A fine spoof of progressives has appeared at just the right moment for light summer reading. JournoList is an online nonfiction “novel” about the inner thoughts of 400 or so liberal pundits and writers, as posted by none other than themselves.
The charm of JournoList is that it takes the characters’ views of themselves, as refined rational figures who are the creme de la creme of the pundit community, and contrasts it with the view of themselves as revealed in the e-mails, as people in need of sedation, housebreaking, anger-management courses and the long-term employment of really good shrinks.
The JournoList people are Washington, D.C., journalists who work hard to further their progressive, pro-President Barack Obama goals. They install one of their own at The Washington Post to cover conservatives, and he calls them “morons” when e-mailing to intimates.
They plot to suppress a network whose stories offend them, derail a news story that threatens their candidate and craft a line of attack against Obama’s opponents, though some of them work for “neutral” news units and are to paid to deliver straight news.
They root for Matt Drudge to die in a fire and for Rush Limbaugh to die of a heart attack.
“I hope he fails,” the Post writer said when Limbaugh was rushed to a hospital.
A producer of an NPR affiliate’s “neutral” news program wants Limbaugh to die in her presence so she can “laugh ... like a maniac” as he expires. No one seems to find these things strange.
Sometimes, they move on to proactive fantasies: “What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left,” Spencer Ackerman wrote. “Find a right-winger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear.”
As a diversion, he suggested they pick a random conservative and call him a racist. “Ask: why do they have such a deep seated problem with a black politician ...? This makes them splutter with rage.”
When someone protested this might damage their candidate’s image, Ackerman suggested that they do his dirty work for him: “I’m not saying OBAMA should do this. I’m saying WE should.”
What made the JournoListas unbutton their ids to 400 people, as gaga as they were, as weirdly erratic, as ready to play fast and loose with the rules? One or more was bound to get ticked off at something and then blow the whistle, and sure enough one or more did.
As no readers could trust them, they could not trust each other. And neither, therefore, can we.
Examiner columnist Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of “Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.”