The Appearance Of Impropriety

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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204 Responses

  1. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
    Ignored
    says:

    Considering Josh Marshall, Capehart, and Klein all live in DC, I have no doubt they’ve all visited the White House at the same time for meetings multiple times in the past 4 1/2 years. It’s just the first time a paranoid right-winger saw them enter the building.Report

  2. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Who is Capehart? I don’t know him although obviously i should.
    If it was just about repeating some phrases the admin wants i would think they could just use the intetoobz or have a conference call.
    How often did Bush have conser. media members in? Wouldn’t that add some context. My bet is Marshall and Klien will respond to the tweet. My guess is nobody will care.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Marshall tweeted something to the effect of “I love the smell of Right Wing Paranoia in the morning.”

      Iowahawk retweeted it and said “You’re an errand boy. Sent by grocery clerks.”Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Aside from Chris Hadfield’s tweets while he was on the ISS i’ve never had a desire to get on The Twitter. Nothing about this suggests i’m wrong.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          Greg’s alter ego points out that he looks down on twitter while chattering away on a blog and on IRC chat on Saturday nights. Then a knight in armour comes in and hits greg over the head with a dead chicken like on monty python.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I care so little about this stuff that I completely lost focus when I read what Iowahawk had tweeted, so that my only response is, Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids. Find someone else.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t mean to imply that I care so little about the press and power colluding, mind you. I care so little about 3 liberal pundits going to the White House, because I automatically assume the beltway press is colluding with power, and I automatically assume that even if they weren’t, they’d be so out of touch that no one would know the difference.

            Also, while the name Iowahawk makes me cringe, I will buy anyone who makes Colonel Kurtz references a beer.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
              Ignored
              says:

              Also, I don’t blame Marshall, Klein, and the other dude. In the business of Washington journalism (and it is a big business), you’d have to be a fool not to accept an invitation to the White House. Hell, I imagine that if Klein were in the habit of doing so, he wouldn’t have a job for long (the other dude might be more secure, I don’t know, ’cause I don’t know who he is). That’s how the system works, though. The collusion is implicit, it’s part of the process. The journalists, or more importantly their employers, want access, not just to the White House but to anyone who matters even a little, and access isn’t given for free. And why would we expect politicians give it away when they can get something for it? TNSTAAFL, right? It’s a system that continually breaks itself, unless you’re in the system, and then it works out just right.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Iowahawk -wasn’t he the guy who posted once on why polls were wrong and Romney was going to win?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m just cutting and pasting this: Jonathan Capehart is a member of the (Washington) Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog. He is also an MSNBC contributor, appearing regularly on Morning Joe and other dayside programs. Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Then Shapiro follows up with https://twitter.com/arishapiro/status/336959544586563584:

    For the record, Obama often does OTR sit-down sessions with columnists & reporters left, right & center. Nothing nefarious about it per se.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      what a douchenozzleReport

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, there ya go.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      Two hours between those tweets. I can imagine (easily!) that Shapiro thought that he was doing some inside baseball tweeting to a friendly audience and, of course, his tweet was picked up by Paranoid Right Wingers and Shapiro had to come out and say that Obama often does sit-down sessions with conservatives too.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Shapiro doesn’t know his tweets might go out to PRW’s? He doesn’t understand modern communications well enough to guess someone might take his first tweet in a certain way.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        How many other scenarios can you easily imagine that would account for all this, Jaybird? You’re a pretty creative guy. I’d bet 248. Atleast.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Wait a minite, aren’t you paranoid about the whole thing, Jaybird?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m one of those wackos who saw stuff like Journolist as collusion between journalists to shape stories in accordance with their ideology… you know, to talk about how stories ought to be covered, to figure out what the line on various topics were… and seeing a tweet that pointed out that left-leaning opinion columnists were invited to an OTR meeting at the White House made me wonder if there was going to be some sort of collusion in that same vein.

          But now I understand that Obama met with conservative columnists in 2009.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Wait, are you saying that journalists, during some period spanning from early 2009 to mid-2010, made a regular practice of getting together via newfangled communication technologies and talking about the news? And that those discussions had some effect in shaping their coverage?

            Jesus!Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m one of those wackos who thought Journolist was a way of being one of the cool kids, and that mostly it was job referrals, dirty jokes, and “Jesus, [Enter right-wing pundit name here] is an asshole!”. Though I expect they compared laptops and cell phone plans too.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              Yup. As I stated below, remember, these are all guys who shared apartments, went to college together, interned at the same places, and so on. The only difference between them and a fraternity was this was based on an email list. I’m sure there was a cocktail party in the mid-70’s where Buckley and Novak went off in a corner and called Walter Cronkite mean names or something like that. They weren’t engaging in a massive conspiracy.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                geez Jesse next you’ll be saying that a reporter for a major network who recently was in the news for using biased summaries of emails worked his way up with the help of an ideological group. Oh wait…that would be Jonathon Karl for ABC

                “Karl came to mainstream journalism via the Collegiate Network, an organization primarily devoted to promoting and supporting right-leaning newspapers on college campuses (Extra!, 9-10/91)-such as the Rutgers paper launched by the infamous James O’Keefe (Political Correction, 1/27/10). The network, founded in 1979, is one of several projects of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which seeks to strengthen conservative ideology on college campuses. William F. Buckley was the ISI’s first president, and the current board chair is American Spectator publisher Alfred Regnery. Several leading right-wing pundits came out of Collegiate-affiliated papers, including Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Michelle Malkin, Rich Lowry and Laura Ingraham (Washington Times, 11/28/04). The Collegiate Network also provides paid internships and fellowships to place its members at corporate media outlets or influential Beltway publications; 2010-11 placements include the Hill, Roll Call, Dallas Morning News and USA Today. The program’s highest-profile alum is Karl, who was a Collegiate fellow at the neoliberal New Republic magazine.”Report

  4. Avatar Michael Drew
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m confused. What conclusions does Shapiro come to in that tweet?

