Published July 20, 2010
A group of liberal journalists in 2008 sought to sweep under the rug the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scandal that threatened to derail then-Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, according to documents obtained by The Daily Caller, an online publication founded by Tucker Carlson, a conservative contributor for Fox News.
The documents offer evidence to conservative critics who have long held that the mainstream media were in the tank for Obama, and bolsters the argument that reporters with major news outlets are biased in their coverage.
Journalists working for Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic expressed outrage over the tough questioning Obama received from ABC anchors Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos at a debate and some of them plotted to protect Obama from the swirling controversy, according to the Daily Caller.
Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent pressed his fellow journalists to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by shifting topics to one of Obama's conservative critics, the Daily Caller reported.
"Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares – and call them racists," Ackerman wrote.
Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, urged his fellow members of Journolist, a private listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, to do "what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have."
"This isn't about defending Obama," he wrote. "This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people."
The Journolist members went as far as issuing a statement – one that was shaped with the help of Jared Bernstein who went on to become Vice President Biden's top economist -- calling the debate "a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world."
Journolist was shut down last month after leaks exposing member Dave Wiegel's scornful remarks of conservatives led to his resignation at the Washington Post as a blogger covering the conservative movement.