Liberal Journolisters: Freedom of speech for me but not for Fox News or Rush Limbaugh

Yesterday The Daily Caller published a big story that detailed how liberal journalists on the Journolist listserve collaborated to kill the Rev. Wright story vis-a-vis Barack Obama.

Today Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller has delivered once again. If he keeps this up, Karl Malone will have to relinquish his nickname of The Mailman*.

It seems some of the journalists who participated in Ezra Klein’s listserve Journolist were of the mindset that the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech clause that affords them their journalism careers in the United States should be denied to Fox News for committing the unforgivable sin of offering news reporting that doesn’t meet the approval of these liberal journalists:

The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down.

“I am genuinely scared” of Fox, wrote Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, because it “shows you that a genuinely shameless and unethical media organisation *cannot* be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation, and nor can it be successfully cold-shouldered or ostracised. In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.” Davies, a Brit, frequently argued the United States needed stricter libel laws.

“I agree,” said Michael Scherer of Time Magazine. Roger “Ailes understands that his job is to build a tribal identity, not a news organization. You can’t hurt Fox by saying it gets it wrong, if Ailes just uses the criticism to deepen the tribal identity.”

Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”

And so a debate ensued. Time’s Scherer, who had seemed to express support for increased regulation of Fox, suddenly appeared to have qualms: “Do you really want the political parties/white house picking which media operations are news operations and which are a less respectable hybrid of news and political advocacy?”

But Zasloff stuck to his position. “I think that they are doing that anyway; they leak to whom they want to for political purposes,” he wrote. “If this means that some White House reporters don’t get a press pass for the press secretary’s daily briefing and that this means that they actually have to, you know, do some reporting and analysis instead of repeating press releases, then I’ll take that risk.”

I find it somewhat of funny in a pitiful kind of way that these folks are fully ignorant of the fact that after Scherer accused Roger Ailes of using Fox to promote a “tribal identity,” they advocated the government’s shutting down of Fox News because the network does not adhere to their collectively defined journalistic, uh, tribalism.

That’s how it has always been with leftists, though. They consistently project the feelings, thoughts, and actions that they are feeling, thinking, and doing themselves, onto the people and organizations they dislike and distrust, i.e. people who don’t share their same world view.

Interestingly enough, it was Michael Scherer who expressed some dismay at the idea of shutting out Fox News completely:

Scherer seemed alarmed. “So we would have press briefings in which only media organizations that are deemed by the briefer to be acceptable are invited to attend?”

In response, John Judis, a senior editor at The New Republic replied with this:

Pre-Fox, I’d say Scherer’s questions made sense as a question of principle. Now it is only tactical.

Now what did Judis mean by tactical? The link embedded in Judis’ quote takes us to an image of the actual scanned email in which Judis went on to say this (Emphasis mine. And make sure you don’t have anything in your mouth when you read the last sentence.):

Fox, like the business/GOP thinktanks that began in the 70’s, are taking advantage of an older Progressive era concept of disinterestedness and objectivity to peddle partisan coverage. It may be that it’s all counter-productive for the White House to out them, but it would not be unprincipled for the O adm to give precedence to the other networks and to newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post that try to adhere to, rather than exploit, the older standard.

I’ll wait until you’ve stopped laughing…

I know, the idea that these folks actually believe that The New York Times and the Washington Post adhere to the journalistic standard of disinterestedness and objectivity in journalism is hilarious.

It reminds me of something I heard Bernie Goldberg say on Fox News *gasp!* the other night. He made these comments while talking about Bob Scheiffer’s not knowing about the NBPP/DOJ scandal and Charlie Gibson’s not knowing about the ACORN videos, but it applies equally well to the Journolisters. He said the inside the beltway journalists like Scheiffer, Couric, Gibson, Sawyer, and the like see themselves as cultured and worldly, when in reality they are the most provincial group of people he has ever known because they fear ideas that are different from their ideas or ideas that challenge their world view.

They are so provincial, in fact, that they didn’t think about the long term consequences of what they were advocating. Zasloff is keen on the current government silencing Fox News because it’s being run by a friendly administration that holds a similar world view as he and the Journolisters.

But how would he and other liberals feel about the government silencing or shutting out news outlets critical of the White House when a Republican is president? Would he feel as comfortable with a Republican press secretary’s judgment call as to who will and will not get press credentials to the White House press briefings then?

Oh, and Judis’ line about Fox News “taking advantage of an older Progressive era concept of disinterestedness and objectivity to peddle partisan coverage” actually applies to many of these Progressive publications, as I discussed in my post yesterday about the Journolisters who write for The Washington Independent, Mother Jones, and The Nation. Projection, once again.

All of this came later in the DC article. Johnathan Strong begins with emails from Sarah Spitz, a producer for an NPR affiliate KCRW, who said her hatred for Rush Limbaugh ran so deeply she said if Rush suffered a painful death, she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out.” She admitted that her ability to hate someone so much surprised her, but she nonetheless insisted that, “he deserves it.”

And why would Ms. Spitz wish a death on Rush that she probably would never wish on an animal? Because he holds beliefs that are contrary to hers.

To see Rush’s full response, read Byron York’s piece in the Washington Examiner.

Update: As our first commenter noted, Sarah Spitz apologized for fantasizing about watching Rush Limbaugh suffer a painful death has publicly apologized:

I made poorly considered remarks about Rush Limbaugh to what I believed was a private email discussion group from my personal email account. As a publicist, I realize more than anyone that is no excuse for irresponsible behavior. I apologize to anyone I may have offended and I regret these comments greatly; they do not reflect the values by which I conduct my life.

What’s with the “I apologize to anyone I may have offended” bunk? The only one who possibly could have been offended is Rush himself, but I see he is the only one to whom she didn’t publicly apologize. For all I know she may have apologized to Rush privately, but as far as public apologies go, this is a fail.

*I have been reminded by a commenter that Karl Malone was known as The Mailman not the Postman and made the correction. Sorry about that. What a dumb mistake.

Apologies Are Required
No "Nation Of Cowards" Here...