Andrew Breitbart has offered $100,000 for the entire archive of JournoList, which is totally awesome, because I would really love to see him shell out that much money to be completely disappointed.
As a testament to just how enthrallingly conspiratorial JournoList was, I at this moment have over 500 unread JList threads in my GMail. This is not because the people on it were boring or unintelligent, but because I tended not to open requests for contact information for people I didn’t know, or look at job postings for jobs I couldn’t take, or get into baseball threads, or read a lot of the article/post pimping that took place.
But really, what this is about is that the list, unseen, is a fertile ground for the imaginings of nutjobs. Breitbart finds it the “holy grail of liberal media bias”; PowerLine wants to find the “collusion” that occurred on the list, because what it makes sense for 400 independent professional writers to do is to explicitly make blood pacts over and over again about not covering stories; Gateway Pundit and his commenters have decided that it was mainly Keith Olbermann and Katie Couric conspiring with each other, and wouldn’t mind destroying the lives of every person on the list; Dan Riehl reveals that he pissily quit a righty listserv because he got his fee-fees hurt, but it was totally different because that listserv was strictly dedicated to its mission; IowaHawk has decided that it was a listserv of 14-year-old girls, because liberals are so gay.
The secret power of JournoList is not in anything it did – as Ezra points out, it was too large to accomplish any of the secret and terrible things it’s alleged to be behind – but instead that the right has so internalized its own narratives of victimization and righteousness that the very act of people in the same industry talking to each other is a betrayal not just of their professional responsibility, but of the very principles of America itself.
Breitbart, if he ever got the archive (which is doubtful), would almost certainly use it to ruin someone’s career. Not because that person said anything that was career ruining, but because he or she committed the grave sin of being liberal. The conservative response to JList is largely about fear of the unknown, the same way an insecure significant other tries to break into their partner’s e-mail to make sure no cheating is occurring, or a little brother steals his older sister’s diary only to find out she’s mainly making lists of which colleges she’s thinking of applying to and constantly redoing the math to see when she can afford the used Honda Civic she’s had her eye on.
JournoList is far less interesting and far less influential than any conservative critic thinks. But because it involves those they despise doing things they can’t see, it is prima facie evidence of every terrible thing they’ve ever thought about liberals and journalists. This isn’t to even mention the irony of Breitbart using unseen (and, let’s be honest, nonexistent) evidence for an assertion he desperately wants to believe about liberal media collusion after spending months bitching about not being able to find video of black Representatives being called niggers.
Oh well, off to convince Wolf Blitzer to call Bobby Jindal a droopy-faced shitbag. And then to have lots of gay sex with him while watching Dear John. Channing Tatum is such a dreamy hunk of man-meat.
God, I want JList back…