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Juice-Box Mafia: Grand Hegemon Ezra Klein Speaks

The Juice-Box Mafia: World Domination Edition

UPDATE: I called Michael Calderone. He says that he did not write the headline. he reiterates that he did not write the headline: "read the piece!" he says. He won't say that he thinks the headline is right. He won't say that he thinks the headline is wrong.

Why am I not surprised that Michael Calderone of Politico gets it wrong?

JournoList: Inside the echo chamber: For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList. Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy? Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. “Basically,” he says, “it’s just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely.” But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work...

It's not an echo chamber. I have never seen a less echo chamber-like space in my life. The headline is simply wrong.

And I can assure you that Calderone is misleading at best and mendacious at worst when he writes about how (a) Ezra Klein says that it is not a vast liberal media conspiracy, (b) "[b]ut some of the journalists who participate..."

Looks to me like Calderone simply did not do his homework.

After the jump, as is so often the case, Calderone calms down and provides a little information:

Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts. [Matthew] Yglesias, who writes an eponymous blog hosted by the Center for American Progress, noted that “the combined membership has tentacles of knowledge that reach everywhere,” adding that “you can toss out a question about Japan or whatever and get some different points of view.”

[Eric] Alterman said it’s important that there are “people with genuine expertise” on the list. “For me, it’s enormously useful because I don’t like to spend my time reading blogs and reading up-to-the-minute political minutia,” he said. “This list allows me to make sure I’m not missing anything important.”... “The roster includes some of the savviest authorities on everything from behavioral economics to Ben’s Chili Bowl,” [Mike] Allen said. “It’s a window into a world of passionate experts — an hourly graduate education”...

And then Calderone provides some misinformation as well:

Michael Goldfarb, a former McCain staffer and conservative blogger.... Asked about the existence of conservative listservs, Goldfarb said they’re much less prevalent. “There is nothing comparable on the right. E-mail conversations among bloggers, journalists and experts on our side tend to be ad hoc,” Goldfarb said. “The JournoList thing always struck me as a little creepy.” [Mickey] Kaus, too, has seemed put off by the whole idea, once talking on BloggingHeads about how the list “seems contrary to the spirit of the Web.” “You don’t want to create a whole separate, like, private blog that only the elite bloggers can go into, and then what you present to the public is sort of the propaganda you’ve decided to go public with,” Kaus argued...

Basically, Ezra Klein's Journolist is the Juice-Box Mafia: it is the people whom Ezra thinks are smart enough, committed enough to discussion and learning and education, and good-hearted enough to be worth emailing regularly--and the rest of us free-ride on the virtual space that is Ezra's network.