    One of the first things Obama did after getting elected was meet with a bunch of conservative columnists. Also creepy? What’s the creepy thing here?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
      Ignored
      says:

      He doesn’t come to any conclusions.

      It’s apparently a regular thing for the White House to have OTR sit-downs with journalists… which makes me perk up my ears a bit. That strikes me as… well, weird. Like a conflict of interest.

      Perhaps it’s just a case of bad timing.Report

  5. Avatar Creon Critic
    Ignored
    says:

    Kind of creepy? No. It seems like part of the job on the part of both politicians and on the part of pundits/reporters. Also hardly seems extraordinary, from 2009,

    Barack Obama took the next big step in his Republican charm offensive on Tuesday night, when he dined with several of the nation’s most prominent conservative pundits.

    The president-elect arrived at the Chevy Chase, Md., home of syndicated columnist George Will shortly after 6:30 p.m., according to a press pool report. Greeting him at the residence were other luminaries of the conservative commentariat, including the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.

    Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        No, it is part of Obama’s conspiracy with the reverse vampires, in conjunction with the RAND corporation, to use Ezra Klein and TPM to change the political discourse and the news cycle.

        We’re through the looking glass here people.Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Can you explain more about timing? Isn’t the White House, whatever the administration, constantly trying to get their message out? Amongst the means they’d use is off the record briefings, “on background”, and “on deep background” briefings. Or dinners, coffees, brunches, whatever. It is up to the journalists/pundits involved to sift through the, no-doubt self-serving, messages they receive. To me, the fact of various reporters/pundits being present doesn’t seem improper in and of itself. The reporters/pundits themselves can be judged on their product.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Creon Critic
          Ignored
          says:

          To me, the fact of various reporters/pundits being present doesn’t seem improper in and of itself.

          Perhaps you’re right. When you say “sift through the, no-doubt self-serving, messages they receive”, I find myself vaguely irritated at the thought of sympathetic reporters/opinion wonks getting these nuggets because my suspicion is that they’re going to be less critical of these self-serving messages than they ought to be.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I find myself vaguely irritated at the thought of sympathetic reporters/opinion wonks getting these nuggets because my suspicion is that they’re going to be less critical of these self-serving messages than they ought to be.

            Direct, honest, non-elliptical, not dependent on vague allusion… fair, even. Feels great, right?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            “Less critical … than they ought to be”? Huh? How critical are they supposed to be?Report

            • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Yeah, is it wrong for Obama to personally phone Ezra Klein and say “I want you to say such and such?”

              I doubt Obama does that a lot, but I am sure the politicians try to convince key media figures all the time. “You gotta say such and such.”

              The only thing that could be wrong is if Obama was coercing them with threats. S thatwhat you’re insinuating Jaybird?

              What would be wrong is if Klein just said it because he was told to do so, but that hardly seems like Klein’s style.

              And Marshall is already a pretty staunch Obama defender. No one from Obama’s team needs to tell and certainly not coerce Marshall into defending Obama.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              How critical are they supposed to be?

              Could we agree upon “critical enough to not just reprint a press release, let alone help write it”?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This doesn’t make any sense to me, JB. You know how incentives work, yes?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, yeah. I know that reporters are more than willing to sell their souls for access.

                What can one do in response other than opine forelorn on the intertubes?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What reason is there to think Klein has sold himself out?

                Marshall is a tougher case because he would sell our the left, but what reason is thee that he has sold out?

                That they spoke to the White House is all the evidence it aeems that you have, which is pretty sad.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, if you compare 2013 Ezra Klein to 2004 Ezra Klein who posted on the same blog as Amanda Marcotte, he has sold out a certain amount. Well, maybe if you’re a holier than thou lefty that is who thinks that if you don’t immediately call Paul Ryan an asshole during an interview, you’re a David Brooks style centrist sellout. 😛Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Shaz, I’m not making any comment on what those guys are doing. I don’t really know one way or the other. I’m just wondering why Jaybird thinks people in the private, for-profit media ought to be held to a higher standard than folks in other markets.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Because they have access?Report

              • Avatar Griff in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jesse, I suspect you’d be hard-pressed to find a 29-year-old whose opinions you can compare to his 20-year-old self and not conclude that he has “sold out a certain amount.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Because they have access?

                Why does access impose an obligation to be critical? Before this conversation, I would have thought you’d strenuously object to the suggestion that the granting of Access from a Source entails an obligation of any kind other than the implied or express terms of the agreement entered into.

                Personally, I’ve never been very convinced by the argument that individuals in the media have an obligation to be critical, or fair, or tell both sides of the story, or whatever. They don’t, it seems to me.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s the great thing about being a blogger. Gone is any pretence of objectivity. The press was never objective anyway and anyone ever thought it was is living in a dream world.

                Selling Out just means you’re capable of getting paid for what you do. The only people who use that phrase haven’t sold anything.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,
                if you can get paid for Qwikster, even better, no?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But you have no reason whatsoever to think that these three just blindly do what Obama wants. I could make a case for Marshall doing that, though he could attack from the left, but not Klein.

                They could be discussing things with the president or asking him questions. And if there is a news story, you can criticize the WH along these lines if and only if they avoid questions.

                You’ve jumped the gun and the shark all in one spectacular leap of insinuation.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                But you have no reason whatsoever to think that these three just blindly do what Obama wants.

                How’s this? A wager.

                If in the next few days, two of the three guys mentioned write a column on the same topic that have the same editorial slant, I get to say “I have reason whatsoever to think that the White House knew what they were doing when they invited these three guys.”

                If by, oh, Friday night, this has not happened, I will write a post, on the front page, linking to this post and apologizing for jumping to conclusions about Ezra Klein, Josh Marshall, and Jonathan Capehart’s integrity.

                Deal?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What if they all write some version of, “I went to the White House and listened to what they had to say about things. Here’s some of what they said. Here’s what I think about it.”

                Is there a lack of integrity in that… or not?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, if two of the three write that column, I will consider myself to have lost that bet and will write a post, on the front page, linking to this post and apologizing for jumping to conclusions about Ezra Klein, Josh Marshall, and Jonathan Capehart’s integrity.

