Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More on JournoList

In the previous post ("Where Left-Leaning Pundits and Bloggers Compare Notes"), we linked to and excerpted from Michael Calderone's Politico article, "JournoList: Inside the Echo Chamber". One of the critics of JournoList who Calderone quoted in that article was the centrist Democrat blogger Mickey Kaus. Kaus wrote about Calderone's article on his Kausfiles blog yesterday ("The Uninvited"). From Kaus's blog post:
Brad DeLong objects to the hed--"Inside the echo chamber"--on Michael Calderone's piece discussing the underknown leftish email cabal organized by Ezra Klein:

It's not an echo chamber. I have never seen a less echo chamber-like space in my life. The headline is simply wrong.

Fair enough. But I think the headline-writers' worry was that an "echo chamber" is what the outside world tends to get from members of JournoList once they've vigorously hashed out their disagreements in secret. "Inside the Echo Factory" would be a headline more accurately reflecting that concern. It's noisy in a factory but the product is often standardized.


We non-elite writers1 learn something just from watching the sausage get made.  One thing we learn is it's just sausage. Ezra Klein has taken a lot of what could be highly informative back and forth on the World Wide Web and privatized it, much as rich people in gated communities reclaim green space from the public sphere and wall it off behind guards and fences. It's not an egalitarian or democratic impulse.

P.S.: Here's DeLong's preferred description of JournoList:

[I]t is the people whom Ezra thinks are smart enough, committed enough to discussion and learning and education, and good-hearted enough to be worth emailing regularly--and the rest of us free-ride on the virtual space that is Ezra's network. [E.A.]

False modesty? Check. Suck up to the organizer? Check. Underlying, self-satisfied exclusionary impulse? Check. ... 

1Kaus is engaging in a little of his own false modesty here, I think, given that his blog is published online on Slate, which is owned by the Washington Post -- not the typical set-up of a Pajamahadeen.

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