By: Trevor Loudon
JournoList was an email group of approximately 400 journalists, bloggers and academics, who reportedly worked to influence news reporting in favor of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party during and after the 2008 Presidential elections.
The latest list of alleged “Journolistas” has turned up a very interesting name – Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect. This man is no basement blogger or CNN hack; he is the author of two books on the President and is connected to some of Obama’s most influential enablers.
Robert Kuttner’s March 2008 “Obama’s Challenge: American’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency,” is a call to use the Obama presidency to change America in a more “progressive” direction.
According to leftist “think tank” Demos:
In this urgent and important book, Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow Robert Kuttner, co-founder of The American Prospect, explains what a President Obama must do to solve America’s economic crisis — the gravest since the Great Depression — and, in the process, become a truly transformative leader.
Kuttner’s March 2010 book “A Presidency in Peril,” is an acknowledgment that Obama hasn’t entirely lived up to some “progressive’s” hopes, but that things could yet still be salvaged.
In this hard-hitting, incisive account, Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow Robert Kuttner (author of the Best-Selling New York Times’ Obama’s Challenge) shares his unique, insider view of how the Obama administration not only missed its moment to turn our economy around – but deepened Wall Street’s risky grip on America’s future. Carefully constructing a one-year history of the problem, the players and the outcome, Kuttner gives readers an unparalleled account of the president’s first year.
More importantly, Kuttner shows how we could – with swift, decisive action – still enact real reforms and how Barack Obama could redeem his promise.
Note the phrase “insider view.” Clearly Demos believes that Kuttner has some kind of access to Obama Administration thinking and policy.
That view is probably accurate. Back in 1999, then obscure Illinois State Senator Barack Obama was brought to New York to help establish a new organization.
Demos was founded by “social entrepreneur” Charles Halpern. Most of Halpern’s recruits to Demos were well-known politicians or activists – except Barack Obama.
From the Demos website:
By 1999, Halpern had assembled a talented working group to develop Demos. Among them were David Callahan, a fellow at the Century Foundation; Rob Fersh, a long-time policy advocate; Stephen Heintz, Vice-President of the East-West Institute; Sara Horowitz, founder of Working Today; Arnie Miller, a leading executive recruiter; Barack Obama, then a state senator from Illinois; David Skaggs, a congressman from Colorado; and Linda Tarr-Whelan, an internationally recognized expert on women and economic development. This working group would eventually form the core of Demos’ staff and Board of Trustees.
Barack Obama was an early Demos trustee, as was some years later another obscure young radical, this time from San Francisco named Van Jones.
Interestingly, Demos staffer Chuck Collins in a September 26, 2008 article, posited several names he thought would make suitable appointments for an Obama administration.
One of them was:
“Van Jones, of the Ella Baker Center, to direct the Commerce Department’s new “green jobs initiative…”
Kuttner and Obama have something else in common – a close relationship to America’s largest Marxist-based organization Democratic Socialists of America.
To quote D.S.A. connected “JournoLista” Joel Bleifuss:
In particular, Obama can be linked to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the Democratic Party-oriented organization that is a member of the Socialist International.
Obama has been close to D.S.A., possibly as far back as the early 1980s. Certainly key Obama friends and allies such as Quentin Young, Timuel Black, the late Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, Cornel West, Congressmen Danny K. Davis and Neil Abercrombie have been “DSAers.”
Kuttner’s ties to Democratic Socialists of America go back almost as far as Obama’s.
In November 1989, Robert Kuttner addressed the D.S.A. November 1989 national convention in Maryland on “the state of domestic politics.”
In 1990, Democratic Socialists of America was selling a list of pamphlets including “Democratic Promise: Ideas for Turning America in a Progressive Direction,” by D.S.A. founder Michael Harrington, William Julius Wilson and Robert Kuttner.
William Julius Wilson incidentally, addressed a Democratic Socialists of America organized forum at the University of Chicago with Obama in early 1996.
Over three hundred people attended the first of two Town Meetings on Economic Insecurity on February 25 in Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago. Entitled “Employment and Survival in Urban America,” the meeting was sponsored by the UofC DSA Youth Section, Chicago DSA and University Democrats.