                (Though I’d like at least one to mention how often these meetings happen. That wouldn’t be a condition on the bet, though.)Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                So are you saying that the determinant is more or less whether they acknowledge in their formal writing that the meeting happened, that the WH said X, and that they (claim to) have these independent thoughts about what was said?

                That seems fair to me. I am fairly confident that at least Klein and Marshall will do that (unless the entire meeting actually is off the record), and if not I suppose I’ll allow my estimation of them should drop a bit.

                In all honesty, though, I’m never going to get to a place where I have any kind of a real problem with journalists taking meetings, on the record or off, with people in government, ideologically aligned or opposed, where the people in government try to explain themselves to the journalists. All in all, I want that to happen. I’m not really clear how our mental models of how the press should work differ exactly, and I don’t really care. I just know that mine includes having meetings like that happen among some section of the press corps and the government with a fair degree of regularity as an optimum condition. It gets information from them to me; I appreciated it under Bush; I appreciate it under Obama. I feel perfectly positioned to then assess the veracity of that information, its meaning and how it’s presented, with the aid, via this great internet of ours, of any number of other journalists and commentators who, like me, weren’t asked to meet with the government, but who are likewise interested in what those who did learned, and are unencumbered in applying critical analysis to their reports. Without these meetings, it seems to me, there is less of that information to parse. This is just one more species of reporting that brings information to us, in my view. I don’t know why I should be bothered by this, or indeed not be glad it’s happening – whether these particular reporters are as critical after having this meeting of what is said in it as they should be or not. We have plenty who will be.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                So are you saying that the determinant is more or less whether they acknowledge in their formal writing that the meeting happened, that the WH said X, and that they (claim to) have these independent thoughts about what was said?

                Pretty much.

                But it seems that the general consensus is that “two of the three guys mentioned write a column on the same topic that have the same editorial slant” is par for the course, business as usual, how could you expect otherwise… rather than evidence of something untoward.Report

              • Avatar Alex Knapp in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                *raises hand*

                What if Shapiro was wrong, and they didn’t have a meeting with POTUS or anyone at the White House? In that case, there’s no way to judge the bet’s outcome.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe they were just there?Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe they were just there? For what, high tea service in the East Wing?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What?

                I’m not saying that the president isn’t trying to convince of them of such and such that they might end up agreeing with. That may or may not have happened.

                I’m saying that there is nothing wrong with doing so, unless force or coercion is involved, because Klein and Marshall get to use their own judgment about whether they age with whatever the WH is arguing with them about.

                If Will and Krauthammer had written about similar themes aftet dinner with Obama, because he convinced them to do so, that isn’t bad, because they would have used their judgment to write about something that was a reaction to what the WH argued.

                This is absurd, crazy stuff Jaybird.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                This is nothing against Jaybird, because I have tons of blind spots, but I really think he just doesn’t understand basic political reporting in the US has worked for decades at the very least. These meetings happen all the time, only instead of being in the White House, they’re in a restaurant over by Georgetown or during a cocktail party in Chevy Chase. Reporters, even those who may agree with the administration, meeting with the White House OTR is literally the least surprising thing I could hear about.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                No your bet doesn’t reflect how we disagree.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re not really proposing a deal. You’re just saying what you’ll do if X, or if Y. See:

                If in the next few days, two of the three guys mentioned write a column on the same topic that have the same editorial slant, I get to say “I have reason whatsoever to think that the White House knew what they were doing when they invited these three guys.”

                If by, oh, Friday night, this has not happened, I will write a post, on the front page, linking to this post and apologizing for jumping to conclusions about Ezra Klein, Josh Marshall, and Jonathan Capehart’s integrity.

                Maybe Shazbot has some reason to you following through on that, but I don’t see what it would be. If that’s what you want to do, then do it. In any case, whatever happens, you can say what you want anyway; Shazbot can’t do anything to change that. So why would he care to try?

                Also, incidentally, the “deal” you propose doesn’t address the challenge Shazbot actually proposed. He said, “But you have no reason whatsoever to think that these three just blindly do what Obama wants.” And you said in response, “If in the next few days, two of the three guys mentioned write a column on the same topic that have the same editorial slant, I get to say “I have reason whatsoever to think that the White House knew what they were doing when they invited these three guys.”” But “the White House knew what they were doing when they invited these three guys” is not the same as “these three just blindly do what Obama wants.” So even if it made sense for Shazbot to say he cares if you say that after Friday, he wouldn’t have reason to agree that that it speaks to the issue he raised. Hell, you might be able to get him just on supposition that, “the White House knew what they were doing when they invited these three guys.” But that doesn’t speak to whether he would have to agree that anything has demonstrated that, “”these three just blindly do what Obama wants.” Which is what he objected to, and which was something you pretty clearly suggested you think (he was responding to you comment that said, “How critical are they supposed to be? Could we agree upon “critical enough to not just reprint a press release, let alone help write it”?”, which suggests you suspect they won’t even be that critical.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                It seems to me that if they write similar columns on similar topics with a similar slant that I can come to the conclusion that they’re putting out the White House’s Press Release.

                The matter of disagreement seems to be on whether this is even particularly noteworthy.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                We can guess they’ll all comment on the IRS or AP in the next couple days, but i’m not sure that would prove all that much. Now would it?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether what is noteworthy? We don’t know whether that will happen yet. What people are saying is not noteworthy is the meeting. We don’t know what will be written yet; no one is saying it was or wasn’t noteworthy (it doesn’t exist yet). (It’s also worth pointing out that there weren’t just three – those were just the three that Shapiro saw and mentioned).

                I don’t agree that similar columns with similar slants amount to writing up a press release, though I don’t think it would reflect well on them compared to writing the kind of account I describe.

                And that still doesn’t add up to “these three just blindly do what Obama wants.” Which, it’s fair to say, is Shazbot’s characterization of your “press release” standard, not your own words, so if you just want to say, “I’m not saying that,” that’s great. But you did respond to it with the “wager” we’re talking about, not with a simple, “I’m not saying that,” so that’s why we’re here.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Seriously?

