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Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, April 08, 2006

This sounds better...
This time around the Washington Post plans to hire two bloggers for its Web site.

The paper’s ombudsman, Deborah Howell, has informed RAW STORY that Jim Brady, executive editor of, is looking for a liberal blogger, along with a conservative one, to replace Ben Domenech...
I'm not entirely sure what a perch at would do for either the Post or the blogger. Presumably, if people want to read, for example, Tom Maguire, they can do so already. And the Post is just opening itself up to more criticism. As Dan at Riehl World View points out, "hiring a pure blogger in this day and age is a significant risk", with the temptation to "hire someone more provocative than need be" to stimulate reaction or someone "bland or boring" to forestall controversy.

But, so what? The Washington Post has consistently been on the vanguard of the media/blog intersection, doing more than any other paper to create a working hybrid of the new information paradigm. I'm not sure where they're going with it, but I'd bet it will pay off. And if it's not the ultimate market model, it's a step closer.

The problem, it seems to me, is that while there are a lot of homogenous Movement Democrat bloggers, most Right-leaning bloggers are fairly libertarian and differ substantially from the "social conservative/red state" model that the Post seems to want.

It's been suggested (by Jay Rosen) that the Post should also bring in an independent/libertarian blogger. So — comments are solicited — which three bloggers should the Post bring on? To start things off:

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Previous Comments to this Post 

Plumer’s good but he’s already a bit busy with Mother Jones, last I checked. Kling is good but more of an economist than a political commentator. I’m not a fan of Captain Ed.

Nyhan and Hawkins might be good picks. For libertarian/independent I might nominate Justin Logan.
Written By: Matt McIntosh
For the independent/libertarian slot:

For some reason I can’t put my finger on, Kling’s style doesn’t appeal to me. Too staid, I think. Maybe that would fit the Post, but I’d prefer to see someone who can write engaging prose.

Stephen Green has the prose style I’m looking for, but based on his blog, he’s probably not regular or deep enough for the Post. He might be up to it as a semi-full-time gig, but I think he’s otherwise occupied with job and family.

Roger L. Simon might work. He’s more pragmatist that libertarian, but he’s seems plenty independent enough, and he writes well. He’s even done some original stuff on his site.

I’m wondering if it wouldn’t make more sense for that slot to be a rotating one. Maybe Dale "Fire Ants" Franks would get one of the slots...

For the conservative slot:

Captain Ed would be fine, I think. He does original reporting at times, and he does a good job of not getting shrill ("do as I say, not as I do..."). He has stuck with the blogging thing through the recent slow period, when a lot of other folks put it aside.

If they could pry Jonah Goldberg loose from NRO, he would be good. He has a good mix of insight and humor, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I think he would actually shine in his own slot, though he plays off the other National Review Corner bloggers pretty well. His other commentary responsibilities would probably make the Post reluctant to get him, however.

For the liberal slot:

Iglesias would work. So would Atrios. Or Ruy Teixeira. I’d like to see any of them contend with an audience that wasn’t composed of synchophants.

Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Is Plumer a pundit at MoJo? It didn’t occur to me that he’d be employed in a manner similar to Yglesias and Klein, but now that I think of it, perhaps he is. MoJo is pretty far left, but Plumer has always been a very civil, thoughtful guy and, while we disagree on a lot, he’s never disagreeable. That’s a lot of what I’m looking for in an "other side".

As Hollis says, Ed is un-hysterical, too. He does good research and solid blogging. My impression is that he’s fairly socially conservative, rather than libertarian, but he doesn’t really focus on the social issues so much as the foreign policy and domestic politicking. I’m not sure that his style would translate — perhaps the Post wants pithier invective, rather than long analysis — but he’s a solid representative of that section of the GOP.

I read Logan sometimes, but as far as I can tell, he’s almost wholly focused on foreign policy. If you’re going to go inside Cato for a libertarian, I’d consider Wilkinson or Balko.

Billy: I think Kling is cautious and academic, rather than confrontational. That certainly does set him apart in the ’sphere. I’ve never really read much of Roger L Simon, except in the occassional Instapundit link.

Goldberg would be an ideal social conservative, but I seriously doubt the Post blogger position would pay significant money — surely not enough to move him from a full-time gig at a landmark conservative magazine.
Written By: Jon Henke
Why should I read an edited blogger?

Remember the guy at the Sacramento Bee, Dan Weintraub? He was doing a sensational job of blogging about California politics during the Grey Davis recall but he was evidently too conservative for his editors so he was reined in, and hard.

Since then, his output has been pablum and not worth reading.

It was great that he had full time to devote to analyzing California politics but the old adage applies, "He with the gold, makes the rules."

Frankly, I’m not convinced the tradeoffs of having the MSM pay a blogger are worth the constraints on his output.
Written By: Whitehall
URL: http://
Why should I read an edited blogger?
Actually that’s an excellent point. Any blogger who signs on with the WaPo should insist on no editing. Its sort of a signature of blogging, isnt’ it?

If they don’t like what he (or she) does, they can fire him (or her).
Written By: McQ
To your 3rd group I would add another Glenn. He tends to support Republicans because last century they were for limited government. But he also has worked in the campaign of a Dem named Al Gore. The Glenn I support is Glenn Reynolds of Porkbuster fame. Before that he was famous as Instapundit.
Written By: Rodney A Stanton
URL: http://
coff, coff. I know I’m not American but I think I’d shake up The Post a little.

Draft Timmy!
Written By: Tim Worstall
coff, coff. I know I’m not American but I think I’d shake up The Post a little.
Actually, I think you’d make a great blogger. However — and this is just speculation — I suspect the Post would probably go with an American to write a blog about American politics. Sure, it’s provincial, but you can see how that might open them up for some mockery. :)

Written By: Jon Henke
Greenwald? The creator of the "Bush Kultist" meme?

Sure. Why not give a guy whose every argument begs the question and assumes of his opponents bad faith a slot at the WaPo. Then he can be just like the many of the reporters.
Written By: Jeff G

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