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Hey Brady, How YOU Doin’?

bob_probe.jpgEric Boehlert documents something that has been obvious for quite some time.  If it wasn't evident during their attempt at hiring Box Turtle Ben, the Washington Post has a huge crush on Wingnut fantasists:

In truth, there is no comparison between the work Marshall and Malkin do. Their lone similarity is that they both fall under the broad umbrella called blogging. Marshall's work is marked by its serious, insightful and factual nature, while the hallmark of Malkin's work centers on name-calling and daffy conjecture.

For instance, during the winter months, Malkin pushed a far-fetched media "scandal" by accusing the Associated Press of manufacturing a "phony" and "bogus" Iraqi police source who was reporting false stories about the daily carnage inside Baghdad. She suggested the phony AP source, Jamil Hussein, proved that all of the AP's Iraq reporting was suspect. (Malkin and company were clinging to the notion that the situation in Iraq was not as bad as biased journalists made it out to be.) In January, the Iraqi government confirmed the police source's existence, thereby ruining Malkin's press-hating conspiracy theory.

Two points here. First, when the Jamil Hussein story imploded, the Post remained silent in real time, never bothering to cover Malkin's high-profile embarrassment. Secondly, it was after the Jamil Hussein humiliation that Post editors decided the time was right for a friendly Malkin profile that gently brushed aside questions about her blogging fiasco.

In other words, when Marshall helped highlight malfeasance at the highest levels of the Bush White House, the Post has thus far taken a pass on profiling him. But when Malkin helped concoct a comically inept tale about how the AP was inventing news sources in Iraq, the Post profiled her as an on-the-rise blogger.

Boehlert goes further, and breaks it down by the numbers:

Indeed, the Post routinely pays far less attention to liberal bloggers, despite the very newsworthy gains they continue to make. As the Post's muted coverage of the canceled Fox debate, the live-blogging of the Libby trial, and the U.S. attorney scandal illustrates, the newspaper's double standard has become blindingly obvious.

And the double standard is real. I looked at how many times the Post has mentioned prominent conservative and liberal bloggers during the last two years. I came up with a list of well-known, and highly-trafficked, online writers from each side of the political spectrum. On the right: Malkin, Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit), Hugh Hewitt, and John Hinderaker (Power Line). On the left: Duncan Black (Eschaton), Jane Hamsher (Firedoglake), Glenn Greenwald (Salon), and John Amato (Crooks and Liars). According to Nexis, the electronic news database, those conservative bloggers have been mentioned by name in a total of 52 Post articles and columns in the last 24 months. By contrast, the liberal bloggers have been referenced by name just 12 times by the Post during the same time frame.

To this day, the Washington Post has never profiled Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of The Daily Kos, the most popular and influential political weblog in the world. The Post didn't even review last year's influential Crashing the Gate, the hardcover progressive manifesto that Kos co-wrote with fellow blogging pioneer Jerome Armstrong.

Then again, as best as I can determine the Post in recent years hasn't profiled any of the major netroots players. The one lengthy Post feature of a liberal blogger that I can find from the last 24 months was a page-one piece from April 2006 when the Post shadowed lesser-known blogger Maryscott O'Connor, who writes at My Left Wing. The Post portrayed O'Connor as a Bush-hating lunatic. Key phrases from the article: "angry," "rage," "fury," "angriest," "outrage," "crude," "loud," "crass," "inflammatory," "attack."

Even The New Republic, which has had a somewhat acrimonious relationship with the netroots, announced last week in an 8,000-word cover story that the liberal blogs "are the most significant mass movement in U.S. politics since the rise of the Christian right more than two decades ago." Yet the Post remains standoffish — unless, of course, liberal bloggers stub their toes in pubic.

When the liberal online news sites botched its exclusive report last year that Karl Rove had been indicted in connection with the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation, the Post was there. And when the Los Angeles Times suspended the blog of liberal newspaper columnist Michael Hiltzik after he had posted anonymously on his site, the Post was there. (The Post gave that relatively minor story 2,000 words; it gave Firedoglake's live blogging of the Libby trial zero words.)

Even the simplest, pro-netroots story appears to be off limits for the Post, such as when President Clinton invited a dozen-plus bloggers to an extended lunch at his Harlem office last fall. The public gesture from the most powerful Democrat in the country certainly cemented the bloggers' place as major electoral players. The Post, though, never reported on the well-publicized meeting.

It was déjà vu three weeks ago when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton posted an essay about equal pay at Firedoglake as a way to get her message directly to liberal activists. The Post made no mention of that netroots development. But just two days later, the newspaper highlighted the fact that Republican Sen. John McCain had been "using conservative blogs" as a campaign communications tool. Now that was news.

Back in February, I suggested we start the clock ticking to see how long it would take the Post to finally get around to profiling a major progressive blogger. That clock is about to hit the three-month mark and still no significant coverage from the Post. And honestly, I don't think we'll see much in the near future. Because as I noted back then, "Bottom line: At the Post, Bush bloggers matter, liberal ones do not."

We called out the WaPo when their horrible Ombudsman and their even worse editors  tried to shut down Dan Froomkin.  We gave them unending shit for trying to make it look like Democrats were involved in the Abramoff scandal.  For calling us "uncivil" then deleting comments from their blog that would have proven otherwise.  For continuing to give a paycheck to Steno Sue Schimdt, after she mangled the reporting on Whitewater and the Jessica Lynch story.  For Fred Hiatt's truly abominable Libby editorials, not to mention his abject warmongering.  We've taunted them for looking like fools when Bob Woodward punk'd them, and then wouldn't talk to them about it.

Of course they hate us, but their job as the "non-partisan" newsroom they profess to be does not involve carrying personal vendettas.  In reality, their actions betray them to be every bit as partisan as the liberal blogosphere is, we're just more honest about it.

(graphic courtesy Monk at Inflatable Dartboard)

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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