Groundswell, the Conservative Journolist?

A few years ago, conservatives were in an uproar over the now presumably-defunct Journolist, the clubby listserv for liberal journos created by WaPo‘s Ezra Klein. So how will they feel about Groundswell, a conservative cloak and dagger group revealed by Mother JonesDavid Corn and Kate Sheppard this morning?

Apparently, it’s rife with participation from conservative journalists, even those at Breitbart News—whose late founder had loudly decried the idea behind Journolist just a few years back and offered a cash-reward for the full list of participants.

So who was involved?

According to Corn, it’s Breitbart News reporters Matthew Boyle and Mike Flynn, Washington Examiner executive editor Mark Tapscott, and National Review contributor Michael James Barton, among others.

The participation of journalists in coordinating messaging with ideological advocates and political partisans raises another set of issues. … The Groundswell documents show conservative journalists, including several with Breitbart News, colluding on high-level messaging with leading partisans of the conservative movement.

It goes a lot deeper than just journalists. Groundswell, according to Corn, is a broad coalition of politicians and activists from across the conservative spectrum and they’ve even had some discussion on how to start a public grassroots movement while keeping some of the more higher-profile members involved secret.

Have a look at the full story, which is particularly damaging to Boyle—apparently he offered his full services as a “story masseuse” to the group, offering to help shape stories they wanted out.

Flynn told Corn that they’re involvement in Groundswell is just about covering meetings, because that’s what reporters do. Secret meetings that they apparently have never revealed the existence of publicly, because, you know, that’s also apparently what reporters do. He denied he or Boyle had any hand in helping the group with “messaging.”

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