Former Reasoner Radley Balko Headed to WashPost From HuffPost


Check it out: Former Reason Senior Editor Radley Balko is leaving the Huffington Post for the Washington Post, where he'll head up a blog covering criminal justice, the drug war, and civil liberties.

From the editors of the Opinions section, via Poynter.org:

We are delighted to announce that Radley Balko, one of the country's top criminal justice reporters, will be joining The Washington Post's Opinions section, where he will have his own blog about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties.

Radley has made headlines for his groundbreaking stories and investigations into the criminal justice system across America. His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Mississippi Supreme Court. Radley's dogged reporting in the Cory Maye case helped get Maye freed from death row and later released from prison, and his investigations into the controversial methods of Mississippi pathologist Steven Hayne led to Hayne's dismissal as the state's top medical examiner. His first book, "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces," has been praised across the political spectrum, and hailed as a "must read" and a "searing exposé…of police brutality."

He was named Journalist of the Year in 2011 by the Los Angeles Press Club, which said "Radley Balko is one of those throw-back journalists that understands the power of groundbreaking reporting and how to make a significant impact through his work. Time and time again, his stories cause readers to stop, think, and most significantly, take action."

Radley comes to The Post from The Huffington Post, where he was a senior writer and investigative reporter. He also writes about the music and culture of Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives. A graduate of Indiana University, Radley was previously a senior editor at Reason magazine, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute and an opinion columnist for FoxNews.com.

Radley will be joining us in January. Please join us in welcoming him to The Post.

Fred Hiatt and James Downie
December 4, 2013

Interesting side question: Does this have any implication re: old versus new media? That is, is this Empire Striking Back by signing up figures who have made their bones in the swashbuckling world of online activity? Or does the venerable Wash Post, now owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, count as the new new media?

So perhaps this move actually means that the Huffington Post, which is owned by AOL, which merged with Time Warner (and helped kill it) is now officially the old media. Related: Jack Shafer's "General Theory of Media Exodus."

In any case, it will be exciting to see Radley Balko on a new platform and bringing his signature issues and investigative chops to a new audience. Read his Reason archive and buy his book, Rise of the Warrior Cop.

Here he is in August 2013, talking with Reason about the militarization of police:

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  1. Let the nut punches begin!

    1. With a newspaper, wouldn't it be more like a jimmy tap?

      1. In college, we called it a Bangkok!

  2. Good for Radley!

    I'm not sure how he'll tolerate being surrounded by lesser lights such as Ezra Klein and EJ Dionne, however...

    1. He said on twitter that he's staying in Nashville. Presumably because he's dating Taylor Swift.

      1. Sexy as Hell, but that is pure succubus there. She'll drain your soul and then embalm it for eternity in an emasculating song.

      2. She'll entitle their break-up song Nut Punch.

    2. Well, remember, he was working at the Puffington Host.

      1. Every newspaper needs a token civil-liberties guy these days, just like they used to need a token conservative columnist.

    3. Less light implies Klein and Dionne emit light at all. They are more like mental black holes into which logical thought and integrity disappear. Don't mention them in the same sentence with Balko.

    4. He survived HuffPo, didn't he?

      1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....ir=College

        You have to wonder how he survived HuffPo.

        1. No no no Caleb...the article wasn't all bad...I mean the author is right, marijuana should be legal.

          1. I'm pretty sure the author forgot to mention his plan to make marijuana not only legal but mandatory.

            1. And subsidized...

              It'll give you something to do when your collecting your income for not working all day.

        2. Thanks for that list. It sounds like it was written by a 12 year old who still believes in Santa Clause.

          1. Sounds like the platform from the National Socialist Party.

        3. Everything would be perfect if we just had 14 more laws...

          1. Well, with the feds passing 800 or so new ones each day, not to mention the state and local level ones, we should have already reached peak utopia by now.

        4. 2. The minimum wage should be much, much higher. The minimum wage here? $7.25. In Australia? $14.50, and their unemployment rate is lower.

