Of the latest “scandal,” that is the unveiling of a private group of more than four hundred apparently left-leaning (and so far almost universally caucasian and asian) journalists who, for three and a half years, discussed via email topics ranging from elections, to politics to the influence of the media and, yes, the coordination of media and public relations strategy to achieve common goals- most of which were highly political and/or partisan, the public reaction seems best characterized as: “Coordinated, left-leaning bias in the media? Duh. What rock have you been sleeping under for the last forty years?”
But, even as the hidden mass of public apathy is, iceberg like, slowly revealed from below the waterline, a number of slightly more subtle observations float gently to the surface here if one is patient enough to let the salty foam settle.
. . .
The conservative parallel is clearly the bombastic, podium-pounding “family values” moralist who finally, in the close confines of a public restroom, solicits to engage (in exactly the sort of “morally bankrupt” sexual act he had for years decried) a plainclothes member of the local constabulary and registered Democrat.
. . .
Third, the confidence with which “Journolist” both conducted its affairs and ignored the most basic of operational security tenets. Given the rash of apologies, resignations, explanations and deflections that pour literally daily from exposed, former Journolist members, it seems clear that this confidence did not germinate from a clear sense of legitimacy. Indeed, rare is the “I have done nothing at all improper” defense among the fallen. Instead, the brazen and daring expectation that 400 members could keep the organization’s goings on a secret indefinitely likely formed from the expectation that, given their self-perceived intellectual and tradecraft superiority, or the incompetence of their foes, capture was unthinkable.
Of course, being that the likelihood of a secret remaining one is proportional to the inverse of the square of the number of people who know about it, this was an impossible disequilibrium to maintain for long. Oddly, for a group so clearly aware of (and prone to manipulate) the nuances that lay between “on the record,” “off the record,” “on background,” and so forth, there seems to have been a remarkable dearth of caution when committing to writing, in a forum openly archived, the various views and actions that now haunt them upon being made public.
How odd too, that to even be revealed as a member of this newly unveiled cabal would appear to be a highly career limiting event today.
One is given to wonder, however, if these are the limits of liability for the wayward soldiers of Journolist.
Forty years ago Public Law Number 91-452, 84 Stat. 941 (1970) was signed into force. For more than a decade it resided on the books, mostly unused, somewhat obscure and very ignored. By 1985, however, certain provisions of what is now 18 USC §§ 1961 et seq. (1996) had become, in the words of one court, “…an unusually potent weapon– the equivalent of the thermonuclear device.” 2 What had been ushered into law as Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 quickly became known publicly as “RICO,” short for the provisions of the legislation known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (hereinafter the “Act”).
Joint Media Special Operations, finem respice, July 24, 2010
Not to be confused with John Morrish’s useful site, JournoList.
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