KK's Korner

No telling what’s being thought of in the mind of a lunatic

Archive for June 26th, 2010

This List Got Serv’d

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Some might think it’s tacky whenever Matt Drudge posts news about himself. I think it’s funny as hell.

FishbowlDC has obtained e-mails written by WaPo’s conservative-beat blogger Dave Weigel, that the scribe sent to JournoList, a listserv for liberal journalists. (Read up on JournoList with Yahoo! News’s Michael Calderone’s 2009 story that he wrote for Politico).

Seems Weigel doesn’t like (and that would be putting it mildly) at least some of the conservatives he covers. Poor Drudge – Weigel wants him to light himself on fire.

Weigel’s Words:

• “This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.”

And what a shock. Now this listserv is being deleted and its archives purged. Guess the public didn’t have any right knowing the opinions of those who are gate-keepers of the fourth estate.

Here are parts of the “official” statement.

That was the theory behind Journolist: An insulated space where the lure of a smart, ongoing conversation would encourage journalists, policy experts and assorted other observers to share their insights with one another. The eventual irony of the list was that it came to be viewed as a secretive conspiracy, when in fact it was always a fractious and freewheeling conversation meant to open the closed relationship between a reporter and his source to a wider audience.

At the beginning, I set two rules for the membership. The first was the easy one: No one who worked for the government in any capacity could join. The second was the hard one: The membership would range from nonpartisan to liberal, center to left. I didn’t like that rule, but I thought it necessary: There would be no free conversation in a forum where people had clear incentives to embarrass each other. A bipartisan list would be a more formal debating society. Plus, as Liz Mair notes, there were plenty of conservative list servs, and I knew of military list servs, and health-care policy list servs, and feminist list servs. Most of these projects limited membership to facilitate a particular sort of conversation. It didn’t strike me as a big deal to follow their example.

A “conservative” list serv isn’t the same thing as list serv where “journalists, policy experts and assorted other observers share their insights with one another.” One is a political/philosophical belief. The other is for people in a profession. Unless of course one presumes that journalists, policy experts and assorted other observers are all of the same mindset and don’t want anyone with a differing opinion taking part in this circle-jerk. And we all know that’s not the case with Medium-Large Media … right?

“Smart, ongoing conversation.” Not from the emails that were brought to light…

It was ironic, in a way, that it would be the Daily Caller that published e-mails from Journolist. A few weeks ago, its editor, Tucker Carlson, asked if he could join the list. After asking other members, I said no, that the rules had worked so far to protect people, and the members weren’t comfortable changing them. He tried to change my mind, and I offered, instead, to partner with Carlson to start a bipartisan list serv. That didn’t interest him.

Haha. Tucker Carlson wasn’t worthy enough to join Journolist. And then he ratted them out. I take back my previous comment about this list serv being a “Lefties Only” club.

In any case, Journolist is done now. I’ll delete the group soon after this post goes live. That’s not because Journolist was a bad idea, or anyone on it did anything wrong. It was a wonderful, chaotic, educational discussion. I’m proud of having started it, grateful to have participated in it, and I have no doubt that someone else will re-form it, with many of the same members, and keep it going. Hopefully, it will lose some of its mystique in the process, and be understood more for what it is: One of many e-mail lists where people talk about things they’re interested in. But insofar as the current version of Journolist has seen its archives become a weapon, and insofar as people’s careers are now at stake, it has to die.

“Archives become a weapon.” No. The people’s own words are the weapons. Much like how KK’s Korner will one day become the bane of my existence when I plot that run for Senate.

Actually, there was a paragraph in Klein’s column that I want to go back to.

There’s a lot of faux-intimacy on the Web. Readers like that intimacy, or at least some of them do. But it’s dangerous. A newspaper column is public, and writers treat it as such. So too is a blog. But Twitter? It’s public, but it feels, somehow, looser, safer. Facebook is less public than Twitter, and feels even more intimate. A private e-mail list is not public, but it is electronically archived text, and it is protected only by a password field and the good will of the members. It’s easy to talk as if it’s private without considering the possibility, unlikely as it is, that it will one day become public, and that some ambitious gossip reporters will dig through it for an exposure story. And because that possibility doesn’t feel fully real, people still talk like it’s private and then get burned if it goes public.

It’s an interesting point. Newspaper columns are public and writers treat it as such. But yet blogging/Twittering/Facebooking/etc. are considered more intimate. Why is that? My one theory that just came to me five seconds ago is that a publication typically goes through a number of channels before you read the final product. With Twitter and pals, there aren’t usually as many levels of “quality control” when a thought leaves a writer’s fingertips and enters a reader’s mind. Sure there might be someone looking over another person’s Twitter account, but the correspondence is generally done spur of the moment. A printed publication always has a fixed deadline, where changes can be debated or made before going into print. A wayward Facebook entry can be deleted; once a newspaper’s edition hits the pavement, there’s no going back.

Additionally, another reason why web publishing could be considered more “intimate” is because this form of communication really isn’t showcased in the public domain. For example, a snoozepaper’s daily edition can be found in stores, newsstands and display boxes along a public sidewalk. Web material is more of a one-on-one affair, whether someone is reading a piece of writing from a PC screen in the living room or on a mobile phone while on a bus. Meh, I don’t know so much about this one. Well, I already wrote several sentences. I’m not deleting it now.

And what about commenting on list servs/blogs/message boards/etc.? Well, my insta-thoughts on the matter are this: Pretend you interviewed for a job. The prospective employer liked you for the most part, and you are a strong contender for the position. That night you go to the grocery store. You cut in front of someone in line. That person makes a comment to you, which then you make a smart-ass comment back to him. There’s one problem. That person you were an asshole to is your potential employer’s golfing buddy. Word gets back to your potential employer about your actions in the supermarket line. No job for you. Your cyber-footprint is like being an asshole to someone who knows someone who knows someone that really shouldn’t have found out what you said.

So, yeah. That’s how I feel about all this. Make sense to you? Me neither.

Written by kkktookmybabyaway

June 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Posted in News

I Can See Mexico From My Arizona House

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Geography fail.

When going all out in opposition to something, it’s best to always have your facts straight. It’s a lesson that would have well served Wisconsin County Supervisor Peggy West, who has come out strong against the Arizona illegal immigration law claiming that it doesn’t make sense for Arizona to be so agitated about illegal immigration. It’s not Arizona is like “Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico.”

West was commenting in support of a boycott of the state. Her main argument was that the law went to extreme measures to combat an issue that, it appears, she didn’t see as too much of a big deal:

“If this were Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border of Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this, saying that they had a major issue with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would have to look twice at this. But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border, and it doesn’t make sense to me that when you Google this subject– if you put in Arizona SB 1070– that you see a picture of the governor of Arizona meeting with President Obama in May of 2010. If you have direct linkage to the President, there are already National Guard troops in Arizona.”

A fellow attendee of the meeting let West down gently, assuring her “that Arizona does, in fact, share a border with Mexico.” Meanwhile, the comments landed West a segment on America Live, where Megyn Kelly rolled out the floor map and quizzed Alan Colmes on what territory lay below her stilettos, firmly planted in the Grand Canyon State.

Written by kkktookmybabyaway

June 26, 2010 at 10:05 am

Posted in News