The panelists were Toni Preckwinkle, Alderman of Chicago’s 4th Ward, Barack Obama, candidate for the 13th Illinois Senate District, Professor William Julius Wilson, Center for the Study of Urban Inequality at the University of Chicago, Professor Michael Dawson, University of Chicago and Professor Joseph Schwartz, Temple University and a member of DSA’s National Political Committee
In 1998, Robert Kuttner was honored at a Boston Democratic Socialists of America awards ceremony alongside D.S.A. member Deborah Meier. In March that year, Deborah Meier spoke at a Chicago memorial service for “DSAer” Saul Mendelson, as did Barack Obama.
In 1998 Democratic Socialists of America described Kuttner as a “socialist.”
American Prospect is the journal of “liberal” intellectual politics, though half of the writers and one of the co-founders, Robert Kuttner, are socialists. This journal sees its mission as the reinvigoration of “liberalism,” betraying a clear disregard for liberalism’s expressed desire to accept death.
So far at least eight identified “JournoListas” have ties to Kuttner’s, “The American Prospect.”
In 1996, Robert Kuttner helped found, with at least two dozen “DSAers,” the highly influential “progressive” umbrella group Campaign for America’s Future.
Fellow C.A.F. founders Robert Borosage, John Cavanagh, Barbara Ehrenreich (D.S.A.), Frances Fox Piven (D.S.A.), Mark Ritchie (a Communist Party “friend”) and Joel Rogers had helped establish Obama’s New Party.
C.A.F. founders Tom Hayden and Barbara Ehrenreich went on to found, in 2008, Progressives for Obama, which was supported by other C.A.F./D.S.A supporters Dick Flacks, Todd Gitlin, Adam Hochschild, Frances Fox Piven and Stanley Sheinbaum.
C.A.F. has run for several years the successful Take Back America and America’s Future Now! conferences, which annually attract the cream of the U.S. “progessive” movement, including many “DSAers,” “JournoLista’s,” Robert Kuttner and then Senator Barack Obama.
Earlier this year Robert Kuttner was serving on the Advisory Board of the Cry Wolf Project. This organization caused some controversy after it was found to be offering money to academics for articles countering conservative attacks on “progressive” programs.
Serving on the advisory board with Kuttner was Janice Fine of Rutgers University, an early founder of the New Party and a member of the Editorial Advisory group of Wade Rathke’s D.S.A./ACORN-linked journal Social Policy.
Another close tie to the Obama Administration comes through Kuttner’s membership of the board of the Economic Policy Institute.
The Washington based “think tank” is led by “DSAer” Larry Mishel and boasts several D.S.A affiliates on its board, including Barry Bluestone, Teresa Ghilarducci (a Demos fellow), Julianne Malveaux and Bruce Raynor. New Party founder Larry Cohen and Campaign for America’s Future founders Thomas Buffenbarger, Jeff Faux, Ray Marshall, Gerald McEntee, Robert Reich, Andy Stern (also Progressives for Obama) and Richard Trumka also serve.
Two E.P.I board members have joined the Obama administration, William Spriggs as a Senior Adviser in the Department of Labor and Rebecca Blank as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Department of Commerce.
Interestingly, leftist economist and “Journalista” Paul Krugman, argued in November ’08 that, given the “centrist makeup” of President Barack Obama’s economic inner circle, the new Economic Recovery Advisory Board could be used to “give progressive economists a voice,” and mentioned Jared Bernstein (fellow E.P.I economist) and E.P.I. president “DSAer” Larry Mishel as “progressive economists” who might be suitable for the board.
The Biden appointment was a step in that direction.
Were the “Journolistas” really just a “chat group,” or were they a conduit of information to and from the Obama Administration?
Did some of their members actually have some influence on policy and/or appointments within the Obama Administration?
Was JournoList actually an intelligence and influence brokering network for the Obama campaign and Administration?
Somebody needs to ask Robert Kuttner and other “JournoListas” some serious questions.
Also see: Socialist “JournoListas”