          3. There should be a maximum pay rate, too. In Switzerland, a proposal came to a vote last week to limit executive pay according to how much the company's lowest-paid worker makes. Swiss voters rejected the proposal, but the issue of a widening income gap remains a priority in the country.

          Didn't read past.

        5. Ok, fuck I did read past. 11 of their 14 proposals were for free stuff.

          This country is fucked sideways. That is all.

        6. This one sounds good:

          4. Every person should earn an income.

          Oh, no, wait. By "earn" they mean "be given whether earned or not".

          1. At the expense of those who've earned theirs.

            Immoral pigs!

        7. Good Lord that made my eyes hurt. It looks like what is left of the NSDAP 25 points after removing the citizenship and race crap.

    5. I'm not sure how he'll tolerate being surrounded by lesser lights such as Ezra Klein and EJ Dionne, however...

      A mature man can work amongst the dim witted.

    6. The Establishment wants him to help keep tabs on those who would undermine the established order.

  3. Nut punches--coming soon to a WaPo near you.

  4. That is great news. Could this mean that the Amazon guy might actually be making the Post into a real newspaper rather than Pravda on the Potomac?

    1. It would be an unusual move prior to the takeover, certainly. Whatever politics the Post has, it's even more consistently rah-rah government. Be interesting if that changes, even somewhat.

      1. It would be nice if WP changed to something embodied by Balko. Then I wouldn't have to go to the WSJ for free-market oriented coverage and watch the editorial board there give head to the NSA.

      2. Did not the Post 'co-break' some of the Snowden information? That was hardly 'rah-rah government.'

        1. The exception proves the rule, and no news source of note can usually completely ignore news that's breaking elsewhere.

          1. In this instance it was breaking elsewhere at the Guardian, which is an explicitly liberal newspaper.

            I would not swallow the conservative line on the Post too quickly. They have 'upset the apple cart' with some big reporting on the federal, state and local government a fair number of times.

            1. My point was that they tend to be pro-government. Which isn't surprising given where they're located. The fact that they occasionally do a government expos? proves nothing, as that's not the usual practice for them. Far more common is the usually The Beltway is the Center of the Universe crap.

              1. The usual, which is usually usual.

              2. Of course they are 'pro government' compared to us, most people are, reflexively. If I want a libertarian perspective on these things I expect to have to go read Volokh or Reason or what have you.

                And I do not begrudge their focus on The Beltway since they are located in DC and a good portion of the citizens there work for the government. It only makes sense for them to report with that focus. As long as it continues to expose the government when it has done wrong I think that is fine.

                1. What's the point of a DC-based paper if it's not first to be a government critic? Regardless of its politics?

                  1. For me the large, 'mainstream' papers serve the purpose of breaking 'news of the day.' I trust them enough to tell me the basic 'this happened today.' So I think the Post will reliably tell me what Obama said today, or what act passed Congress today, or that this or that official got charged with embezzling.

                    Are those papers going to be biased in what they select to cover in that range? Sure, everyone can see it (well, who looks, some people are oblivious to anything). But as you note they usually can not deny the basic facts of what happened.

                    What a lot of people complain about regarding bias is either the opinion/analysis items (which I just ignore) or that there was not analysis added to put what happened in a broader liberal/conservative/libertarian or what have you, context. But I do not expect or need that from a paper like the Post, I would rather get that from actual libertarian thinkers like here at Reason. So the fact that it is missing there hardly bothers me.

                    1. They're not trustworthy on political or government news. Part of that really is leftwards bias, which is undeniable, especially given the media lunacy during this administration, but part of that is, for lack of a better term, just following the establishment's lead.

                      A good paper should rock the boat, not sail in convoy with those it covers.

                    2. Well, for one thing, I think they have broke a lot of the biggest rockings of the boat.

                      As to their trustworthiness on political on government, I find them to be reliable as to the basics I described. Could they have talked to more people in this story, gotten a wider number of views in that one, or explained the context of what this or that fellow said? Sure. But in reporting that Obama gave a speech to X group, and that he said Y quote and that he was heckled by this anti-war protestor, I think they are reliable, and, importantly, first.

