Friday, June 19, 2009

Froomkin out at WaPo

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A surprise move, perhaps, the firing of columnist and blogger Dan Froomkin, one of the few bright lights at The Washington Post, until you remember that the newspaper industry is collapsing all around us and that the Post rarely lives up to its reputation as a journalistic giant of unquestionable integrity and professionalism -- and that it is not liberal but establishmentarian with a conservative bent (just consider its high-profile right-wing line-up: Will, Kristol, Krauthammer, Gerson, Kagan, etc. -- there are a few liberals on board, sure, like Dionne and Robinson, but Froomkin was clearly at odds with the conservative editorial, and op-editorial, dominance).

Here are a few reactions worth checking out:

Steve Benen: "The Politico says the move is 'sure to ignite the left-wing blogosphere,' but Froomkin's departure, if true, should disappoint anyone concerned with insightful political analysis... Froomkin was one of the media's most important critics of the Bush White House, and conservative bashing notwithstanding, was poised to be just as valuable holding the Obama White House accountable for its decisions."

Andrew Sullivan: "A simply astounding move by the paper -- getting rid of the one blogger, Dan Froomkin, who kept it real and kept it interesting. 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." (See also: "The Torture-Mongers vs Froomkin.")

Glenn Greenwald: "One of the rarest commodities in the establishment media is someone who was a vehement critic of George Bush and who now, applying their principles consistently, has become a regular critic of Barack Obama -- i.e., someone who criticizes Obama from what is perceived as "the Left" rather than for being a Terrorist-Loving Socialist Muslim. It just got a lot rarer, as The Washington Post... just fired columnist, long-time Bush critic and Obama watchdog (i.e., a real journalist) Dan Froomkin."

There's much more reaction, as always, over at Memeorandum.

Froomkin was certainly one of the Post's best columnists, if not the best (I also like Dionne quite a bit, from time to time). It's a shame to see him go. His firing tells us a lot about the Post's politics and priorities -- and about the direction it is headed.

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