot of the participants were claiming to act from pure motives, in the public interest, and were fine, decent people acting in good faith — while the excerpts showed that they had some very dishonorable motives and were conspiring collaborating behind the scenes to orchestrate their public actions to further their goals.

    Plus, nothing on the internet is guaranteed to forever remain secret. Anyone who thinks that it can happen is living in a fantasy world.

  41. Rick Almeida says:

    JournoList deliberately lead to Fast and the Furious, Solyndra, and Benghazi.

  42. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’ve used the out of context quotes to try and smear everyone on the list. You’ve pretended to be surprised that known liberals were liberal. You’re insinuating that normal conversations are somehow proof of a devious agenda, and yet you still don’t understand why no one takes you seriously.

    And it goes beyond this thread, as next time you post something, I’ll remember you pushed this obviously fake scandal and don’t really have very good judgement or character. It’s impossible for us to know whether you’re stupid or lying, but those are really the only two options here.

    **This is why the Journolist issue should be ignored, fake right wing scandals deserve no respect. Absolutely none.

  43. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re complaining that the people who reported on JournoList (as opposed to the reporters on JournoList) only published excerpts? Dude, that’s all they had.

    Bullshit.

    Based on all evidence they had limited transcripts — complete posts and responses. What they did was edit those into excerpts. All one has to do is look at one of the articles to see that they had multiple emails from a given tread. However all of them were edited when placed in the story. No transcript was ever made available.
    Source: http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/20/documents-show-media-plotting-to-kill-stories-about-rev-jeremiah-wright/

    If you’re going to try and lie, please make sure that the readily available facts don’t disprove your point.

    Right — So you would agree that if someone had access to the equivalent discussions among right wing journalists and pundits, those should be released as well for the public good?

    And again, I find it ironic that someone whose continues to publish under multiple pseudonyms at the same time holds the position that —

    “Plus, nothing on the internet is guaranteed to forever remain secret. Anyone who thinks that it can happen is living in a fantasy world. “

    I can only imagine the total shit-fit you would have if your personal email address and IP info was made public.

  44. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    BTW, Jenos in case you respond with the “how do we know the texts were edited” weaksauce, I call your attention to the following paragraph on the bottom of the first page of the Daily Caller article ( http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/20/documents-show-media-plotting-to-kill-stories-about-rev-jeremiah-wright/ ):

    The members began collaborating on their open letter. Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones rejected an early draft, saying, “I’d say too short. In my opinion, it doesn’t go far enough in highlighting the inanity of some of [Gibson’s] and [Stephanopoulos’s] questions. And it doesn’t point out their factual inaccuracies Our friends at Media Matters probably have tons of experience with this sort of thing, if we want their input.”

    Note my three points of emphasis. Editors used []’s to replace pronouns and other referents with content that provides more content. Further the presence of ellipsis “…” is a sign that content has been removed from the quote.

    So, its clear that these comments were edited down… just like the Zimmerman tape. So don’t claim that the Daily Caller only posted what short snippets they had or didn’t do any editing for content. And since they never released the originals, we have no way of knowing what else might have been in there.

  45. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    TheDC specifically said they only had excerpts.

    They did not. Tucker Carlson complained about the inanity of most of the messages.

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Andre Kenji: Carlson DID only have excerpts, and published excerpts of those. Carlson wanted the whole thing, but couldn’t get it all — if he had, he could have collected from Breitbart.

    @matt bernius: That’s from the plans to shut down discussion of the Jeremiah Wright issue. And that’s just good editing — if they’d left it as “Charlie and George,” or whatever nickname they used, it would have been unclear. Plus, the original author could have easily challenged TheDC if the quote was distorted — much like Zimmerman did to NBC.

    @matt bernius: If someone had such e-mails and discussions, they’d be front page news. Look at the Bush family e-mails that were hacked — they were published all around the world. Hell, even OTB linked to the stolen e-mails. Cliffy Clavin here was quite thrilled they were published.

    @David M: The members of the list who didn’t agree with the comments published had ample opportunity to distance themselves from them. If they chose to not avail themselves of that opportunity, then it’s fair to assume they support it — just like any Republican that doesn’t race to a microphone to denounce whatever isolated loon has just said something stupid obviously supports him or her. How many Republicans were tarred as agreeing with Akin for not distancing themselves from him (who?) quickly enough?

    I understand why you want to downplay JournoList so much. You have years and years invested in mocking conservatives who talked about some grand liberal media conspiracy, and here comes this wunderkind who goes ahead and does exactly what those right-wing nuts have been saying’s been happening. You’ve got so much invested in mocking the idea of such behind-the-scenes collaboration that you have to go into full denial and suppression mode.

