Hey, kids! Did you hear about how the White House has gotten itself in another white-knuckled media feud ... with Politico? Ha, ha, awesome! Except those of you hoping for a "War on Fox" redux are going to be sorely disappointed. What's actually going on is that in the wake of Politico editor John Harris's "Seven Narratives That The White House Hopes Doesn't Take Root And That We Are Going To Plant Ourselves, Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo" article, White House wiseacres are WINNING THE EVENING with a silly email forward of their own. It's called "7 narratives politico [sic] is fighting in their efforts to get an interview with the President" and Marc Ambinder has it up over at The Atlantic.
Ambinder notes, "many on the White House senior staff dislike Politico's brand of journalism." This is probably true. But then, my experience teaches me that most of Politico's own writers dislike Politico's brand of journalism. I'm no fan myself. I'd describe Politico's brand of journalism as banality, added to Scientology, multiplied by the spasmodic frenzy of a tween who hasn't learned to displace their unfulfilled erotic needs onto emo vampires. That said, if this email forward is the best the White House can do in this feud, they need some work on their media criticism and their self-awareness.
Let's look at the White House's media warblogging, point-by-point!
1. They are more interested in readers than accuracy
In the first place, Politico is not interested in "readers" writ large. Most normal people, outside the 202 area code, remain blissfully unaware of and live full and fulfilling lives untrammeled by Politico. What Politico aims for are tony Beltway elites and deep-pocketed "influentials." These are the same readers that sustain Roll Call and The Hill, which nobody reads either.
As far as "accuracy" goes, the White House is missing the big picture, which is that every time the Politico gets something wrong, it creates an opportunity to run a correction, and call it a "Politico exclusive."
2. Its okay to be wrong everyonce [sic] in a while, if your [sic] are the first to break the news
Oh, ha ha. Please. If this is coming from anyone who worked closely on the Obama campaign, then this is extraordinary hypocrisy! I know that Dave Plouffe likes to go around making myths about how the Obama campaign ran their operation outside of the usual media dependencies, but this is not something that you should believe, not even for a single minute. Yes, Politico basically runs a political press release sweatshop that favors alacrity over "being right," but I promise you, the Obama campaign took advantage of Politico's break-news-first/ask-questions-later model, over and over again..
3. More interested in gossip than news
4. A spouter of the worst sort of insider conventional wisdom
And this separates Politico from, who, exactly?
5. Their analysis about obama has been wrong more than any one [sic]
Uhm ... I'm pretty sure that outside of pure horse race nonsense, Politico doesn't really do analysis. I get all their articles in my RSS feed, and usually, Politico is good enough to signal that a piece is rolling into the area of "analysis" by presaging those pieces with language that reads, "In an Ideas piece..." This is Politico's way of warning: "Hold on to your hats, we are going to attempt something IDEA-ISH." Then, most of those pieces are like, "Gary Bauer thinks everybody needs to be more Christian, blah!"
6. Click ... period
Politico's "CLICK" is where, as Jim Vandehei puts it, Politico runs "a lot of entertainment and personality items" -- by which he means "where we run dumb stories that tenuously link President Obama to Roman Polanski." It's true that Click is the absolute worst. But the joke's on the White House, because Click is the worst by design. Flawlessly executed design
7. More obsessed with personality than policy
This just doesn't go far enough. Politico is more obsessed with the weight of the paper that policy is printed on than policy!
But that said, White House, I've been watching this health care reform debate pretty closely, and y'all had better be sure you don't end up on the wrong side of the personality versus policy equation yourselves.
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