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 post.com 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 post.com, 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.
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.