Earlier today, Politico's Roger Simon reported that Chuck Todd told him that he had been "kept...up nights" by
the War in Afghanistan the massive unemployment crisis the wretched economy widespread home foreclosures the lack of affordable healthcare for all Americans thoughts of Journolist -- and how it destroyed journalism because it allowed people who were liberal to have private discussions on the Internet about their liberal opinions about politics, which were suprisingly liberal.
Alex Pareene has already ably dissected the entire buffet of nonsense (go read it), and noted that in subsequent discussions between Todd and Politico's Jonathan Martin, it became clear that much of what was making Todd so emotional and insomniac was left out of Simon's story:
Jonathan Martin e-mailed Chuck Todd for his "full, unabridged thoughts" on Journolist and the state of media. And it turned out that Todd was also mad at right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists, and Andrew Breitbart, whose name does not appear once in Simon's column about how Ezra Klein killed journalism.
But JournOlist gave the conspriacy theorists about the media an "a ha" or "gotcha" moment that actually, when one looks closely isn't there. There aren't a lot of mainstream journalists involved in this JournOlist but there are enough that work for longtime mainstream journalistic enterprises to give the tabloid conservative provocateurs something to run with -- a sledgehammer, if you will, to yell "told ya so."
There are two things that are funny in this comment: One is that Simon misrepresented Todd's point while using Todd's quotes to support his own point, about how Ezra Klein killed journalism. The other is that Chuck Todd decided that the "O" in "Journolist" was the logical place for a medial capital letter.
I wonder if Todd thinks that maybe the original Politico article didn't represent his full thoughts on the matter?
But I spoke today with Todd, and he told me that the Politico article didn't represent his full thoughts on the matter.
What's this? Oh, this is from Greg Sargent, who also followed up with Todd:
In particular, Todd clarified that the right's campaign to use Journolist to tar the entire mainstream media is more "disingenuous" than anything J-List did.
Todd stressed to me that he wasn't condoning what J-Listers appeared to do at times, for instance, when some J-Listers suggested message coordination. But he clarified that his primary concern is that the right is successfully using this to carry out its larger program of tarring the mainstream press as liberal.
"I understand what the purpose of the list was," Todd told me. "A minority of folks created a perception problem for the list. And there's clearly a campaign by some conservatives to use this."
The problem, Todd added, is that J-List created a "perception that the right's claim of a so-called liberal media conspiracy is true, which is not the case."
"There are clearly some on the right who are interested in delegitimizing a lot of the mainstream media for either their own gain or for something else," Todd continued. "And they're using this as their gotcha moment."
None of that made it into the original Simon piece, which is why Pareene understandably reacted in this fashion:
But for some reason Todd and Simon keep blaming the people being smeared and misrepresented for allowing the right-wing to smear and misrepresent them. Stop being the target of baseless conservative attacks, liberals, because you are making Serious Journalists look bad!
No word yet on how much sleep Todd will lose over the way his position was badly caricatured by Roger Simon.
Journalism killed by liberal bloggers, Politico declares [War Room]
Chuck Todd clarifies his criticism of Journolist [The Plum Line]