                    3. What a lot of people complain about regarding bias is either the opinion/analysis items (which I just ignore) or that there was not analysis added to put what happened in a broader liberal/conservative/libertarian or what have you, context.

                      And also, the mainstream papers choose what is news and what is not news. They sit on stories that are news but don't fit the narrative/agenda of TEAM. That is probably the most egregious of the bias they are guilty of.

                    4. I do not know, on some things, perhaps, but as Pro Libertate said, if other papers are publishing something you can not ignore it for long. As long as there is competition and 'scoops' are thought of as important even papers with clear biases are going to report stories embarrassing to the subject of their bias.

                      I do not doubt that almost everyone who works at the New York Times is to the left of Obama himself, but when this NSA thing broke the Times actually published quite a few damning, and informative, reports on their practices.

                    5. I wonder how long they would have ignored the IRS and NSA scandals, et al if there weren't others out there doing actual journalism? Shouldn't the papers of record actually be breaking these stories, instead of being forced to cover them and then only doing so becasue they have too?

                    6. They did break the NSA scandal, right? The Guardian and Washington Post came out at the same time with it.

            2. Any "inside-the-beltway" reporting that upsets some agency applecart is almost certainly the result of intra-agency squabbling.

              Is passing on leaks that are part of an intra-agency struggle really anti-government?

              1. -Is passing on leaks that are part of an intra-agency struggle really anti-government?

                I think so, and more so from a libertarian view. If news makes an agency look bad, who cares that it came from another agency? Since we do not like most agencies it is 'all good' in my opinion. And having the ear of those agencies, even if for reasons I would be against, might get them stories other sources would not. The end product is a good thing.

    2. This really is great news. It's good that WaPo readers will be regularly exposed to malfeasance by government authority.

    3. It is interesting that Radley, of all people, gets hired by WaPo right after Bezos purchases it. We'll see.

      1. It would just be lovely if one of these major papers actually went hardcore government watchdog. Won't happen and would get "The Treatment" by the rest of the media if it did, but wow.

        Not that I expect anti-government actions from Bezos, particularly.

        1. Won't happen and would get "The Treatment" by the rest of the media if it did, but wow.

          Who cares about the rest of the media? It's "The Treatment" that the paper and every employee would get from the IRS, NSA, and FBI, not to mention local and state police, that they'd have to worry about.

          1. There are many forms of The Treatment available to the unmutual.

        2. You never know. Bezos is a smart businessman. He may see that there could be, and probably is, a big space for a major media outlet that actually does journalism and questions government officials and cops. I mean, it would instantly set itself apart from everyone else, and could brag about how it brings you the real news, asks the tough questions, and posts them on Youtube.

          1. That's what Fox News was about from the beginning for conservatives. Murdoch saw an unserved market and swooped in, and he's more of a leftie than anything else (by American standards, anyway).

          2. That would make the WaPo "innovative" relative to its peers and Bezos is nothing if not an innovator. People love Ritz after a lifetime of Saltines and he know it. I am cautiously hopeful but still lean toward him buying it to enhance rent-seeking and influence-peddling.

            1. What's sad is that Amazon once took a different stance. In fact, when New York pulled that bullshit and totally unconstitutional business with affiliate nexus, Amazon looked like it was going to fight and fight hard. But it learned, like most companies of any size and maturity, that you can't completely ignore the government for long.

              1. Yes I beleive that is true, especially if your business grows to a size that starts draining tax receipts.

                Without that tax money to dole out politicians are nothing and they know it. Anything that threatens that draws immediate ire.

              2. Best to bide your time and find other ways of striking back at leviathan.

                1. I agree wholeheartedly, Tonio.

    4. You know, I wonder if Bezos bought that rag in order to enhance AMZNs rent-seeking activities.

    5. Pravda on the Potomac

      If only, at least Pravda is entertaining:

      The theory that men first assess women based on their figure has been repeatedly confirmed. However, it turns out that women look at each other the same way. A group of psychologists from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, USA) led by Sarah Gervais concluded that women assess the appearance of other women from the point of view of men.