    Kind of like how JournoList worked to suppress the Jeremiah Wright story, now that I think of it. Considering how well that worked in 2008, maybe you ought to study up on just how they pulled it off, and see if you can apply those lessons to JournoList itself.

  47. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The members of the list who didn’t agree with the comments published had ample opportunity to distance themselves from them. If they chose to not avail themselves of that opportunity, then it’s fair to assume they support it

    You know that’s not a remotely accurate or fair conclusion. Your insistence in continuing to push points that you know aren’t true is inexplicable.

  48. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Carlson DID only have excerpts, and published excerpts of those.

    No, he didn´t. Hê describes the entire material in detail.

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/22/letter-from-editor-in-chief-tucker-carlson-on-the-daily-callers-journolist-coverage/#ixzz2L2TKHGhL

    Gather 400 lefty reporters and academics on one listserv and it turns out you wind up with a strikingly high concentration of bitchiness. Shocking amounts, actually. So while it might be amusing to air threads theorizing about the personal and sexual shortcomings of various New Republic staffers, we’ve decided to pull back.

    Plus, a lot of the material on Journolist is actually pretty banal. In addition to being partisan hacks, a lot of these guys turn out to be pedestrian thinkers. Disappointing.

  49. David M says:

    At this point I don’t think Jenos is willing or capable of contributing anything useful to the discussion anymore, it’s sad the “conservative” commenters here can’t even be troubled to try and have an honest conversation. The level of epistimic closure on the right is truly staggering.

  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I realize that it escaped your notice because you don’t like things that intrude on your little bubble, but until I brought it up, no one — not the original author, not Mr. Joyner, not any commenter — had even mentioned young Mr. Klein’s grand adventure known as JournoList.

    Go ahead and make the case that a “serious” article on Mr. Klein’s career doesn’t need at least a passing mention of JournoList. I double-dog dare ya, you worthless jackhole.

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Andre Kenji: Do you actually read the links you publish? Or do you just hope no one else will? Carlson says, explicitly, that he doesn’t have the full archives.

    I’m gonna have to go with the dishonest option, #2, because here’s the FULL paragraph you excerpted:

    That assurance won’t stop the attacks, of course. So why don’t we publish whatever portions of the Journolist archive we have and end the debate? Because a lot of them have no obvious news value, for one thing. Gather 400 lefty reporters and academics on one listserv and it turns out you wind up with a strikingly high concentration of bitchiness. Shocking amounts, actually. So while it might be amusing to air threads theorizing about the personal and sexual shortcomings of various New Republic staffers, we’ve decided to pull back.

    (Emphasis added for the clue-impaired)

  52. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Carlson says, explicitly, that he doesn’t have the full archives.

    He does not say that: he leave that to speculation. And he also explicitly does not say that he has only the portions that were published.

  53. Liberty60 says:

    What makes Journolist so stupid as a conspiracy is that in order for it to have any purchase as scandal, one would have to ignore the fact that Washington is chock full of “secret” networks of friends, associates, lobbyists, intermarriage, college chums, frat buddies, and various hangers-on and fellow travelers, all of whom regularly conspire to decide which stories are worthy of attention and which policies are “serious”, as in, “Paul Ryan is a Serious Person”.

    Its like one of those conspiracy charts that connects the Bush family to the Saudi family to the Mafia and the Illuminati; its not imaginary, that rich and powerful people are connected in a vast network of relationships with others; its actually so ordinary and banal as to make amazement at that fact, evidence of colossal stupidity.

  54. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    But this gets to the entire BS aspect of what you are saying and the key part of the comparison to Zimmerman: The argument you’ve continually used with NBC is that it intentionally edited the tape to make Zimmerman look bad. And argument can be made that all the NBC producer did was to edit the tape to present the material with — to quote Carlson — the most “obvious news value” for the story that they are telling. Please find me the difference.

    But beyond that, perhaps the most stunning revelation about the Journolist — if one wishes to put on their Jenos hat and see nefarious conspiracies everywhere — is how utterly ineffectual liberal journalists are at organizing to control the news. After all, the Jeremiah Wright story wasn’t killed. Further, ever the Daily Caller article on the scandal demonstrated that, among the portion of the list that participated in that discussion, there wasn’t any consensus about what, if anything, should have been done in covering the Rev. Wright scandal.

    Again, the only scalp that was lost over the entire thing was David Wiegels. And that had more to do with his venting his frustration about the people he was covering than anything he had publicly written (or chosen not to write).

