Saturday, August 24th, 2019

The $100,000 question, what is Journolist?


Andrew Breitbart is offering $100,000 for the Journolist e-mail list archive. Journolist was the e-mail list founded by Washington Post writer Ezra Klein so liberals and liberal journalists could all compare notes and share talking points. Ann Althouse, who would love to see the archives, too, has found one blogger who doubts Breitbart will find a willing seller:

Mediaite thinks it’s “unlikely” that any Journolister will spring for the $100,000. I don’t really understand her argument. It only takes one person to decide to disclose.  I think it’s obvious someone with a mix of motives, including a desire for $100,000, is likely to do it. There’s a great argument for transparency and freeing information — for the public good. I, personally, believe that argument. And it’s impossible for me to believe that in a group that size, with that many people, people who are in competition with each other, that there isn’t one person who feels on the outs and isn’t interested in protecting anybody. Indeed, human nature being what it is, there are probably a few people who would love to see some of the prominent Journolisters exposed as… whatever the exposure would expose them as.

It’s the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. All it takes is one e-mail writer to sell out. If someone does, then everybody’s e-mails are exposed. If nobody does, then nobody’s e-mails are exposed. But only the first person to expose the e-mails will get anything, while the rest get nothing. The pressure is building. Who will crack first and take the money when they assume someone else is going to crack eventually anyway? There’s no reward for 2nd place, only the pain.

I give it a couple of weeks, at most.

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