According to multiple reports this week, Mitt Romney met with conservative bloggers and online writers in an effort to win over their election support and to discuss messaging for the campaign, as well as ways Romney could work more closely with bloggers. The meeting was held in secret and attendees were not allowed to write about it.
From Michael Calderone at The Huffington Post [emphasis added]:
"The basic message I got is the primary's over and we want you on our side and working with the campaign," said one attendee. Another described the meeting as "sort of an olive branch to conservative media."
Romney told attendees that it will be tough getting the campaign's message across through mainstream media in a general election, presumably because of the assumption shared by conservatives that political journalists are likely to put their thumb on the scale for Obama.>
Among those reportedly in attendance were representatives from the Daily Caller and Breitbart.com
The irony here is that during the summer of 2010 the Daily Caller and the Breitbart sites trumpeted for the weeks as very big news the fact that there once existed a private listserv where left-leaning opinion writers, activists, and academics engaged in running debates about current events.
Sounds innocuous, right?
According to Daily Caller and the Breitbart sites though, the forum, known as Journolist, represented the very epicenter of a vast left-wing cabal where news of the day was somehow filtered through the Democratic National Committee before being reported to the masses. It was a hotbed of liberal message coordination. Journolist members even plotted (unsuccessfully) to shut down the Jeremiah Wright story! (Note: My name is included on this Journoist lineup posted on a right-wing blog, even though I was never a Journolist member.)
In 2010, The Daily Caller and the Breitbart blogs, along with the rest of the GOP Noise Machine, declared it was shocking that members of the liberal opinion press gathered online to argue, commiserate and organize. That they tried to "protect" Obama during the election and coordinate partisan messages. Indeed, Andrew Breitbart denounced the listserv as "treachery."
Did we mention that according to reports this week, representatives from Daily Caller and Breitbart.com met with Mitt Romney, in secret, to discuss campaign message coordination? And that they discussed ways the Romney campaign could work closer with the likes of Daily Caller and Breitbart.com to help disseminate opposition research on Obama?
In truth, there's nothing wrong with campaigns reaching out to online media supporters and doing it on an off-the-record basis. However, it is stunningly hypocritical for Daily Caller and Breitbart bloggers to participate directly in a secret message coordination session with a GOP candidate after having claimed message coordination was akin to treachery.