Michael Calderone of Politico reported on a a group called the “JournoList” which is an “off-the-record” online meeting of left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics.  Here they “get together” to compare notes and talk about stories.

Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy?

Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. “Basically,” he says, “it’s just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely.”

But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won’t say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he’s seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.

“I’m very lazy about writing when I’m not getting paid,” Alterman said. “So if I take the trouble to write something in any detail on the list, I tend to cannibalize it. It doesn’t surprise me when I see things on the list on people’s blogs.”

Last April, criticism of ABC’s handling of a Democratic presidential debate took shape on JList before morphing into an open letter to the network, signed by more than 40 journalists and academics — many of whom are JList members.

And I’m sure they are all “fair and balanced” in their reporting.  John Judis, senior editor at The New Republic (to be fair, they are up front about being liberal) said about members of the J-List, “There is probably general agreement on the stupidity of today’s GOP.”

Well that’s nice.  What do you think is having a group like this inherently wrong for journalists (on the right or the left).  Do you think this becomes a “groupthink” that just ends up perpetuating a political party’s talking points?

HT: William Jacobson

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