Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hostile Takeover of Truth

After the many times I've featured the ignorance of WaPo editorials, may I point out that it's just useless to point out that they're clueless, then continue giving them hits. As a parting gesture to any pretense of dignity, WaPo has fired their redeeming feature, Dan Froomkin. The voice of reason lies bleeding and dead there, and I will not be going there to give them proof of readership anymore.

Many of the rational voices I visit are in accord. The editors at WaPo create dissent by their rampant nonsense but when readers comment - usually giving real information that WaPo ignores - the editors count it as 'popularity'. I am joining the departing horde and recommend you do the same.

...there was also sadness this week, and I'm not talking about the deaths of entertainment icons from the 1970s. I am talking about the WashingtonPost.com website, which has booted out one of the best bloggers on the web.

Dan Froomkin's "White House Watch" column today will be the last one that appears on WashingtonPost.com. Froomkin has expressed interest in possibly moving the column elsewhere and continuing it, and I consider this a test of whether newspapers are (a.) smart enough to realize this is the way to modernize and move into the future of journalism, or (b.) dumb as a bag of hammers. WashingtonPost.com has obviously chosen the (b.) route. Because Froomkin's column is a shining example of how newspapers could migrate from their print business model to the more interactive web-based model they need to be in to survive.

Froomkin was fired, it was announced, because his "ratings" had dropped after Obama was elected. This is utter hogwash. In the first place, his column "White House Watch" (it started as "White House Briefing" but was changed later) was dedicated to putting the executive branch under a microscope and reporting what was there. Of course, the Bush White House was more fertile ground for this, especially towards the end. But Froomkin did not back off from examining Obama's White House, and has been severely critical of Obama's decisions on secrecy and openness and torture and accountability.

The real reason his numbers dropped is that the editors stopped putting a link to his column on their front page. When Froomkin got progressively harder and harder to find, fewer and fewer people found him. In other words, his ratings dropped because they didn't feature him as prominently anymore. This is the new online reality -- your hit count depends on a link on the front page of the site. The more prominent, the higher your hitcount will be.

But dark suspicions have been raised (mostly by his loyal readers) that Froomkin was fired because he dared to contradict one of the very conservative op-ed writers on the Washington Post payroll (the two entities, Washington Post and WashingtonPost.com are supposedly "separate," I should mention). The Washington Post has become a safe haven for such ultra-conservative commentators (they not only have an ex-Bush speechwriter, but they also hired William Kristol after the New York Times got tired of him being so wrong so often). So, in keeping with this conservative bent, Froomkin had to go.

This is pathetic and is an outrage. Anyone who agrees should contact the ombudsman at: ombudsman@washpost.com and let him know how you feel. [I disagree - Ruth]

What is truly pathetic is that the newspaper which a few decades ago brought down an American president is now not even worth reading anymore, because the only thing in it that isn't the equivalent of Fox News is their cartoonist Tom Toles (who is excellent). A bastion of journalism has, quite literally (at least for me) been reduced to a cartoon. Pathetic.

Let's see... bring down a government, sell lots of newspapers... pack the staff with neo-cons in possibly the most liberal city in America, get ready for bankruptcy. No wonder newspapers are in such trouble, if this is the way they plan their business models. (Emphasis added.)


Pathetic is one description for bringing down what used to be a heroic voice for justice, and for digging out the truth as a newspaper is supposed to do. The glory days at WaPo have been brought down, to the use of those actively destroying functional government. Deregulation has been enthroned where public interests used to reign.

This is radical overthrow of the truth, and my response is to leave.

No more hits for WaPo.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous larry, dfh said...

The wapo has been unconcerned about subscriptions for years. They've seen their subscription rates decrease, and along with that their advertising revenues, and they just don't care. The obvious reason is that they're on the take from Langley, VA. If you look up 'Operation Mockingbird', you'll find that wapo editors, publishers, and reporters have a long history with the agency.

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