                You think you should conclude that anytime X, Y, and Z meet, if X and Y write similar essays/columns or have similar opinions. it is because Z told them to and they just do what Z says?

                You don’t leave it open as to whether X and Y agree in a way that disagrees with Z? Or that X and Y already believed what they did regardless of what they heard from Z? Or X and Y were convinced by Z, but wouldn’t have just said it because Z told them to do so?

                Jumping to conclusions.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                So the general consensus is that there is nothing that these three guys could be reasonably expected to print in the next three days that could reasonably be interpreted as them uncritically printing White House press releases?

                This is one of those things that bugs me more than it bugs anybody else, I guess.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                “Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                No one said that, Jay. But what you’re proposing here is a metaphor, not a fact. People will see, and not see, all manner of metaphors in things. I’m not saying it’s unreasonable for you to see it this way, but it’s just the way *you* see it; what’s happening is that people are declining to be told they should see it the same way. See it how you like. Just don’t insist that it is and must be seen that way.

                It’s your preferred metaphor. That’s what it is.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, it may bug you more or it may not, but declining to view columns like the ones you describe as press releases doesn’t indicate that one way or the other. Too much is riding on that particular preferred metaphor in this for you. IMO. As I’ve made clear.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                just reprint a press release, let alone help write it

                What about going to a meeting at the White House implies that this is what someone will do?Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            This is how political reporting has worked…forever. Literally, forever. Dudes with a stolen printed press in late 1780’s French probably met in secret meetings with a friendly noble.Report

          • Avatar Creon Critic in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I find myself vaguely irritated at the thought of sympathetic reporters/opinion wonks getting these nuggets because my suspicion is that they’re going to be less critical of these self-serving messages than they ought to be.

            Once the message is out then the larger press corps can then scrutinize anything of significance.

            Not sure if this is just self evident and thus doesn’t need to be said at all, but I’d underscore the point that speaking on the record vs. off the record is like speaking two different languages. A government official can speak like an actual human being off the record, while you, more often than not, get the most precise phrasing possible on the record. In short, on the record “the megaphone is always on”.

            Sort of for the same reason that non-papers exist in the diplomatic world, to aid in actual communication without all the commitments, precision, and caveats that’d have to go into on the record/formal exchanges. My for instance would be an initially off the record discussion between Obama and the Des Moines Register editorial board (via CNN. Just fyi, the Register ultimately endorsed Romney).Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Creon Critic
          Ignored
          says:

          He probably wanted to tell them, before the next bombshell lands, that their phones, houses, cars, desks, wives’ undergarments, and personal electronics have all been bugged by the DoJ for the past three years to find out who had been complaining about the coffee machines in the White House press room.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Creon Critic
          Ignored
          says:

          Creon Critic has this exactly right. The press and the prez have a relationship that’s partly symbiotic, partly parasitic. They need each other–access to the prez or his inner circle makes top news fodder for the press, and the prez needs the press to help him communicate to the public: he can’t just do it directly all the time, the public tunes out if the prez goes on TV too often, so he tries to do it indirectly, by getting the press to repeat his talking points (of course he ultimately can’t control what they say, but they do fear losing access).

          This may be a type of collusion over narrative, as Jaybird suggests, but it’s less a conspiracy of like-minded people than a mixed-motive game (one where the players have some common interests and some competing ones). And while I wouldn’t criticize anyone who doesn’t much like it, no president can be successful without playing this game (which in itself may be the reason to dislike it).Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m unsure why you would find this creepy. It seems like the most likely explanation is they were called in to be given interviews with key people in an attempt to get the WH message out… yes?

    Is this a thing you find creepy? If so, why so? Or is there a more nefarious scenario you see I’m missing?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, the most likely explanation is that they were called in to be given interviews with key people in an attempt to get the WH message out.

      I suppose my irritation is due to my suspicion that the WH knew exactly who to invite in order to best ensure that the WH message will get out there.

      It shouldn’t be the job of journalists to print press releases.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        So you are suggesting some sort of mandate or rule regarding who gov officials can be interviewed by. My guess is if one of the Paul’s wants to get a message out they don’t call The Nation, Mother Jones or Washington Monthly. I’d also go so far to say that the Libertarian party prez candidate gives more interviews to libertarian friendly places then others.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          So you are suggesting some sort of mandate or rule

          I assure you that *MY* response is *NOT* some sort of mandate or rule.

          I imagine you’re projecting.

          I’d also go so far to say that the Libertarian party prez candidate gives more interviews to libertarian friendly places then others.

          I imagine the Libertarian party prez candidate wishes that more people showed up to his press conferences than Reason and/or Cato.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            What? The LP candidate goes to Reason and Cato. I wonder if they have lunch or dinner or just some chit chat after the interviews or if they see each other at the parties of common friends.

            But anyway, the DC/national press is way to deferential to whoever is the prez. They should be more adversarial and care less about access. However that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to have direct conversations with office holders nor is it improper for them to meet. If they meet with the gov it shouldn’t be a secret which this clearly wasn’t. Unless of course Ari was stalking someone. Not that i’m suggesting he was stalking Josh Marshall. I’m just, you know, asking if that could have been a possibility. There is nothing wrong with asking a questionReport

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        “It shouldn’t be the job of journalists to print press releases.”

        Well, no. But I don’t think I understand the ethical difference between sitting in a room of 40 asking questions and getting carefully prepared answers and sitting in a room of two asking questions getting carefully prepared answers.

        And my thoughts about the roll of the press may be different from yours – and really, most other people I read on the ‘tubes. I get the sense that people on the right and left feel like the press should be hostile to elected officials – that if you’re not taking government officials down you’re not doing your job. I don’t feel that way; in fact I think such a thing would be highly destructive. I don’t always agree with everything a government administrations does, but I just don’t see their putting positive spin on what they do as evil – any more than I think corporations are evil for saying things to the public that make them look good rather than bad. And while I think investigative journalism has it’s VERY IMPORTANT place, so too does chronicling what any White House wants to communicate to the public.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        But there is no evidence that the White House is avoiding tough questions from the press here. The is evidence that the White House talked to two left wing (though Capehart is an interesting guy in his views) and one centrist journalist. They may be considering some argument aimed at their left flank. Maybe Obama wants to push more SS cuts and wants to see how these three will react in argument.

