Hit Bait

Why make an uproar over the WaPo re-publishing Sarah Palin’s Facebook climate change conspiracy ramble? For example, the Nation’s Washington Editor, the-no-longer-padawan-but-not-quite-full-Jedi, Chris Hayes declares publishing it ‘unthinkable’. Some predictably contrarian ‘liberals’ even argue for it. They all got played by the WaPo like a cheap piano. Who are these naifs? Palin and the WaPo are perfectly matched. Both are desperate for meme relevance and page hits.

Fred Hiatt, please.  Tell him its Randy Scheuneman with a Palin Op Ed.  Oh, he's on with Bibi?  Yeah, I'll hold.

And booyah! for them both. Palin kept her pub machine going. The WaPo? Wing nuts are flocking, asking to copy the link. Here’s ‘Right Matters’ Rammesh Ponnuru foaming:

The Washington Post’s op-ed page has long been more open to conservative points of view than its news pages, where liberalism is rarely challenged. Some left-wingers find the op-ed page’s balance, and occasional outright conservatism, irritating. They’re going nuts over Gov. Palin’s op-ed on global warming today. See the Huffington Post for a round-up of liberal reaction. The prevailing sentiment is that the Post should not have published her.

It shouldn’t have published her, goes the argument, because 1) she’s not a scientific expert and 2) some of things she says are mistaken. On this principle, we’d have to bar Al Gore from writing op-eds on climate change too: He’s no expert, and he has propagated more, and more serious, scientific errors about the matter than Palin has.

Meanwhile, Palin’s underlying point–that cap-and-trade legislation would impose severe costs on the economy for uncertain benefits–seems hard to contest.

I ask you to compare Palin’s op-ed to this effort by one of her critics, also published by the Post. Which relies more on sneering and name-calling? Which adds least to the discussion? Which should the Post be most proud of running?

Other than Dana Priest’s Walter Reed pieces the Post made no lasting, unique contribution to journalism and the public debate this past decade. Do you disagree? Hiatt’s Neocon hackery speaks for itself. But remember the Post was in the tank for Cheney and the Warlord up to 2006. Woodward’s obscenely sycophantic reporting over the years and two full on French kiss books can’t be wiped away. Not even by his scramble to push out a third book to prove he (Woodward) knew it was all a Charlie Fox to begin with.

The WaPo is the Oldsmobile of journalism. The mass staff layoffs just the latest. Remember WaPo selling of health care access? Trust us – it’s going to get a lot more funky before the edifice fully crumbles.

Trendsetting conversation already moved on. When John Harris and others left to form The Politico they called the Emperor buck. Josh Marshall made the same call. Want proof why the HuffPost is largely a waste of time? So much noise and little signal? How many spent today gnashing teeth over Palin’s idiotic high school essay? Smart liberals and progressives would be examining the calculated effort by the Right to infiltrate and influence The Politico as the new scene of record. We say that after direct conversations with Rightists who publish there and their long term plans. The Right is completely out of institutional power. So to anyone who has experience in this town, it’s truly remarkable how much sway they have meme-wise where it actually matters — in this case, The Politico. The WaPo is yesterday. Someone should tell them.

What we all call the WaPo is a small piece of The Washington Post Company. That listed holding company’s profits and revenue mostly come from Kaplan educational testing and other vocational properties. There are some local TV licenses. Newsweek and Father Meacham are sinking along with the rest of print. The flagship paper? As business and beacon for journalism it deservedly died a while ago.