Dana Milbank reveals what really doomed Mouthpiece Theater.

Dana Milbank says it was clear that "Mouthpiece Theater" wasn’t working even before the "Bitch Beer" brouhaha. "We were trying to squeeze it into our daily routines, writing and filming it while still keeping up our other responsibilities, in my case writing four columns a week and in [Chris] Cillizza’s case writing umpteen blog items a day …If anybody has an idea about a video format that might work, please let me know." [my emphasis]

Now, the last time I heard Milbank complain about his oppressive workload of 4 columns a week, he also noted that those columns were 750 to 800 words (and that some weeks, he does just three columns). 

After which, in backstage discussions here at FDL, we’ve routinely made fun of this new unit, the "Milbank Unit." The context is usually something like, "Hey Gregg, I’ve published three Milbank Units this morning, can I break for lunch yet?" Or, "I’m kind of tired today, maybe I’ll produce just two Milbank Units today."

Poor, poor Dana Milbank–whose job appears to be attending important events like the latest Mohammed Jawad hearing and then going home to write about the Beer Summit he watched on TV instead.

In spite of the fact that his Beer Summit column was somewhat derivative of the legendarily crappy Mouthpiece Theater that got pulled, after his terribly taxing workload Dana just doesn’t have anything left to be funny, I guess.

And that, Dana explains, is why Mouthpiece Theater sucked so badly.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.