      Scientists have long been interested in the so-called phenomenon of "objectifying gaze." They assume that both men and women when first looking at each other perform some sort of mental "analysis" that captures the degree of sexual attractiveness of a new acquaintance and determines whether the person is suitable for them as a potential partner.


      1. something something irrelevant because patriarchy something something mumble mumble (trails off)

        1. That 3rd or 4 something is always "rape."

      2. Further confirmation that the urge to reproduce drives everything.

      3. Kate Upton is so fucking hot

          1. I'd even take thirds...oh wait, that's not what you meant, is it?

      4. The theory that men first assess women based on their figure has been repeatedly confirmed

        I've seen lots of hot women on the street and I can't seem to remember any of their faces...

        1. I know why, it's ___________, and this is why there are no libertarian women....

    6. As soon as his crony bucks are cut off, it'll be right back to full on statism as is typical of most rags.

  5. It was the HuffPo "no monocles" policy which did him in.

  6. What, he peaked already?

    How is it that a dying industry is still the benchmark of legitimacy?

  7. OMG - can he please punch EJ Dionne? Please? PLEASE?

    1. That's a long line to stand in, but worth it.

    2. In the nuts.

    3. Wait, don't you live in DC? Why haven't you done it already?

      1. I don't work in that 'hood. Next time EJ sets foot in Foggy Bottom....

    4. No, Jennifer Rubin.

  8. It's awesome news - no I don't have give clicks to Huffpo to get punched in the nards.

    1. This.

      So much

  9. This is great news. It was Balko through his opinion pieces back when he wrote for foxnews.com that made the libertarian that I am today (actually, I always was, but just didn't know it). When he went to HuffPo, I actually went there to check him out, and saw what dribble possesses the progressive mindset. That made me more depressed than all his other nut punches ever did.

    1. I didn't realize the prevalence or seriousness of police abuse until I read Balko. I grew up in a town with a lot of rich people, so the town had to listen to people and not hire thugs for cops.

      1. Oh, they hired thugs alright. You didn't hear about it because they knew who they could bully and who they could not. Cops can sense when someone can afford an attorney, and generally go easy on such people. If they sense that you're poor then you're going to have a bad day, no matter what town you're in.

        1. The truth is often very, very ugly.

  10. I just hope the WaPo blogs are less of a memory hog than HuffPo, which is among the worst. (Worse than H&R, in my experience.)

  11. Does Radley have an opinion on the name of the Washington NFL team? If not, he'd better get one fast.

    1. I say just change the name to the Landover Redskins and be done with it.

      1. What would be less offensive to Indians? The Custers?

        1. Washington Smallpox.

        2. Blue Jackets?

        3. The Washington Red Skin Potatoes.

        4. They could follow my old suggestion for the Indians.

          1. Like a true nature's child
            We were born, born to be mild,
            We can get so white,
            I never wanna dye.

            Born to be mild,
            Born to be mild.

        5. Congress' Squaws?

      2. Since it's Balko...how bout the Washington Nut Punchers?

      3. Maryland Redskins is so much more inclusive.

    2. Washington Nut Punch Express

      1. Sorry Rufus...didn't see you down there!

  12. i love reading Balko....it is like a Rage Against the Machine riff....minus the socialism

  13. Good for Mr. Balko. I did not read him when he wrote for this site, but I have read some of his work at the Huffington Post when it was linked to here and found it quite good. And now the Washington Post.

    I think this shows that at least some major liberal news organizations are not as opposed to hiring good libertarian journalists as some might suggest.

    1. Well Balko manages to strike a chord with the last remaining anti-authoritarians on the left (I swear there are some left).

      1. I do not think I will go that far and give too much credit. I think concern for police brutality is something more likely found among liberals than conservatives. But where liberals lag is not thinking about how we should not make certain things illegal in the first place.

        To the extent that Mr. Balko reports on the first then I am not surprised he gets the liberal readership he does. The second is where the rubber would meet the road.

        1. As Ive mentioned before, I see a difference between liberals and progressives. Obviously there are similarities, but the liberals are the ones who get Balko. the progressives are the leftists who oppose him.

