If you haven’t been following the flap over Dan Froomkin’s Washington Post column that began Sunday with this ombudsman article, you can catch up by reading a couple of Editor & Publisher articles, here and here. In a nutshell, somebody complained because Froomkin’s web-only column is not labelled “opinion.” And this is a problem because Froomkin’s outlook is (they say) liberal. Can’t have liberal opinion running around unchecked, you know; got to keep it on a leash.
Yesterday WaPo National politics editor John Harris made a colossal ass of himself in this post at the Washington Post “blog.” Then Jay Rosen interviewed Harris, and through this (via Jane Hamsher) we learn that one of the people whose complaints struck fear and contrition in the hearts of WaPo editorial staff was Patrick Ruffini, webmaster for the Bush/Cheney ’04 campaign site.
Ruffini is the embodiment of hackness; a prototypical example of the soulless hard-right putrefaction rotting away our national institutions. Follow the link to view the soft, baby face of nascent fascism.
Then Jane Hamsher writes,
But here’s the money quote. Rosen asks if White House officials are the ones complaining about Froomkin’s column:
John Harris: They have never complained in a formal way to me, but I have heard from Republicans in informal ways making clear they think his work is tendentious and unfair. I do not have to agree with them in every instance that it is tendentious and unfair for me to be concerned about making clear who Dan is and who he is not regarding his relationship with the newsroom.
This flap is brought to you courtesy of the Republican Party, who will not stand to see itself criticized by a major media outlet without seeking to take down the one who is doing so. And John Harris bends over and spreads ’em. Of course, considering Harris’s past as one of the people who hijacked the nation and started speaking in tongues over rumors of penis-shaped ornaments on the Clinton Christmas tree, this is hardly surprising.
Dan Froomkin’s column (visit today’s here) is consistently the best feature of the WaPo web site, mostly because Froomkin is one of the few prominent “MSM” writers who can approach the subject of the Bush Administration without kneepads and chapstick. I’m only surprised the VRWC hasn’t gone after him before. In the next few days expect to see Froomkin’s name linked to Michael Moore, Moveon.org, Cindy Sheehan, and everyone else the Republican Party doesn’t control.
Brad DeLong: “The Future of the Washington Post”
Marty Kaplan: “Journalism’s Slo-Mo Suicide”
Digby: “Bada Bing“