Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dan Froomkin Fired!

So, once again the Washington Post under the leadership of Fred Hiatt and the rest of the NeoCons and their march to the Right has made another brilliant decision in these trying times for newspaper survival. They have cancelled Dan Froomkin’s contract to present the “White House Watch” on a daily basis. For those who don’t know, Dan’s column is probably the most popular column, or blog, the WAPO has. Dan writes with hard hitting and an unrelenting journalistic search for real clarity, transparency and facts, no matter Repubs or Dems. I guess we can’t have that. Canning him has created quite the uproar in the blogosphere and among WAPO readers.

Here is Politico’s announcement which includes the WAPO’s opaque reasoning:

POLITICO learned today that the Washington Post has terminated its relationship with liberal columnist/blogger Dan Froomkin. Froomkin authored the "White House Watch" blog and was told today that the blog had essentially run its course.

Washington Post Media Communications Director Kris Coratti tells POLITICO that "our editors and research teams are constantly reviewing our columns, blogs and other content to make sure we're giving readers the most value when they are on our site while balancing the need to make the most of our resources. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes features must be eliminated, and this time it was the blog that Dan Froomkin freelanced for washingtonpost.com."

Froomkin was none too happy with the decision, telling POLITICO that he's "terribly disappointed."

"I was told that it had been determined that my White House Watch blog wasn’t 'working' anymore," said Froomkin. "Personally, I thought it was still working very well, and based on reader feedback, a lot of readers thought so, too. I also felt White House Watch was a great fit with The Washington Post brand, and what its readers reasonably expect from the Post online. As I’ve written elsewhere, (http://www.niemanlab.org/category/themes/danfroomkin) I think that the future success of our business depends on journalists enthusiastically pursuing accountability and calling it like they see it. That’s what I tried to do every day. Now I guess I'll have to try to do it someplace else."

Many Froomkin fans took to the blogosphere to denounce the decision.

Andrew Sullivan called Froomkin the paper's "best blogger" and wrote: "Dan's work on torture may be one reason he is now gone. The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing. This purge will prompt a real revolt in the blogosphere. And it should."

Salon's Glenn Greenwald echoed Sullivan's praise of Froomkin and said: "All of this underscores a critical and oft-overlooked point: what one finds virtually nowhere in the establishment press are those who criticize Obama not in order to advance their tawdry right-wing agenda but because the principles that led them to criticize Bush compel similar criticism of Obama. Rachel Maddow is one of the few prominent media figures who will interview and criticize Democratic politicians 'from the Left' (and it's hardly a coincidence that it was MSNBC's decision to give Maddow her own show -- rather than the endless array of right-wing talk show hosts plaguing television for years -- which prompted a tidal wave of 'concern' over whether cable news was becoming 'too partisan'). In general, however, those who opine from the Maddow/Froomkin perspective are a very endangered species, and it just became more endangered as the Post fires one if its most popular, talented, principled and substantive columnists."

On DailyKos, "numediaman" writes: "In the end, Donald Graham and Fred Hiatt are moving the Post hard right. Their support for war was not just a kiss up to power, but a real commitment to the neo-con way of looking at the world."

Gawker: "The Washington Post, which pays money to opinion writers such as Bill Kristol (smarmy) and Richard Cohen (smarmier), has fired blogger Dan Froomkin, one of the only WaPo opinion writers who pointed out that the Bush White House was crooked."

The snark kings at Wonkette protested as well: "Everyone give it up for your capital city’s hometown newspaper, the very liberal Washington Post, which has abruptly fired its only liberal pundit, Dan Froomkin, who in past years did more than the rest of the Post op-ed staff combined to show how our beloved leaders George W. Bush and Richard 'Dick' Cheney were careless law-breaking criminals from Hell."

Froomkin's work for the Post has, at times, been amongst the most popular, but he has also ruffled some feathers internally at the Post, including former ombudsman Deb Howell, who used a column to field complaints over the labeling of Froomkin's "highly opinionated and liberal" "White House Briefing" column, which was subsequently changed to "White House Watch."

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer even took Froomkin to task in one of his columns, calling Froomkin's analysis "stupid."

Froomkin was a frequent target of the right, but the left welcomed his voice within the Washington Post's umbrella and Froomkin said that his mission was to "watch the White House like a hawk."

Please read the WAPO Ombudsman’s piece and the comments and you will get the picture.

The first thing I thought of was Judy and her trademark “What’ll I Do.”

Because Dan, just like what some folks think about Coke, you are the “Real Thing.”

Here is to a better and editorially more appreciative platform for your work!

Update: Krugman Weighs in.


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