    But, for better or worse, the entire affair was a good example of the gathering of news becoming news. And given Klien’s role in the entire thing, it should have been a topic discussed in the original interview.

  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, apparently, JournoList is yet one more thing that should be flushed down the Memory Hole, and anyone who doesn’t pretend it never happened is a nut. And, probably, racist.

    What’s scary is that you folks are probably serious.

  56. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Shorter Jenos: “I’ve had my butt kicked in yet another argument by people who actually know facts, so now I’m going to pity myself for a while.”

  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: I was wondering you’d show up with your +2 Spork of Irrelevance. So maybe you can make an argument about how JournoList was rightfully omitted from the original article and Mr. Joyner’s commentary.

    I’ll expect it shortly after monkeys fly out of my ass. While everyone else argues about how bad TheDC was for exposing it and I’m an awful rotten jerk (and probably a racist) for bring up the conspiracy secret collaboration, hardly no one actually wants to talk about it.

    The First Rule of JournoList, it seems, is No One Talks About JournoList. Why am I not surprised so many here adhere to that?

  58. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “The First Rule of JournoList, it seems, is No One Talks About JournoList. Why am I not surprised so many here adhere to that? ”

    Because no one gives a damn besides right wing losers desperate to gin up some ludicrous conspiracy out of absolutely nothing.

    Glad I could clear that up for you.

  59. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Throw me a bone, chump — have you EVER contributed something of substance to a discussion?

    It just isn’t an OTB thread until you come in and sneer condescendingly. I think the last time I saw someone so proud of so little, they were using the big-girl potty.

    For much the same reason, come to think of it. Except in the child’s case, they alleviated their “I’m full of crap” situation in a mature fashion. You, not so much…

  60. David M says:

    @wr:

    Pity the poor fool and at least acknowledge the moon landing could have been faked.

  61. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I KNOW the moon landing was faked. I saw the documentary with O.J. Simpson that proved it.

  62. anjin-san says:

    Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I see I need to expand a bit on my earlier comment.

    It is almost criminally negligent to discuss Klein’s “meteoric rise” and acceptance by the establishment without mentioning his creating and maintaining “JournoList,” a highly-confidential mailing list (both in membership and content) where like-minded liberal-leaning academics, journalists, commentators, and government officials could privately discuss events, often collaborating and coordinating actions and statements to push their political agenda, suppress issues that challenged it, and how to counter right-wing critics. One of their earlier efforts was to suppress discussions of Obama’s longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, explicitly for the reason that it was harming Obama politically. They also planned to choose a high-profile conservative — Fred Barnes and Karl Rove were discussed as targets — and coordinate attacks of the conservative as a racist in hopes of discrediting and silencing them.

    Please, please, please, pay attention to me.

    FTFY

  63. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: What delightfully apropos symbolism. You strike out my words, just like you’d like to strike out any mention of JournoList and other incidents that expose the inherent oppressive side of liberalism. You have to oppress even mention of the oppression.

    Very nicely done. I couldn’t have illustrated that better myself.

  64. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Sorry I hurt your little feelings. Again, if you don’t want people treating you with contempt, stop acting contemptible. You can either be a troll or be taken seriously — you can’t have both.

    For God’s sake, you don’t see the Tsar whining here about how no one likes him. He takes pride in the stupidity of his posts. And so do you — except when you decide people are being mean to you.

    Make a choice. Act like a human being and get treated that way or act like a piece of crap and accept your reception.

  65. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Good lord, that was almost coherent and civilized of you. Did it hurt?

    As to what you think is a “point,” your respect is something would ever want or expect.

    And back to the point… an in-depth report of young Mr. Klein’s career that does not mention his foray into JournoList is essentially worthless. And a commentary that describes the article and continues the omission is similarly valued.

    Or, alternately, the kind of whitewashing and suppression of information that JournoList was trying to pull.

  66. gsalln says:

    @David M: Why can’t it be both? The pony tailed smug looking SOB seems to fit both criteria.

  67. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    You should learn a trick. Then you could aspire to be a one-trick pony…

  68. Pharoah Narim says:

    Perhaps I should read Klein’s writings. As an on-air talking head–I’m not impressed. His logic and conclusions are fairly predictable. In fact, MSNBC should probably scrap everyone but Maddow and Shultz (and him only because he brings a working class ‘tude to liberal issues) and get some folks who can creatively make the case for liberal issues. Maddow pursues angles you don’t expect and submits you with ’em. Watching the rest of them be “anti-Fox” can be as frustrating as watching real Fox in terms of how arguments are made.