Lessons From Journolist: Why Ross Douthat is Useful

by Benjamin Domenech on 8:04 am July 20, 2010


The Daily Caller offers another round of Journolist archival material on Jeremiah Wright, revealing the degree to which self-styled journalists think of themselves as activists whenever their ideological framework is challenged by actual news. The content wouldn’t surprise if the list merely featured writers for the Huffington Post, American Prospect, Salon etc. — but in this case, the conversation included members for Time, Politico, Slate, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and the Guardian.

Spencer Ackerman has the best line in the whole piece — at the time a writer for the Soros-funded Washington Independent, Ackerman is now a reporter at the outwardly non-political Wired:

“If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”

Ackerman did allow there were some Republicans who weren’t racists. “We’ll know who doesn’t deserve this treatment — Ross Douthat, for instance — but the others need to get it.”

With the caveat that I don’t know Douthat personally — Jonathan Last thoroughly eviscerated his position on Journolist — this is just an incredible smear. Fred Barnes is a devout Christian and a gentleman, a respected writer who has never given any indication of racist views. The fact that Ackerman would recommend this wrathful and baseless attack isn’t surprising. But it does say something about membership in the menagerie of tame conservatives that where Barnes is maligned by the Left, Douthat is exempted.

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