Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Retro Garlic: Yeah, But Will He Be Getting Paid?

We missed out, chiefly due to events here on the homefront, the entire brouhaha, death snake dance of the Washington Post firing writer extraordinaire Dan Froomkin (often linked here on The Garlic).

It was a doozy, with the WAPO being egged and toilet-papered by a better part of the blogosphere.

Here's Paul Krugman;

Thus we still live in an era in which you have to have been wrong to be respectable. You’re not considered serious about national security unless you were for invading Iraq; you’re not considered a serious political analyst unless you spent the last 3 years of the Bush administration predicting a Republican comeback; you’re not considered a serious economic analyst unless you dismissed the idea that the Bush Boom, such as it was, rested on a housing bubble.

That’s why the firing of Dan Froomkin now makes a perverse sort of sense. As long as the right was in power, he was in effect the Post’s designated moonbat, someone who attracted readers but didn’t threaten the self-esteem of the self-perceived serious people at the paper. But now he looks like someone who was right when the serious people were wrong — and that means he has to go.
Glen Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, dday, Jane Hamsher, The Raw Story, and Down With Tyranny all wailed on the WAPO, in similar fashion.

So, the clock was started, the wait was on, to see who would pick up, or, where Dan Froomkin would land.

Today, the buzzer went off - Huffington Post gets the wreath of roses.

Both Emptywheel, and Glen Greenwald broke with the news this morning.

Emptywheel, gleefully, with charts, noted that "So the WaPo wanted to silence Dan Froomkin. And instead, their stupid decision has led to Dan Froomkin getting hired by an outlet with greater online circulation than them."

In yet another sign of how online media outlets are strengthening as their older establishment predecessors are struggling to survive, The Huffington Post has hired Dan Froomkin to be its Washington Bureau Chief and regular columnist/blogger. Froomkin will oversee a staff of four five reporters and an Assistant Editor, guide The Huffington Post's Washington reporting, and write at least two posts per week to be featured on its main page and Politics page. I learned last night of the hiring and spoke to both Arianna Huffington and Froomkin this morning.


While this pairing is, in some ways, a natural one (even the Post Ombudsman suggested that "Web sites like The Huffington Post or Politico would seem a perfect fit"), there are also potential sources of tension. As a practitioner of what he calls "accountability journalism" -- "explaining how Washington works; pulling no punches" -- Froomkin has been a vehement critic of the Obama administration for the last several months, while The Huffington Post frequently trumpeted (some might say "cheerleading") the Obama campaign and even his presidency (though it has become mildly more critical of Obama in recent months; its screaming, red headline today: "White House May Cave on Public Option"). Will Froomkin's harsh criticisms of Obama alienate an Obama-loving HuffPost readership?

And given the central importance of Arianna Huffington's personal relationships with key media figures and those in power, will Froomkin's unrestrained criticisms of many of those same people undermine a key aspect of The Huffington Post's business and promotional strategies? Both Huffington and Froomkin insist that he will have full editorial freedom, though that commitment is often more easily embraced in theory than in practice.

Jamison Foser, at MediaMatters, has a good post up, taking a look at the ashes left at WAPO

And, Glynnis MacNicol, over on Dan Abram's new digs, Mediaite, offers "HuffPo Aiming For DC Dominance? Makes Room For Froomkin".

Here at The Garlic, we wonder about Froomkin getting a paycheck ... You know, with the unique Huffington Post's business model.

The Retro Part;

Breaking News! GM Cancels UAW In Favor of Adopting Huffington Post Business Model ... Celebrities, Auto Enthusiasts and Bloggers To Build Cars For Free; Huge Spike In Profits Forecast

Good Luck there Dan ... Hope you get a check, once-in-awhile ...

Maybe you can hip Arianna on how to use Google ...

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