        If there is a message coming out of this, it will only be weird if the WH avoids questions. There is no evidence they are doing that at all here.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Shazbot5
          Ignored
          says:

          Maybe Obama wants to push more SS cuts and wants to see how these three will react in argument.

          If he did that, then tomorrow all three will write that he’s totally delusional and out of touch with the crisis within his own administration. O_oReport

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Shazbot5
          Ignored
          says:

          BTW, my guess is that he’s asking them if they and their fellow journalists still have any faith in his press secretary, and if not, would any of them accept the job or have suggestions for someone from outside the administration who would. He might have a resignation letter sitting on his desk awaiting his signature, or could be hearing rumors of one, or have gotten a notice that his current press secretary would like to pursue other endeavors.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I suppose my irritation is due to my suspicion that the WH knew exactly who to invite in order to best ensure that the WH message will get out there.

        I’ll admit I can’t grok why the WH not being strategically incompetent is an irritant. As little as I like the presidency, I think I still prefer that it be run by people who are in fact capable of finding their ass with both hands.Report

      • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Then tell the folks running the Money/Finance section to either shit or get off the pot.
        They’re FAR worse than the political journalists.Report

  7. Avatar Heisenberg
    Ignored
    says:

    Psst…. guys. Don’t tell Jaybird that a bunch of TECH JOURNALISTS went to a big meeting today with Microsoft that was all about Microsoft’s new product. He might find it creepy and be turned off of video games forever!Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Heisenberg
      Ignored
      says:

      Heck, a lot of game journalists went to an “off the record” meeting last week and saw new games that won’t be revealed until E3. And they are even waiting until these new games are revealed by the companies instead of revealing it immediately!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Heisenberg
      Ignored
      says:

      Heisenberg, you raise an interesting point: can you see the difference between having a big meeting where Tech Journalists were invited and a closed-door meeting where the biggest and baddest 360Ruelz/PS3Druelz bloggers went to?

      Do you think I can find a couple of those “tech journalists” who wrote articles criticizing Microsoft’s New And Improved Xbox One?Report

      • Avatar Heisenberg in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        As Jesse noted, they do have those closed door meetings. And you know what – sometimes those journalists still write critical articles.

        I remember when several different game journalists got “exclusive” looks at Duke Nuk’em Forever (like the guys at Maximum PC) who still had no problem trashing the game when it came out. It happens all the time.

        There’s nothing wrong with a closed door meeting per se. What matters is what the journalist does with it. Klein and Marshall are lefties for sure, but they’re also really good journalists. They’re not narrative water carriers like, say, Eric Erickson on the right.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Well i could point you to sportswriters who cover the Phillies who get to talk to the players, ride on the team plane, talk to the management and still report that the Phabulous Phillies still suck and blow.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m sure there were tech reporters who got double-secret sneak previews of Windows 8, and I’m also sure lots of them panned it.Report

  8. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    So a 16 word tweet has led to, up till now, 71 comments. Technology certainly does lead to productivity.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Okay. I went upstairs and talked to Maribou and said “Harper invited the two biggest opinion columnists from the two most Conservative papers in Canada for a closed-door meeting.”

    She asked me “Do you even know what the two most Conservative papers in Canada are?”

    I said “The Canada Post and… one of those tabloidy ones?” and she said “The Globe and Mail is pretty much center-right.”

    “Anyway,” I went on, “he’s having a meeting with these guys. Is that creepy?”

    She shrugged. “I’m sure Obama meets with liberal columnists. Is that creepy?”

    So… I have a pretty strong data point that this sort of thing is, in fact, business as usual.

    And now I’m stuck feeling like the only guy in the room who thinks that business as usual is pretty effed up.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Woot Team Maribou rocks.Report

    • Avatar Creon Critic in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      business as usual is pretty effed up.

      The thing I’d point to in order to make that point is beat sweeteners. Much more sketchy quid pro quo stuff going on there, Here’s Yglesias,

      Atrios alluded to this the other day, but part of the peculiar set of institutions that constitutes “journalistic ethics” is the idea of a “beat-sweetener.” This means that when a new set of powerful people is put into place, and most of all when a new presidential administration comes to DC, you see a flurry of journalists penning lavishly flattering profiles of different key players. The idea is that the key player in question and his staff will then become a useful source of future information. I don’t think anyone ever quite admits that a piece they’ve handed in is a beat-sweetener, but people in the game generally know one when they see one and it’s frequently joked about and so forth.

      Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s totally business as usual, and as long as our leaders try to woo friendly reporters instead of jailing unfriendly ones, we’re ahead of the game.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ll just echo was others have said, this is some pretty weak sauce, Mr. J. It’s not even sauce, it’s dehydrated water.

    Presidents meet with all kinds of people of all kinds of inclinations all the time. That’s their job.Report

  11. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve met Ezra Klein. He’s a nice guy. He doesn’t deserve the thankless task of being White House press secretary. Plus we’d lose Wonkblog, which is more informative than the entire rest of the WaPo put together.

    So anyway, I hope that theory is wrong.Report

  12. Avatar Alex Knapp
    Ignored
    says:

    I think the primary problem with your criticism, Jaybird, is that it’s too vague.

    Is it your position that journalists should never meet with sources off the record?

    Is it your position that political journalists should always have an antagonistic relationship with politicians?

    If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then why do you think this will produce superior journalism? Can you please provide examples of journalists who followed the above rules and criteria by which to judge whether their journalism is superior?

    If the answer to the first question is “no”, then by what criteria should we judge when an OTR meeting is appropriate? And why should we expect that criteria to produce superior political journalism?

