Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The liberal readers at the WaPo are really upset about the new "Red America" blog. God only knows what their reaction would be if the Post was "fair and balanced." Here are a couple of comments from their call-in show today.

Rahway, N.J.: I see that you have hired Ben Domenech, one of the founders of RedState.org, a leading right-wing political weblog, to write the "Red America" blog for the Washington Post. In his current post, he immediately defames and slurs leading left-wing political blogs such as DailyKos.com. Can we assume that you will provide an equal opportunity to the left side of the blogosphere by granting a prominent left-wing blogger a column as well? Since the media fairness doctrine is long dead, thanks to Mr. Domenech hero Ronald Reagan, I suppose there is no longer a legal requirement to do so, but it would be nice if The Post could at least pretend to give some kind of equal voice to the left.

Tom Edsall: The hiring of Ben Domenech of RedState has provoked a firestorm, if the volume of questions this morning is any measure. One theory in the newsroom is that he was hired at the behest of Dana Milbank.

More seriously, I am told that this is part of the Post's web operation's efforts to provide diverse views. These decisions are, unfortunately, above my paygrade, much as I would love to have the power to hire and fire.

Iowa: I'm assuming this RedState blogger is being paid. How does the Post management justify this when the newsroom staff is being cut by 10 percent according to several reports I have read? I would much rather have The Post continue to present quality, unbiased political coverage than provide bandwidth to an avowed partisan.

Tom Edsall: Another good question. Washingtonpost.com is technically separate from the Post newspaper. The dot com is widely viewed as the area of future growth, while the paper is struggling to keep making a profit in the face of declining circulation and growing competition for advertisers. The results are very different personnel policies. The consequences for the quality of the journalism are not yet determined, although budget constraints are already limiting the scope of our work.

Deary, Idaho: Can you ask those people above your paygrade to reconsider their decision to hire a rabid republican to "balance" Dana Millbank? There is no balance there. Granted, it is hard to find people on the left with the oblivious and offensive certainty of RedStaters. After all, the left has no Coulter or Limbaugh. But if you're going to give the far right a forum you better look hard for an anarchist or extreme radical for the other side.

Washington, D.C.: The hiring of the Red State Blogger is yet another example of why I cancelled my subscription to The Post and do not intend to ever re-instate it. The Post's view that it needs to "balance" viewpoints buys into the notion that The Washington Post adequately provides a forum for a liberal viewpoint. Do you really believe that The Post has an over abundance of liberal viewpoints?


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