Alex Pareene's Super Hack List: Politico, The Washington Post, Newsweek
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No one reading any of these pieces as they ran gained any genuine insight into the state of the presidential race.
Now that the election is done, Allen and VandeHei have decided to write one of their little joint ventures into the minds of unnamed “strategists” weekly, with a new feature called “Behind the Curtain,” because Politico’s founding myth is that the conventional political journalism it practices is in fact an exclusive and rare glimpse into the halls of power.
“Behind the Curtain,” they say, “is a reported column, Web show and online conversation about the behind-the-scenes intrigue that shapes politics and policy. It will unfold every Tuesday (and beyond, when news dictates).” In other words it’s a column and a brief Web video. So far, the “behind-the-scenes intrigue” these two have uncovered is that some Republicans plan to run for president in 2016, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan possibly among them, that the Republican Party has an immigration policy problem, and that the Republican Party is primarily older and white and that is also a problem.
The most notable “Behind the Curtain” column thus far, and the one that does the best job of exposing the actual worldview that informs Allen and VandeHei’s work, is the one where they reported that doing what a bunch of CEOs want would “put a rocket booster on the U.S. economy.” It turns out, they write, that most politicians agree that doing the things that CEOs want would make the economy better, “but they are too timid to say it in public.” And basically the secret economy-boosting plan that everyone is too scared to talk about is tax reform, slashing entitlements, more immigration and more oil and gas drilling, all of which are things that are constantly and loudly supported by CEOs and politicians and newspaper editorial boards every day. Allen and VandeHei are wholly and uncritically endorsing the Beltway and CEO elite consensus while acting as if they are passing on to you secret wisdom.
These two are why every right-thinking person despises Politico and all they stand for.
2. The Washington Post
The Washington Post is the hometown paper of the city that everyone in America hates, usually for good reason. And the things Americans hate about that city and the people who work there are reflected in its pages.
The newspaper itself is an ever smaller and more starved-looking thing. The people running it used to actually compete with the New York Times, for readers and writers and national influence. Now they can’t really decide if they even want to try.
The Post can’t decide if it’s local or national, with editors and publishers offering a series of conflicting and contradictory statements of intent over the last decade. The paper closed its major national bureaus a few years ago, but it also fails to extensively cover local news. What it seems to think it should be is a newspaper dedicated to covering politics and the federal government. D.C. already has three or four of those, which would seem to suffice, but politics is the paper’s brand, and what brings national traffic to the website.
The Washington Post has the worst opinion section of any major newspaper in the country. It’s actually baffling to me how bad it is. It doesn’t seem that difficult to simply not publish a bunch of liars, hacks and incredibly boring old men, but the Post can’t seem to figure it out.
And they have a million opinion writers. Wheezy old Richard Cohen. Torture enthusiast Marc Thiessen. Mustachioed supply-sider relic Robert Samuelson, George Will. I give them credit for publishing Harold Meyerson, but even that seems like an example of their devotion to being perceived as balanced — we’ll employ an avowed socialist, and also a couple of Republican hack speechwriters who love waterboarding.