Jul
28
2010

NBC's Chuck Todd, Sleepless and Depressed Over JournoList

For those of you not following right-wing non-stories, there is a mini-scandal brewing over something called JournoList, a now defunct private email list started by a liberal blogger named Ezra Klein. It came to include something like 400 members, many of whom were other liberal bloggers, academics and pundits.

Someone leaked many of the emails on the list to the conservative Daily Caller website, which has since run several stories alleging that the messages on the list amounted to a liberal media plot to coordinate their coverage in support of Barack Obama. The only problem is that the messages don't show that ever happening, unless you happen to think that political opinions expressed by politically opinionated people are the stuff of conspiracy.

Nevertheless, there are some in the media who are taking this story very seriously. (I know–a right-wing pseudo-scandal getting serious coverage–stop the presses!!) Politico columnist Roger Simon writes a lengthy piece (7/28/10) about how journalism was once a "holy calling," but things like JournoList–a "Frankenstein monster"–have contributed to the degradation of the profession.

Simon quotes NBC's Chuck Todd, who has been similarly wounded by this completely contrivedtale:

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.

Really? He can't sleep because of this?

I'm all for journalists feeling in some way responsible for the reputation of their profession. In that spirit,I wonder if the media's coverage of the Iraq War keeps Chuck Todd up at night, many billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives later? Does Andrew Breitbart's destruction of a community organizing group–aided by credulous media coverage–bother him much?

I know these issues are not as important as private emails exchanged between liberally-minded writers….

Feel free to list your own examples of media failures that SHOULD keep Chuck Todd up at night in the comments thread.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.