    If the answer to the second question is “no”, then by what criteria should we judge non-antagonistic political journalism? And why should we expect that criteria to produce superior political journalism?

    Just thinking that it’s “creepy” or “off” is what’s creating the confusion in the comments. Can you clarify your thinking for us?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Alex Knapp
      Ignored
      says:

      I have been thinking about this and my response is more like this:

      It seems to me that, in general, Fox News is held in mild contempt. “Fair and Balanced, my ass!”, is one of the more lighthearted criticisms I’ve heard.

      This sort of thing strikes me as Foxy… just Fair and Balanced on the other side. It makes me wonder if the contempt for Fox is based not upon any particular ideal but on little more than the fact that they’re “on the other side”.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        It makes me wonder if the contempt for Fox is based not upon any particular ideal but on little more than the fact that they’re “on the other side”.

        Todd has written a series of columns here criticizing Fox News, and I don’t believe a single one of them was attacking Fox News for the kind of access they have with politicians or their OTR meetings. Rather, his criticisms of Fox were entirely for their misleading and sensationalized reporting. So let’s be really optimistic and assume that Todd’s contempt for Fox is the general type of contempt for Fox; if such a contemptuous person sees nothing untoward in this meeting with Obama, are they still being a hypocrite?

        Personally, when I see a politician providing access only to friendly sources, the only contempt I have is for the politician themselves. It means their policy is still fragile or their rhetorical skills not good enough to defend it from serious criticism. But my contempt for a reporter is based on the quality of their reporting, not on who they get to talk to.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          Rather, his criticisms of Fox were entirely for their misleading and sensationalized reporting.

          What would the flip side of misleading and sensationalized reporting be? From where I sit, it seems like it’s be uncritical repeating of talking points given by the government because one was ideologically sympathetic.

          If that’s not what the flip side would be, what *WOULD* the flip side be?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            From where I sit, it seems like it’s be uncritical repeating of talking points given by the government because one was ideologically sympathetic.

            Which, at this point, is purely an assumption on your part.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              Let’s assume, for a moment, that Josh Marshall and Ezra Klein are ideologically neutral and should not be assumed to be on the left at all.

              I’m just asking what the flip side of the coin of Fox would look like.

              Is it the case that Fox exists in a special evil place where there is no flip side of what they are doing?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re convicting those three guys of slanting their stories because of this meeting based on no evidence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s stop talking about these three guys! They’re unimpeachable! Or whatever that word is!

                I’m just asking what the flip side of the coin of Fox would look like.

                Is it the case that Fox exists in a special evil place where there is no flip side of what they are doing?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well they aren’t office holders so they are actually unimpeachable. Is Fox specially evil: no. They are a conservative news outlet that will slant coverage to help who they want to win and to support they preferred narrative. Is that evil: no. Does everybody have their own biases and views: yes. Are some people honest about coming from a viewpoint, yes. Do TPM or EK claims to be F and B or admit they have viewpoints. It’s the latter. So the question then becomes are people saying what they are saying to advance the narrative of their team or because of their own views. I’d say it is really really hard to tell the difference and requires more minding reading then most of us can do. In fact it requires mind reading and ascribing motivations to people. Do you think the motives you ascribe to people and how you read their minds is influenced by your own views or are you completely Fair and Balanced when looking into peoples minds and divining their hidden motives?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Fox slants their news whether they’ve had special access recently or not. There are pro-Democratic news organizations that slant their news whether they’ve had special access recently or not. They are the flip side of Fox.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I see uncritical reporting as just another facet of the “misleading” spectrum (that is, I think the editorial content at MSNBC is also frequently misleading and sensationalized) but I get your point. Still, the problem in both instances is entirely in the reporting and not the access. The way I understand your argument is:

            1. Journalists are contemptible when they simply transcribe presidential talking points because they’re on the same side.
            2. Some like-minded journalists get OTR access to the president.
            3. (2) significantly increases the chance of (1) happening. Therefore (2) is bad.

            And my read on it is that the actual reporting trumps (2) as an indicator of (1) every single time, so unless the reporting is suggesting some bias (2) should not be a concern. It’s not something I worry about when Shepard Smith is having POTUS coffee with Bush or when Ezra Klein is having POTUS beer with Obama.Report

    • Avatar Aidian Holder in reply to Alex Knapp
      Ignored
      says:

      Is it your position that political journalists should always have an antagonistic relationship with politicians?

      “The only way a reporter should look at a politician is down.”
      H.L. MenckenReport

  13. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    fwiw…today on TPM Josh M is saying Lois Lane….urrr i mean Lois Lerner, the irs person who is taking the 5th, should be immediately let go. clearly he is an Obot. Ahh but Ezra K is also saying she should be fired. So i guess this validates the conspiracy theorists or not.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      They’re writing similar columns today? Huh.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        yeah both calling for the IRS person to be fired….how can that not be a conspiracy.Report

        • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          If Lois “Lane” gets fired, then no need to dig any further. Throw a journalist a bone, then they don’t go digging for the real meat.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Wardsmith
            Ignored
            says:

            Exactly ward.If she gets fired everybody will stop investigating and she can’t be charged with crimes and the entire thing will go away. That is precisely how this works.

            actually blaming lizard people would make more sense ward.Report

            • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Greg, you’re such a devout partisan you can’t see the forest for the trees. Looking in my crystal ball Obama will be able to claim that he is shocked, shocked that shenanigans were going on under his administration and will likewise claim with a perfectly straight face that he and his party and his presidential race benefited not at all. Meanwhile he will pocket his winnings.

