"Journolist 2.0"

Well, Journolist, which has been getting so much attention with journalists discussing how to pitch the news so has help Obama and Democrats, didn't really go away. They just changed their name and narrowed down the list of invited journalists from 400 to 170. The new name is: "Cabalist."

The list was created by The New Republic's Jon Cohn, Michelle Goldberg (no relation) and Steven Teles.

I spoke with Jon Cohn this morning from his secret underground headquarters and I asked him if the members of Cabalist understood that their private listserv was not, in fact, private (although, unaccountably, Cabalist has managed to stay secret for several weeks, until this historic Goldblog moment you are now experiencing).
"Personally," Jon said, "I am of the view that things are going to get out from time to time. I wouldn't do it, but clearly stuff gets out."

Others on the original Journolist, such as Joe Klein of Time, defend the chat room and what was discussed.

Today, the Daily Caller has printed one of my Journolist emails, in which I share my latest published thinking about the just-announced Republican vice presidential candidate and thank the group--in an ironic, overblown tone--for the conversation we'd been having on the subject. When seen through the lens of witless right-wing conspiracy mongering, this seems embarrassing. But there was no conspiracy afoot. I didn't need the folks on Journolist to figure out how to react to Sarah Palin: her lack of qualifications for the vice presidency--and her spectacular abilities as a stand-up politician--represented a fecund gusher of material that made even the most mediocre of columnists seem like geniuses. Writing about Palin was not hard work; it still isn't; it will never be. . . .

But here is what his discussion contained:

Joe Klein of Time stopped by with an update on the latest from his magazine: “We’re reporting that she actually supported the bridge to nowhere. First flub?”

Klein, who displayed an independent streak in other circumstances (“anybody who knows me knows I do my own thinking,” he said in a Wednesday interview), seemed to exude more partisanship that day than usual.

As the morning wore on into the afternoon, some on Journolist came to believe the Palin pick had been shrewd. Palin was coming off as appealing and a maverick, they worried.

“Okay, let’s get deadly serious, folks. Grating voice or not, ‘inexperienced’ or not, Sarah Palin’s just been introduced to the country as a brave, above-party, oil-company-bashing, pork-hating maverick ‘outsider’,” Kilgore said, “What we can do is to expose her ideology.”

Ryan Avent, then blogging for the Economist and now an editor there, agreed that criticizing Palin’s experience might not work. “I really don’t think the experience argument needs to be made by the Dems. It’s completely obvious to any reasonable person. Instead, hammer away at the fact that she has terrible positions on things like choice, and on the fact that she has no ideas on the issues important to people,” he wrote.

Journolist’s founder Ezra Klein, now a blogger at the Washington Post, reached an entirely different conclusion: “I see no reason to attack Palin. I think you accurately describe Palin and attack McCain.” Klein linked to an article he had written for the American Prospect that calmly described Palin’s thin resume. . . .



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