One aspect of the Journolist controversy that bears noting is what it reveals about the mind of the Press. For one, I found it interesting that Ryan Avent, now an editor at The Economist was a Journolister. In one post about Governor Palin, he :
complained that Obama's supporters were missing a chance to attack. "If we were the GOP, we'd be taking this opportunity to shout long and loud how unprepared Palin is--'She doesn't even know what Fannie and Freddie are . . . . That's the difference in the game as played by us and by them.
When I subscribed to The Economist, I often found it interesting that their American coverage tended to lean to the Left, even as I found their European coverage more even-handed (at least on most issues). Avent's presence on the list confirms my suspicion. He was hired by like-minded folks, or to serve the same agenda.
Then there's Chuck Todd's lament. He said:
"I am sure Ezra had good intentions when he created it, but I am offended the right is using this as a sledgehammer against those of us who don't practice activist journalism.
"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."
Todd was not on Journolis. He is upset that the mere existence of Journolist will seem to confirm what conservatives have long been saying about the press. What I find interesting is that Todd thinks it is relatively easy to distinguish advocates from journalists. It seems to me that the the reason why the list grew to be so big is that it is often hard to tell the difference. The trouble is not that good and well intentioned reporters like Todd are deliberately biased. The trouble is that objectivity is impossible. The key questions for journalists are what story to tell and how to tell it. Does one begin a story about the war in Iraq with the body count (American or Iraqi?), with Saddam's tyranny? With government corruption? With a story of good work by U.S. doctors there? Etc. There's no objective way to answer that question. It is a lie to pretend there is.
Science does not tell us what is a fact or what facts to study. That's, ultimately, a moral judgment. And morals cannot be studied scientifically, at least not if we define science after the modern fashion. One might even say that it is the belief, on one hand, that only modern science can give us truth and, on the other, that moral judgments can be made better by experts, trained with the modern scientific method that, combined with the abstract acknowledgment that science does not teach morals, that is the foundation of modern liberalism.