If you haven’t been aware of the recent release of politically incriminating posts to an e-mail thing called JournoList, you may not even be aware what JournoList was.
Because even my abbreviated daily rounds have taken me to sites that discussed the list before the current revelations, I am not surprised by the more recent brouhaha — that people on the list were sharing ideas about how to suppress or distract coverage of stories potentially embarrassing to then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
One of the reasons I have so little respect for “journalists” is precisely this willingness to throw the proclaimed ideals of their profession under the bus in pursuit of a preferred political outcome. For one thing, it demonstrates profound dishonesty on the part of the individual who does it.
For another, it exposes that individual’s lack of faith in their political principles — their fear that if they don’t lie and cheat their candidates and positions can’t win.
While I can’t claim to live up to it all the time, I was taught something when I was young that perhaps not everyone was: have faith in the truth. The truth doesn’t care who tells it — and unlike a lie, the truth won’t do you any more harm than you properly deserve.
Even if Barack Obama had been the perfect redemptive leader for an America still torn by the issue of race in the 21st century, telling lies to get him elected could only backfire, even if it worked. This JournoList business echoes similar revelations about the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University regarding climate change claims — and again, even if global warming were a disaster looming within our lifetimes, distorting the research and concealing the data to win support for an agenda that is more political than scientific could only undermine the case they were trying to make.
The truth is worth fighting for, not lying for.
Update, Thursday: Meet the new JournoList, same as the old JournoList (but smaller). Jeffro’s comment all but predicted this outright — and if the linked piece is true (who can ever be sure anymore?), Jeffro nailed it.