I have stayed out of the JournoList brouhaha and I intend to continue to do so. I did want to highlight what I think is a rather perceptive observation by James DeLong:
For anyone who has been in a cave, JournoList was an invitation-only email discussion group among “progressive” journalists and academics on which they exchanged candid views on the state of the nation and discussed the themes that should be pushed or suppressed as dictated by the needs of the movement.
The conservative Daily Caller is now publishing emails exchanged on JournoList, with a focus on the more sensational of the collection. (At least, one hopes that Daily Caller is picking the most sensational; one would hate to think that what it is publishing was the run of the mill.)
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with birds of a feather flocking together. I routinely engage in discussions with various free-market types who are not always complimentary of those who disagree with us. Equally obviously, there is nothing wrong with opinion writers honing their thoughts on each other, or with people who see the world in a certain way discussing their insights.
The real problem with JournoList is that much of it consisted of exchanges among people who worked for institutions about how to best hijack their employers for the cause of Progressivism. Thus, the J-List discussion revealed yesterday in the Daily Caller was about how the group could get their media organizations to play down the Reverend Wright affair and help elect Barack Obama.
Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds
The emphasis is mine. That’s something I have seen at companies of all sizes: employees who aren’t in policy-making positions making company policy whether by omission or commission. I think it’s a serious problem. I have typically found it to be symptomatic of poor management.
Now it may be that those on the list were just doing what their employers wanted them to do. Or it may be that the ambitions of those on the list weren’t compatible with their roles. I have no way of knowing. But a good manager shouldn’t want his employees setting policy for him. That’s true whether we’re talking about a manufacturer or a newspaper.