RUSH: Let’s just do the Politico piece right now, because this may be one of the most embarrassing pieces I have ever read — and looking back on the things I have read, there’s a lot of competition for most the embarrassing thing I’ve ever read. This piece may be at the top. ‘Journolist Veers Out of Bounds,’ by Roger Simon, Politico. Ahem. ‘This may be the most embarrassing thing I have ever written — and looking back on my writing, there is a lot of competition for that dubious distinction — but when I became a reporter, it was almost a holy calling.’ Now, Roger, the thing about journalism is it’s supposed to be objective, dispassionate, and skeptical. There’s supposed to be a lot of curiosity in there. A ‘holy calling’ implies none of that. A ‘holy calling’ means you got all the answers, and you’re out there to save something. That’s what a holy calling is. ‘We really believed we were doing good,’ he writes. ‘We informed the public and helped make democracy work.’
He didn’t say this, but go to any J school and ask the students running around the halls, ‘Why are you here?’
(sniveling student impression) ‘I want to save the world! I want to right the injustices of the world.’
‘Well, why are you here? This is not where this is supposed to happen.’
‘I want to save the world.’
This is basically what he’s writing here.
‘We really believed we were doing good. We informed the public and helped make democracy work.’ (sigh) Folks, even I frighten myself sometimes with how right I am. For the entire history of this program — and dating back to even before this program when I was doing this program in Sacramento — people would ask about journalists, and I’d say, ‘They think they are the personal guarantors of freedom. They are the personal guarantee. They are the last line of defense against the Constitution and the First Amendment.’ They do believe they are our personal guarantors of freedom. What does he write here? ‘We really believed we were doing good. We informed the public and helped make democracy work.
‘We exposed wrongdoing wherever we found it. We reported without fear or favor. As a columnist, I tried to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’ Well, even that’s true! How do you rise through the ranks of journalism? Find somebody and destroy ’em, and then the Washington Post might hire you. ‘Afflict the comfortable’? When’s the last time you did that, Roger? When is the last time you ‘exposed wrongdoing wherever you found it’? When’s the last time you ‘reported without fear or favor’? Why all the polls that prove journalists are liberal and vote Democrat with the regularity of a well-made clock? A journalist doesn’t try to ‘comfort’ anyone. They inform them!
What is this ‘comfort’ business, and when did becoming ‘comfortable’ become a sin worthy of affliction? We’re here to afflict…? I’m comfortable right now. I guess that’s why they come after me, ’cause I’m comfortable. What in the world is sinful about being comfortable? Why is that an affliction? They inform, or are supposed to. Why be proud of afflicting the comfortable? That to me sounds like you enjoy attacking achievers, and you think that’s a ‘holy calling,’ to attack the achievers — and yes, as I answer my question. Yes, it is. Attacking achievers is a ‘holy calling.’ He next writes, ‘I warned you that this would be embarrassing.’ You’re right, Mr. Simon, but not for the reasons you think.
‘We loved what we did,’ he writes, ‘and we did it with passion. We were proud. We felt — I am just going to go ahead and say it — honorable.’ As far as I’m concerned, honorable people don’t do what journalists today do. Forget Journolist. Forget the listserv. Don’t try to use that as a scapegoat for what journalism, et al, has become. Journolist (the listserv, those 400 activists) are a tiny, tiny story compared to what we know about the partisan hack media that is coast to coast. Rathergate? Rathergate? You circled the wagons, Roger, to protect a guy who used and forged fake documents to affect an election! This is honorable? You have mindless promotion of climate fraud? No curiosity whatsoever! There’s a giant hoax that’s been perpetrated on the world, and you’re right there promoting it?
You’re honorable? Journalism was honorable? The things that you at Politico and others have done to Sarah Palin and Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork and George Allen are honorable? The politics of personal destruction advanced by phony journalists did not start with Ezra Klein, Mr. Simon. Honorable? What did remembrance Sarah Palin ever do to you? Best we can figure she threatens you somehow. Mr. Simon then writes, ‘There were wrongdoers. Fakers, plagiarists, those with private agendas who wished to slant the news. When found, they were often fired. Even when they were subjected to a lesser punishment, their sins were made clear as a lesson to the rest of us.’ (snorts) When found? They weren’t ‘found,’ they were exposed!
