JournoList: Is 'call them racists' a liberal media tactic?
JournoList was an informal online discussion group involving several hundred left-leaning journalists. In excerpts released Tuesday, some of their discussions appeared to veer toward collusion, from how to protect Barack Obama to how to tar conservative critics.
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The Daily Caller writes that Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent, "urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Mr. Ackerman wrote, 'Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares – and call them racists.' "Skip to next paragraph
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"The Daily Caller has an interesting story that gives us insight into the way some journalists talk to each other, but I also think that reporters have a right to think and talk and be frank with each other," says Mr. Hoyt. "At the same time, I think if they do it in a forum like this, they have to know some energetic reporter can report it, and that's exactly what happened."
To conservatives, a smoking gun
To some conservatives, however, the Daily Caller excerpts are a smoking gun, showing that the media is not a neutral arbiter in refereeing racial spitball fights like the one that has broken out between the NAACP and the tea party.
"What the Daily Caller has unearthed proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that most media organizations are either complicit by participation in the treachery that is JournoList, or are guilty of sitting back and watching...," writes conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart.
Such criticisms are fair, says Professor Campbell at SUNY Buffalo.
"To some extent [some] media have been successful in [playing the race card]," he says. "You have people now talking about the tea party and others in terms of this race issue, and that in itself deflects from what the tea party people are really concerned about, which is out-of-control federal spending and excessive intrusion of government. To the extent that the press, even by suggesting that race is an issue, if it gets everybody talking about the tea party in those terms, they have been successful."
At the same time, Campbell says, the race card may have been so overplayed that it no longer has much of an effect on how Americans think or act.
"I think a lot of people don't take it very seriously anymore," he says.
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