The Great Blogger Bake-Off


Over at PressThink, Jay Rosen nudges the still-warm corpse of plogger (as in plagiarist-blogger) Ben Domenench into the water and then suggests how the Wash Post might redeem itself:

I hope [that Post honcho] Jim Brady will do the right thing, the creative thing, the thing that would turn this sorry episode around and allow the to come out with a win for its readers and in the blogosphere.

An open competition on the Web to be the next political blogger at, but instead of hiring one "red state" person and leaving it at that (a strategic error in my opinion) Brady should say that three slots will be filled over the coming year. One from column right, one from column left, and a third voice that is definitely neither of those, which could mean libertarian–or not.

When I say open I mean open: anyone can apply. But experience as a political blogger counts. You have to be an original linker and be able to think for yourself. Finalists and semi-finalists get named. There's a week's try-out period for the final few and a big bake off at the end–all with comments enabled. The competition would generate high interest online, and give the winning bloggers a great introduction.

More here.

Sounds like a good idea to me–especially the suggestion about including a truly alternative voice to shills for the Republicans/Dems or liberals/cons. One of the (understandable) reasons political discourse is so crappy is because most commentators are trying to be partisan fanboys and good team players even on the rare occasions they are critical of their team. That more than anything is why the Punch-and-Judy shows such as Hannity & Colmes and the late, unlamented Crossfire–and most newspaper political columnists–are so uninteresting. A truly independent voice–one interested more in ideas and analysis that is not somehow trying to advance narrow partisan goals–would be great, especially in an outlet such as the Post.

NEXT: Well, That Was Quick

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  1. But in fact there is no MSM. No one answers for it. It has no address. And no real existence independent of the dreary statements in which it is bashed.

    There’s no such thing as air, either.

    I heard that some MSM newspaper hired a guy who did a relatively poor job re-wording his swiped material.

  2. Nick, you’re just fooling yourself. As has happened time and time again, indepedent voices get labeled into one camp or another as soon as they 1) criticize Dear Leader or 2) Praise Dear Leader. It’s possible to piss off both sides of the divide, but you’re still going to end up labeled as one or the other.

  3. But… but… that would someone other than a professional journalist with at least a Masters degree and 10-20 years of writing experience could be hired. We just can’t have any rube publishing their opinions. They’re not qualified to tell there fellow citizens what to think.

  4. Edit: …to tell their fellow…

  5. Am I the only one giggling over the phrase “bake-off” to describe the process for finding a libertarian blogger?

    They need somebody who’s really “baked” to fill the libertarian slot. Heh heh, heh heh.

  6. When I read bake-off, I thought of Betty Crocker not Mary Jane.

  7. quote:
    [“…especially the suggestion about including a truly alternative voice to shills for the Republicans/Dems or liberals/cons..”]

    … C-SPAN was ‘supposed’ to be such an alternative
    Beltway media voice.

    What went wrong at C-SPAN ??

  8. They need somebody who’s really “baked” to fill the libertarian slot. Heh heh, heh heh.

    If that’s the only criteria, I’m a shoe-in!

  9. What went wrong at C-SPAN ??

    Nothing went wrong with C-SPAN. I was watching Jonathan Rauch and another fellow at some forum at CATO this morning. And Nick was there, too! (In the leather jacket)

    But C-SPAN has limited appeal to a small set of political junkies. People want to be entertained, not so much informed and that’s why people watch H&C, although It’s not very entertaining to me.

    Now Penn & Teller’s Bullsh*t. That’s entertainment!

  10. I always thought O’Reilly was more entertaining than H&C. And Chris Mathews more entertaining even than O’Reilly.

    H&C are fun in the rare instances that they come up with some new shit. Whatching the ‘gotcha’ questions and the scripted answers gets old.

  11. I came late to the whole hullaballoo. Ben who? Redstate what? Yesterday I ambled over to What’s more dispiriting than the fact that the Washington Post employed a plagiarist is the fact the editors thought this schmo was worthy of having his stuff reprinted in their pages. Places like WaPo are apparently falling over themselves to capitalize on this so-called “blog” thing that they see fit to give just about anyone a forum, including people who can’t write (Ben) and people who can’t think (Glenn Reynolds).

    Reason, thankfully, hasn’t fallen into that trap, employing as it does at least two people – Julian Sanchez and Matt Welch – who had blogs prior to coming to Reason and who can both think! and write!

  12. Punch-and-Judy shows such as Hannity & Colmes

    Very good description there.

  13. What went wrong at C-SPAN ??

    Nothing went wrong with C-SPAN…

    I disagree. Their revamped dial-in queues, with “Republican/Supporter of President Bush”,
    “Democrat/Critic of President Bush”, and
    “Other/probable nut” (my phrasing) does a grave disservice to the level of discourse they otherwise support.

    It insults the intelligence of free-thinkers (yes, even those in parties) who might differ from their collective/flock/black bloc.

    They used to do an Art Bell/Coast To Coast AM style division by geography, which seemed pretty equitable to me. I suspect that all of the politics weenies come from DC and New York, though.

    Often when they open up the phone lines, I can’t find a queue that describes my position. I believe there’s at least one Libertarian every day who mentions this on the air, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

    That’s what we get for not insisting on being yet another protected class…

  14. The Post should do March Madness-style brackets.

    Ooh, can underdog ThePoorMan knock off #1 seed Atrios?

  15. One problem: when the folks at WaPo think “neither left nor right” they give us the ur-moderate mush of David Broder.


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