Nobody was looking for them on the inside. They happened to be exposed. By the way, if you’re Laurence Tribe and you hire an assistant to plagiarize somebody else, you can still hold onto your job at Harvard — as can Doris Kearns Goodwin. A lot of you people have plagiarized and stolen. Honorable? You circle the wagons to protect each other. ‘There were … those with private agendas who wished to slant the news.’ ‘Were…those with private agendas’? Any and all of you perpetrating a hoax on global warming — any and all of you who fail to investigate and probe the power of this administration and how it’s being used to govern against the will of the people… Slant the news? How about become part of the agenda? There is no news anymore, Mr. Simon. There’s no more media. Nothing’s real.
‘Even when they were subjected to a lesser punishment, their sins were made clear as a lesson to the rest of us. (At a few papers, those who wished to slant the news were publishers or editors who wished to please their publishers. They were rarely fired. But their numbers were few.)’ Oh. We’re back to this: There aren’t that many people slanting, and most of them were editors and publishers but they were close to the conservative owners. (That’s how this is to be translated.) ‘The lines were not muddy. You played it straight,’ he writes. ‘Even if you were a columnist and allowed to publish your opinions, you were expected to be fair and accurate.’ Yeah, this is an embarrassing piece. ‘At the end of the day, you often went home feeling good.’
When was that? Somebody’s career had been destroyed? Somebody’s life had been destroyed? Somebody had been lied about? Somebody been distorted, maligned, and impugned sufficiently that they were finished? Is that when you went home and felt good? ‘And when people asked what you did, you replied with pride, not shame.’ The last time I think you went home happy is when you got Obama elected.
‘What do you do for a living?’
‘I got Obama elected!’
‘What do you do for a living?’
‘I got Democrat majorities in the House elected. I got Democrat majorities in the Senate elected, and I — I — I’m helping Obama destroy the American capitalist private sector. I go home and I feel really good. That’s what I do. I’m…a journalist!’
‘[A]s I said, almost a holy calling,’ he writes. ‘(And often accompanied by a vow of poverty.) Somewhere along the way, things have gone terribly wrong. Journalism has become a toy, an electronic plaything. I do not blame technology. The giant megaphone of technology has been coupled with a new, angrier, more destructive age. (Yes, you can find extremely angry, extremely partisan times in our past, but I always thought the goal was to progress over the centuries, not regress.) Until recently, there was a semisecret, off-the-record organization called Journolist. It was a listserv, which is a bunch of people who sign up (if allowed) and then get the same e-mails and can reply to everybody on the list. ‘Journolist was founded by Ezra Klein [a 22-year-old kid] in early 2007, when he was 22 and working for the liberal publication The American Prospect. Klein continued running it when he went to The Washington Post in 2009.
‘The Post is a mainstream publication…’
No, it’s not, Mr. Klein. It’s a liberal, activist agenda-oriented enterprise. ‘[B]ut Journolist was limited to those ‘from nonpartisan to liberal, center to left,” and then he goes on to describe what Journolist was. ‘And yet some are still troubled’ after the exposure. ‘Chuck Todd, political director and chief White House correspondent for NBC News, who was not part of Journolist, told me this: ‘I am sure Ezra had good intentions when he created it…’ No, he didn’t. Define good intentions. ‘[B]ut I am offended the right is using this as a sledgehammer against those of us who don’t practice activist journalism. ‘Journolist was pretty offensive. Those of us who are mainstream journalists got mixed in with journalists with an agenda. Those folks who thought they were improving journalism are destroying the credibility of journalism. ‘This has kept me up nights. I try to be fair. It’s very depressing.”
F. Chuck Todd, NBC, is not an activist journalist. We just gotta make sure Obama wins the day every day, but we’re not activist journalists. No! We don’t have any of those at NBC.