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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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61 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Yup. I noted on another thread that none of the “Liberal Media” actually did the limited effort to debunk his bit of McCarthyite sleezebaggery. It was guy from Slate who did the work.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      Slate is generally considered part of the “liberal media” even if a very small part and that they hire Matt Y.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Yeah okay…i’ll go with that. But NBC, MSNBC, CNN, WaPo, NYT did squat.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        Yeah, but Weigel is hardly a liberal.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          He was a member of the JournoList. That indicates, at least, a certain common mindset.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew says:

            Why is that?Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              Because people of differing ideologies can’t enjoy snarking to each other.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Ezra explained as much, didn’t he?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Well at least this sleazy hit piece on Hagel was out in the open unlike those tricksy liberals with their fancy list servs.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Ezra said

                As folks know, there are a couple of rules for J List membership. One is that you can’t be working for the government. Another is that you’re center to left of center,

                Not “liberal”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Fair enough.

                Were any of Weigel’s emails made public by anybody? If so, were the comments he was found to be making on the J-list of the “center” variety or the “left of center” variety or were they generally wonky “everybody agrees with this sort of thing!” variety?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:


              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Remember when Nob said “Yeah, but Weigel is hardly a liberal.”?

                Good times.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                He’s not. His public writings show that. Are you asking if he’s secretly a liberal but reveals himself only on private mailing lists?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Now, I *WILL* say that Weigel’s bias has nothing, nothing at all, to do with the merits of the story he wrote nor with the lack of merit of the story he’s critiquing.

                He’s doing work that the other parts of the media *OUGHT* to be doing. More power to him.

                I remain irritated at them what were JournoListers, however, and the argument that Weigel ain’t a Liberal brought that bubbling back up.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Mike, I’m more saying that what you say when you think you aren’t being heard in public is probably more representative of who you really are than what you say when you know you are.

                I’m sure that you don’t need my help coming up with examples of people saying one thing in public and another in private and that demonstrating a great deal about who they really are, deep down.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Weigel got in trouble for saying vicious things on JournoList about guys like Limbaugh and Drudge. I don’t think that’s in any way at odds with his self-description of “libertarian with left-leaning tendencies”. Of course, I don’t think that would be at odds with “journalist of any stripe who really cares about what’s happened to journalism”.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                Dude, really?

                Here’s Pareen’s great summary of the Weigel incident.

                If Weigel counts as liberal, then I would imagine Jason and Jaybird do, too.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                What exactly is your beef with JournoList? Should JournoList have not existed? Why?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                I mean, on the outside chance there was ever once a listserve group of conservative journalists who talked to each other about politics and policy and other journalisty stuff, I honestly don’t know how I would go about starting to figure out how to object to that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                “If Weigel counts as liberal, then I would imagine Jason and Jaybird do, too.”

                I am pretty sure that neither Jason nor Jaybird would particularly oppose being called “Liberal” though they would want to put some finer points on it.

                My irritation at Journolist have to do with the suspicions that the journalists were co-ordinating messages in order to push a somewhat common ideology and fight against a somewhat common adversary. You know how you see “Fox News” as different from the NBC/ABC/CBS Nightly News? (Well, do you see how *SOMEONE* might?)

                Well, if Journolist was going to be used to co-ordinate messages in order to push a particular policy, it’d indicate that they aren’t that different after all.

                Now, I do not object to Fox News at all. I just try not to have any illusions about what it’s attempting to do.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                “I am pretty sure that neither Jason nor Jaybird would particularly oppose being called “Liberal” though they would want to put some finer points on it.”

                If this is true in both cases, or even just one, let me express my great excitement that it is the case!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m sure one of the finer points would be “now, I’m not *PROGRESSIVE*…”Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                A few things.

                First, let’s set Fox to one side. They’re kind of unique. Let’s compare apples to apples, approximately: say, National Review and The American Prospect (which is, after all, I believe, the common origin for a number of JournoList members). I would have no problem equating those two publications. And indeed, I don’t believe the members of JournoList were ever pretending to be anything other than what you’d expect to be current or past fellows at The American Prospect to be. So in that sense, it’s not clear that there was trrickeration going on.