              His sycophant useful idiot drones in the press will parrot whatever claptrap he spews as Gospel from on high and meantime he will pray to the god he doesn’t believe in that some actress gets caught doing something untoward in public to distract the masses from all of this. Actresses, being actresses will undoubtedly oblige. 🙂Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                ward….thats all great except none of that is proven. I get you will believe that no matter what. this is all going to be investigated regardless of whether LL is fired or not. Her being fired is irrelevant to the DOJ and congressional investigations.

                ummm actresses….huh?Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                There are only 3 million federal government bureaucrats, so of course every prez knows what’s going on with each one at all times, and nothing happens without both his knowledge and approval. In fact Obama personally ordered the Secret Service to hire hookers.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to J@m3z Aitch
                Ignored
                says:

                And not to pay them. Who says he’s not serious about the deficit?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                I now comprehend the importance of making sure that Obama’s directly tied to this: it’s reason to continue believing his presidency is ‘illegitimate.’

                thanks, Wardsmith for that insight.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Did a single one of you partisans even bother to click on my link referenced here?

                Would any of you care to explain why the president – the PRESIDENT gets to have a “non political” 501-c(4) whose obvious purpose is political?

                J@m3z, this wasn’t some “low level functionary”, this is a woman IN CHARGE of deciding who gets to receive 501-c(4) designation! Furthermore she testified MULTIPLE TIMES in front of Congress that there was nothing untoward going on under her watch. It is not without reason that she plead the 5th today. This is all Chicago style politics, unfortunately the mobsters from Chicago are unaware that home court rules don’t always apply.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Ward, I can’t say anything considerate in response. I’ll leave it at that, and leave you to your beliefs.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Ward you are so close. Lots of 50x groups are really political groups that get a tax exempt status due to convoluted laws. Part of Karl Rove’s PAC has tax exempt status for accomplishing social goals. Do you think Rove’s PAC wasn’t pushing a political agenda. Do you really think that of all those TP groups some weren’t political. Of course O took advantage of those laws just like Rove and TP groups and all sorts of others. The problem is to many tax exemptions and that they were written to give political groups cover to get tax exempt status.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                If the law were enforced evenhandedly there wouldn’t be a story here. Like the link to his Airness, he blatantly threw a punch in a game and by all the rules of basketball he should have been ejected. He wasn’t and there isn’t one (non partisan) observer on the planet who agrees with that decision. However if you’re a Bulls(hit) fan, no problemo.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes the rules should be enforced evenly regardless of how poorly they are set up. No argument there.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          Do you think she should be fired, Greg?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            It would depend on what is said specifically about what she had or hadn’t done in the IG report. It is understood that appointed heads of departments may be removed if there is a poop storm. Its not always fair but that is the way it works. She wasn’t an appointed person, so she needs to be treated as any other civil service type would be. If the IG report found she has massively screwed up, lied big time or committed some other serious infraction then yes she should be fired. If the IG report didn’t find her culpable then no she should be made another sacrifice due to all the chum in the water. The DOJ has started a criminal probe so she may be vulnerable there.Just taking the 5th should not lead someone to be fired. If it did than that significantly lowers the protection the 5th offers and assumes some level of guilt.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        FTR Josh Marshall was tweeting to the effect that he thought Lerner had to go if she was going to take the 5th on Tuesday evening: https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/336997033573482496

        The timing does make it possible that this was discussed in the meeting, judging by the time of Shapiro’s tweet. Marshall’s tweets don’t really look that way to me, but that’ll depend on how one is inclined to look.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        JB,

        I’m seeing enough convergence around the “Lerner must go” meme to make me think it would be reasonable for you to claim to have won the wager on that basis. So, out of curiosity, are you doing so? I can’t quite tell if your comment here is tongue in cheek or not. It’s not the coordination I’d have expected, and I get the sense it’s not what you would have either, but it does look like something that could reasonably be seen as coordination to me.

        That doesn’t mean that I’m convinced that what was done was get people coordinated around that message at the meeting. We won’t know that until we get accounts of it, which, disappointingly, don’t look to be forthcoming like I expected. But, by the terms of your prediction, I’d have to say that you can claim to have some support for your view of the meeting on this basis.

        I’m still deciding whether I think this is creepy or not. But like you, I’d also like to know how much it happens on the lefty side of the punditosphere.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
          Ignored
          says:

          …Well, actually, wait. That’ll teach me not to check facts for myself.

          If this is what Greg was referring to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/22/yes-heads-should-roll-at-the-irs/

          …then I’m not sure I can agree that there is a “fire Lerner” meme being put forward on the basis of what Marshall and Klein have written. There’s a “fire Lerner cuz pleading the Fifth on this is untenable while she’s in her position” meme, and a “what happened at the IRS is, however difficult it is to do, sufficient for people to be fired” meme.

          I can see an argument that Marshall’s piece and this one have some degree of similar directionality to them. But I don’t see a coordinated message here, I don’t particularly see a similar editorial slant, and I certainly don’t see a couple of reporters “uncritically printing White House press releases.” I mean, they’re not actually saying the same thing.

          I may not be seeing the Klein item in question, though.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
          Ignored
          says:

          …But I do remain open to further evidence, and I have seen some (in fact it was another instance of the meme – David Cay Johnsoton on MSNBC, though he may well have been calling for Lerner’s head, and was certainly calling for firings, well before Tuesday afternoon – that prompted me to write the above). I just wrote the clarification to say that, after reading that Klein post, it looked less like a coordinated message re: Lerner in particular than it had when I thought it directly called for her head in chorus with Marshall.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
          Ignored
          says:

          The co-ordination that I expected was (cutting and pasting):

          If in the next few days, two of the three guys mentioned write a column on the same topic that have the same editorial slant, I get to say “I have reason whatsoever to think that the White House knew what they were doing when they invited these three guys.”

          If by, oh, Friday night, this has not happened, I will write a post, on the front page, linking to this post and apologizing for jumping to conclusions about Ezra Klein, Josh Marshall, and Jonathan Capehart’s integrity.

          And we then added an addendum from you: if they wrote a column saying “I went to the White House and we talked about X and here’s what I think about that”, I’d consider them to have maintained their integrity and I’d write the apology column under those circumstances too.

          Looking back, I don’t see that anyone took my bet… we were too busy hammering out whether it’d be surprising at all to see two of the three guys write columns on the same topic that have the same editorial slant. The conclusion was that it wouldn’t indicate anything at all.

