Begin shameless plagiarism:
The worst major newspaper in terms of bias and chronic inaccuracy and axe-grinding is of course the Washington Times. But among the second tier papers, the Washington Post is as rotten a combination of no-talent tenured editorialists, biased reporters, and make-it-up-pollsters as anywhere in the United States.
The paper has no conscience whatsoever when it comes to fairness or accuracy, and until the rise of the blogs, no checking mechanism existed.
But that's all different now, and the repeated poundings the absurd columnist Ben Domenech has taken from the entire left blogosphere, from the dailyKos diarists, Atrios, Obsidian Wings, firedoglake, etc, have rendered him a running joke with a keyboard and an unbreakable contract.
So it occurred to me: Why not do for the entire miserable paper what has been done for Ben? In a word: accountability.
What, I thought, would be the result if enough bloggers from across the country agreed to be part of a "swarm the WaPo to reform the WaPo" project? Collect at one web site a daily digest of commentary on the lapses in objectivity and logic and the flights of righty fancy that the paper daily indulges. If there were enough blogger volunteers, two or three could be assigned "beats," say, the second editorial every Tuesday and Thursday, or the hackish media analysis of Howard Kurtz or Charles Krauthammer's vague efforts at psychoanalysis, or Susan Schmidt's latest stenographic scribblings. Not every article would be a hack job, of course, and the idea of instant and certain accountability as to facts and choice of subject might even temper some of the ideological zeal of the Post's troops. Especially if the web site also made it easy to contact WaPo management and WaPo advertisers.
I am suggesting an "anti-WaPo," a virtual newspaper of sorts, the journalistic equivalent of a shadow government.
What do you think?
If you're like TfK, you think this is moonbat nonsense. Errors occur, and the fact that Ben Domenech is a racist, creationist, plagiarist whackjob doesn't have to extend to the entire paper that employs him (though the longer they employ him…). It doesn't even have to extend to the people whose books he edited, though you'd think Hewitt would have had a chance to say something about this incident in the course of his media-bashing (Headline: Washington Post hires inexperienced plagiarizing klutz! Blogs rule!). But the idea that this sort of criticism is somehow equivalent to the work that goes on at the Post is nonsensical.
The problem is, right wing media "criticism" amounts to the insistence that the media are insufficiently doctrinaire. On its face, the idea that blogs could replace newspapers is asinine. I've tried my hand at first-hand reporting for TfK, and it's hard. You can't do that, covering all the actual news that's occurring, have a real job, and opine about the evils of the world. You can cover a few things, have a real job, and opine about some evils. But you can't do it all. At least, not if you value accuracy.
When I criticize a news piece, I criticize it's accuracy, not its slant. We should not expect the media to be ideological, we should expect it to be accurate and honest. That way, we can use accurate information in deciding how to opine about the evils of the world, and we can do our jobs better. What's implicit in right-wing media criticism is that facts don't matter, opinions do. And this leads to the notion of a "liberal media," when it's actually a factual media.
For what it's worth, Michelle Malkin, who was also edited by the plagiarist, has come out against him.