                After their American Prospect/National Review phases, I believe it is the case that journalists frequently go on to better-paying gigs at the mainstream outfits you mention. I’m not sure what organizations were represented contemporaneously on the JournoList roster, but let’s assume that at least some mebers had made the major-outlet leap while it was still active. I can understand not liking this behavior to continue past that point, but only in the sense that I force myself to “understand” viewpoints I still think are wrong. Do we think that writers who previously were successfull at places like the National Review or The American Prospect simply take of the stripes when they get big gigs at more major outlets? If we do, I don’t understand why. Journalists get to have political viewpoints, don’t they? Indeed, they get to allow those viewpoints to color what stories they choose to write and how they write them. Why? because ultimately the results are transparent: we can all judge what eventually gets written and observe whatever bias occurs. And no one thinks that all newspaper writing eschews a political viewpoint, do they? Perhaps the absolute straight-news reporters work ostensibly does. Did JournoList members get those jobs, or did they mostly to end up in positions more or less identified as news-with-a-view-type columns – a la Ezra Klein. No one can read Ezra Klein today and come away thinking that he’s nto overtly saying “This is my policy preference; here’s why I have it; think what you want.”

                So the question becomes, should journalists like this not communicate with each other about these views and exchange ideas for how to advance social change they favor like normal citizens – or, should they not do it using a tool like a listserve? I can’t tell you shouldn’t think they shouldn’t, but when for the most part their writing product is more or less already explicitly labeled as them telling the public exactly what those preferences are directly, I don’t see the reason for them not to be communicating with each other about those preferences. Nothing about doing that takes away our ability to judge for ourselves whether they give the policy cases for opposing preferences to their unduly short shrift in their work.

                I’m not clear what the basic professional expectation they are failing to live up to by communicating in this way with (more or less) like-minded journalists is. Fundamentally, how is what they are doing different from what jason does when he coordinates with other libertarians about how best to advance the (a) libertarian position on some given issue, unless perhaps some member of JournoList was a straight-news reporter while actively participating in the listserve? For the most part, these people’s work has always been more or less clearly identified in a way that is similar to how Jason’s wok is: policy analysis and even advocacy from a more-or-less clearly identifiable political viewpoint. Such work can very clearly exist under the umbrella of an organization that claims a broader neutrality (viz. Krugman at NYT or Jennifer Rubin at WaPo).Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                Absolutely. My pet project here is to effect a realization that damn near all of us are liberals, and not just in a “if I’m liberal, then you definitely can’t be liberal where liberal has the same definition for both of us” kind of way, i.e., meaning not just where someone says, “Sure, I’m a liberal, but only if liberal is defined as classical liberal, which based on your stated views most definitely excludes you,” but in a much broader way, that, I ultimately hope people accept is the right understanding of the term in the American context. This would be a meaning of “liberal” that allows for a ton of disagreement among its adherents about all different kinds of things, but that entails a common acceptance of a certain basic core beliefs about the relationship between the state and the people in a society.

                This project most definitely does not to try to say that we’re all progressives, for, within the above version of an inclusive American liberalism, the label of “progressive,” in addition to other specific identifiers, would serve as primary means of distinguishing between more specific belief sets that fit (more or less comfortably) within that broader “liberal” umbrella.

                So, unless the finer points are such that they are defined where absolutely unmistakably you and I cannot both be included in the sense in which you say you’re okay being called, then yeah, I’m definitely happy to hear that. (But really even if it is defined that way, I’m still happy with it, because it would still be a development that brings that vision of understanding liberalism closer to reality here. In other words, whatever you mean by it, I think the fact that you’re going out of your way to say it is something I can work with. At least it’s not, like, the last thing you’d ever be willing to say about yourself. I can potentially be flexible enough on my end to make this a positive development from the perspective I lay out above, depending on what you might have to say in response.)Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                I mean, on the outside chance there was ever once a listserve group of conservative journalists who talked to each other about politics and policy and other journalisty stuff, I honestly don’t know how I would go about starting to figure out how to object to that.

                That’s essentially how right wing hate radio came into being, though. Most of these guys’ “show prep” amounts to cribbing from 3-4 of the big names’ daily newsletters.Report

        • Avatar dhex says:

          well, he is into prog rock.Report

  2. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    By the New Republic did you mean that National Review?Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Your link is to a piece by Ben Shapiro (a Breitbart staffer), not Ben Smith.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      Apparently, the Brietbart site is living up to the mission of its deceased creator– destroy all liberals even if you have to lie to do so. Facts be damned. I’m sure Brietbart is looking out from his perch in hell smiling proudly.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        You know all the ridiculously paranoid fantasies about the Right Wing Noise Machine, how its entire purpose is to invent lies and distortions, turn them into talking points, and then have every single member repeat those same talking points endlessly?