          But if you are seeing some form of a meme being pushed out, I’d say that similar columns on similar topics with similar slants has enough overlap with that to say “dang, I wish someone took the bet and that you were the judge!”Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Right. No, I was just wondering if you took where things stand now as vindication or not. The bet was just about what you could or couldn’t say… which you have control over anyway. No one actually had to offer anything up to you if you were to win it. So you have full control over whether you follow through or not… iow, you still can, even though no one took you up. You’re not going to not get anything that you would have gotten had someone taken you up – not even a concession that you’re right; that’s not what you put on the line. So I’m just wondering if what you’re seeing now is enough that you could be saying the thing that winning the bet would have allowed you to say (which you always could have said… or not… whether anyone took you up on the bet or not… and whether you won it, or not).Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
              Ignored
              says:

              If someone else who would have been skeptical two days ago is seeing it today?

              That’s vindication enough for me. Of course *I* would see what I expect to see. It’s when the skeptics say “you know what? That’s a lot of columns coming out at the same time…” that I get to not feel crazy.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’m asking what you’d be saying based on the actual facts we’re discussing and that I’m frankly offering my assessment of (which you’re already mischaracterizing), not based on my reaction in addition to those facts.

                If you’re not up to that, and just more interested in throwing my forthrightness and openness to persuasion back in my face, then fine.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know how to characterize what you’re seeing, I guess.

                You seem to be saying that you’re seeing enough of something that you wouldn’t be surprised if I would say that I won the bet had someone accepted it, right?

                For me, the fact that someone would say “I see how Jay would say that there’s evidence out there for his position” without me saying it first is good enough for me. Should I have a higher standard than that?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m wondering what you’d actually say about the facts we’ve seen so far if I weren’t saying anything, but as I say, you don’t seem interested in thinking about the actual substance – all that apparently matters is what I (might have) said. Which, as I said, is fine.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Jay-many people were calling for firing and jail time before “the meeting.” So how do you distinguish coordination from doing what everybody else is doing already. They certainly couldn’t have come out with an opinion on taking the 5th last week, because that issue hadn’t come up until she announced she would take the 5th. Are all right wingers coordinating their message when they say O should be impeached or that there should be jail time or a million other things. Really, if you say there is hidden coordination here then i could fill up a couple dozen comment threads per week with the same level of “coordination” among RW radio hosts alone.

            Seeing coordinated messages is to much of just looking at a Rorschach. There are only so many opinions out there and you can match up just about any opinion you want.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              We’ll eventually find out what was said at the meeting because at least one of participants will write a book about this whole ordeal, maybe even two of them. Plus a couple books from Obama, and a couple more from his press secretary, plus a couple more from …Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Is there, to your mind, anything improper about the government co-ordinating a message with ideologically sympathetic opinion makers?

              If so, could you describe what an improper co-ordination would look like in practice? (If there isn’t anything improper about the former, ignore this question.)Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              The gov can’t coordinate a message by itself. I don’t have a problem with a gov putting out press release or having spokesmen. I don’t want the press to serve that function. My point it that it is difficult to tell when there is coordination or not. Very difficult. How do i tell the difference between saying what the gov wants and someone own belief? I’m not that good at mind reading. I’d want to see a long track record of similar statements, aversion to criticism of the gov and opinions that change along with the gov. How do you read the mind of people?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, one thing I figure I can do as a loosey-goosey guideline is see if there are meetings that people go to and then see if there are messages that overlap with each other in the days that follow.

                I say “what would Bad Actors look like?” and then see if there’s an answer even if theory. Then I compare the actors to the theoretical Bad Actors and see how much overlap there is.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So i guess you are now sure pretty much the entire right wing of the country is coordinating messages since they are raising the same claims and issues. So you are also reading minds of those involved. I believe Andy Sullivan has called for firings but he wasn’t involved in the big meeting so did he just get an e-mail or appear by hologram or his an honest opinion. Does it matter what the content of the”message” is and if it would help or hurt the admin? One hint, someone can turn every message into something that can be argued with support an admin.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                If that is how we have defined “bad acting”, I guess I have no choice but to agree.

                Is that how we’ve defined “bad acting”?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well do you mean John Travolta levels of bad acting?

                But really much of this is simply a Rorschach. If you want to see collusion, like in the original tweet, then you will. Any message will be seen as something that is helping the admin, any opinion, no matter how widely shared, popular or actually reasonable, will be water carrying. It is a non falsifiable assertion.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d like to think that reasonable people could pull the whole “veil of ignorance” crap and agree that there is, in fact, bad behavior and the bad behavior would have the following traits: X, Y, Zed.

                We could then ask whether this behavior here has traits X, Y, Zed.

                Sure, we could also discuss whether traits X, or Y, or Zed could all show up, independently of bad action. We could talk about how X is not measurable. We could talk about how Y is something that people do all the time and nobody thinks it’s bad. We can talk about how Zed is something that both sides do and so it’s okay.

                But I’d still like to think that it might be possible to come up with a list of things that we could agree would be bad without knowing whether we’re talking about Rush Limbaugh or Ezra Klein before removing the veil.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                this won’t settle anything re: this discussion. But its funny and gets a point for self-awareness. From TPM
                http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/05/hes_no_water_carrier.php?ref=fpblgReport

  14. Avatar Barry
    Ignored
    says:

    This is another fun one (I was too busy today to weigh in, and besides, it’s less fun that before).
    A president invites a couple of (presumably friendly) journalists for a chat, and suddenly it’s Glenn Beck Asylum.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      You know, if the good thing that comes out of this is the sheer number of OTR meetings journalists have with the president start being reported, I think I’m cool with that.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t think the meetings have ever been secret at all. I know i’ve heard about this person/group or that meeting with the prez many times. They have to sign in to get into the WH, so its not really hidden. Just like Ari said in his follow up, there was never anything odd or unusual about it at all.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          No, the secret meeting are with lobbyists, not journalists, e.g. the Jack Abramoff visits that the Bush administration did its best to cover up, or Cheney’s Energy Task Force, whose members never have been officially revealed.Report

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