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December 19, 2005

Management by Stupidity (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps Washington Post Edition?)

Ah. This is amusing. John Harris, national politics editor of the Washington Post, makes his play for the Stupidest Man AliveTM crown.

When Jay Rosen of PressThink asks him:

PressThink : You also said, "I perceive a good bit of [Dan Froomkin's] commentary on the news as coming through a liberal prism--or at least not trying very hard to avoid such perceptions." But you don't give any examples or links to past columns.... Could you help me out here? What issues does [Dan Froomkin's] W[hite ]H[ouse ]B[riefing] tend to view through a liberal prism?...

John Harris replies:

Does Dan present a liberal worldview? Not always, but cumulatively I think a great many people would say yes--enough that I don't want them thinking he works for the news side of the Post. Without agreeing with the views of this conservative blogger who took on Froomkin, I would say his argument does not seem far-fetched to me...

Who is the "conservative blogger" that John Harris cites? His name is Patrick Ruffini http://www.patrickruffini.com/. More interesting, Patrick Ruffini is eCampaign Director at the Republican National Committee http://www.patrickruffini.com/archives/2005/10/same_fight.php.

Shouldn't John Harris have told Jay Rosen that Patrick Ruffini is not some grassroots "conservative blogger" outraged at Froomkin's bias but rather a Republican operative engaged in working the ref?


What things does Ruffini think are examples of Froomkin's hackdom http://www.patrickruffini.com/archives/2005/03/dan_froomkin_se.php?

Here is Ruffini's first example of "bias": Froomkin's writing:

For a guy who's so resolute, President Bush is apparently of two minds when it comes to the Terri Schiavo case. First he dramatically rushes back to the White House in an effort to intervene, then he retreats into silence. So what's going on? Is he caught in the rift between the social conservative and libertarian wings of his party? Is it a political reaction to bad polling numbers? Was he dragged against his will into intervening in the first place? And what's Karl Rove's role in all this?

Here is Ruffini's last example of "pure Froomkin bias":

It is flatly un-American for people to be hauled out of a public event with the president of the United States because of, say, a political bumper sticker on their car.

But is it too much to ask the White House to say so?

Apparently.

To note an internal tug-of-war within the White House over what PR position to take on Terry Schiavo, to assert that it is un-American to throw people out of a public event for having the wrong bumpersticker--these are the things that John Harris (indirectly) points to as Dan Froomkin's "bias."

Posted by DeLong at December 19, 2005 11:50 AM