        They’re true.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      Much as I loathe Ben Smith’s quasi-stenography, Mike is right and this is a piece by Ben Shapiro, who is an even more loathesome brand of propagandist.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Yeah. I’m pretty red faced about that.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        Everybody who blogs long enough does a faceplant.

        It’s how you respond to the faceplant that says whether or not you’re worth reading.

        You’re still worth reading, T-bone.Report

  4. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Dear Senator Cruz and Mr. Shapiro

    Joe McCarthy called, he’d like to have his schtick back.Report

  5. Avatar George Turner says:

    I’m confused. The Ben Smith link doesn’t even mention the word “Hamas”, so who is the original source for this?

    I’d also note that “friends of Hamas” is much more likely to be a notation next to a group’s name than the name of a group, much like “friends of the Koch brothers” or “affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood” would be scribbled next to an organizational name to clarify what the organization is or where its loyalties lie.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Other than the last sentence in the first paragraph, which concludes

      one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      And there’s the rub. The original source of the story is reporting what he was told. That sentence has two different readings, depending on who is doing the calling in the “is called” phrase, and how capitalization and quote signs were spoken verbally to the reporter.

      If the group was really called “Friends of Hamas” then the sentence could simply read “One of the names is ‘Friends of Hamas’.”

      If that’s not meant to be the name of the group then the sentence would be clearer as “One of the names listed is a group said to be friends of Hamas,” or even “One of the names listed is a group purportedly called friends of Hamas,” where the “called” refers to our own government, our intelligence agencies, or some other Senators, not the Arab group itself.

      Given that the last version of the sentence, when spoken, is the same as the version being derided, I’d suggest sitting on the story until something more comes out. This could be a case of madly Googling a turn of phrase instead of an actual name.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        If you’re saying that Shapiro shouldn’t have “reported” something he couldn’t possibly verify, we’re in complete agreement. And if you’re saying further that the right-wing sites who couldn’t wait to link to it should have tried to verify it first, we’re still in complete agreement. But you deal with the right-wing noise machine you have, not the one you might want or wish to have after hell freezes over.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          You know it seems to me they give these terrorist sympathizers now-a-days very peculiar names, like the first one, Who, are friends of Hamas.

          The first one are named “Friends of Hamas”.


          I mean the group’s name.



        • Avatar George Turner says:

          I think you’ve got it.

          It’s far more likely that he infered a capitol F and wrote it up that way, than that someone made up an entirely new terrorist group with a bizarrely peculiar name knowing that the full story would probably land within the week. It also seems likely that the original source was not naming names, just hinting at what was about to be discovered, in which case it would actually be unlikely that they’d go ahead and name the name of the organization instead of describing its associations.

          Once a reporter puts it in print, everyone else is free to run with it. I don’t know of many bloggers or journalists who wait to verify a press story that was based on a leak, since they can’t gain direct access to the leaker. Instead they run with it and hurl questions at the unfortunate politicians caught up in the mistake.

          If my theory is right, then Ben Shapiro’s screw up was probably misunderstanding what was being said or implied, and then not double checking to see if the organization he assumed existed did in fact exist. The bloggers screw up was also not checking to see if such an organization existed, and whether “Friends of Hamas” was more likely to be a description or a slur than the name of a registered charity or a non-profit corporation. The left-wing screw up was reflexively forming a circular firing squad around a bizarre McCarthyite conspiracy theory instead of wondering if maybe Shapiro simply misunderstood whether his source was annunciating a capital F or a small f, and whether perhaps Hagel really has been taking money from a group that’s friends with Hamas, which isn’t the least bit unlikely depending on how widely you want to stretch the term “friend.”Report

  6. Plus One Fishing Infinity for the Ben Kweller reference. I saw him in DC about 10 years ago opening for Jeff Tweedy. It was a great show.Report

  7. Avatar dhex says:

    that was a solid apology/re-edit there, mr. kelly.Report

  8. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Okay, so they don’t exist. But maybe the unnamed source actually said Frenemies of Hamas? It could be confusing because they’d look like a Hamas supporting group, but perhaps they make cutting comments that undermine Hamas’s self-esteem. They could be on our side. I’m just saying let’s not rule anything out.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    By the way, this same Ben Shapiro is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the next GOP Republican convention (replacing Karl Rove). We wish them all godspeed on their headlong dash to irrelevance.Report