    2. Don't tell them he is a libertarian. This might be nothing but a stepping stone on the away to a full Slate infiltration. It has happened before.

  14. I guess Bezos won't be getting fed gov approval for that new drone thingy after all.

  15. Im still pissed he hasnt written Yet Another Isolated Incident yet.

    1. I hear it's the sister volume to go along with The New Police Professionalism.

  16. Dear Radley (if you're reading this)-

    I am pleased to report that at least three people have told me they have read your book. All were shocked and horrified.

    Good on ya.

    1. I ought to get it for someone I know who's mostly libertarian, but still kind of a cop apologist.

  17. Interesting side question: Does this have any implication re: old versus new media? That is, is this Empire Striking Back by signing up figures who have made their bones in the swashbuckling world of online activity? Or does the venerable Wash Post, now owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, count as the new new media?

    I think the biggest implication for me personally is that I might start saying "things were better when Balko gave us the nut punches."

    1. The whole old/new media construct was nonsense anyway. Technology marches on. Movable type came into being, then the steam engine, then the telegraph, etc.

  18. I sense a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were kicked in the nuts.

  19. I'm trying to remember which statist asshole was whining on one of the Sunday jibberjabber shows about how worried he was about Bezos "wrecking" his home town paper; by imposing some sort of limit on the obsequious kowtowing to the Total Control State, presumably.

    Hopefully, Radley will be sticking his thumb in the collectivist authoritarian eye on a regular basis. And much weeping will ensue.

  20. Regardless of old vs. new media, I hope he's getting a bigger paycheck out of the deal.

    It's great that he'll have a wider audience as well - bringing libertarian ideas to the great over-washed masses at the Post.

  21. One of the only true journalists left in this country. This is great news!

  22. Former Reasoner Radley Balko Headed to WashPost From HuffPost

    So a lateral move then?

  23. Good. It was hurting my soul to give the Puff traffic just cause I wanted to get my Balko fix.

  24. "In any case, it will be exciting to see Radley Balko on a new platform and bringing his signature issues and investigative chops to a new audience."

    It will also be exciting (and almost unheard of) to see someone who cares about civil liberties writing in the Washington Post.

    1. Come up with that thought on your own, Anal?

  25. On those cop-shoots-dog stories, has he ever credited Royko, ever? Mike Royko was covering that beat before Balko was thought of.

  26. "..Radley Balko, one of the country's top criminal justice reporters, ..."


    because Balkoes is teh slave of the KOCHTOPUS!!


    So he criticized police militarization... so he busted fake 'expert' witnesses'... so he got a guy off Death Row...


    These fucking guys who think they "expose" Balko are ridiculous.

    "Balko took positions that confused and angered Trayvon supporters who assumed Balko shared their progressive views. Among other things, Balko repeatedly asserted that George Zimmerman had not committed a crime, and Balko falsely claimed that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law was "irrelevant" to Zimmerman's not guilty verdict?a claim Balko was later forced to retract on Twitter."


    But he was *right*

  27. I didn't think he'd stay at HuffPo very long. HuffPo's infantile comment moderation policy was so irrational and erratic that it essentially amounted to a slap in the face to anyone who who tried to follow Balko over from The Agitator. I'm guessing he probably lost a lot of regular followers for that reason.

    Hopefully he'll be treated better at WaPo.

  28. I knew something was up when Balko recently trolled the Huffers with this:

    The Other Feds-Snooping-On-Foreigners Scandal.

    I just hope he maintains some kind of ownership over his blog posts. I worried about that when he mothballed his old blog.

    1. I wonder if he thought he could turn the fluffposters into civil libertarians? I'm sure he had all but given up on that lesson in frustration by the time he decided to leave. I remember one day when I used to post over there, right after they passed NDAA. Everyone there was suddenly my friends and liking my posts. That lasted one day before they were back to calling me teabagging extremist. The Fluffpostians really do have a very short attention span before it's back to the new daily leftist talking points, same as the old daily leftist talking points.

  29. Well, Washington Post IS an upgrade from Fluffington Host. I mean what could be a downgrade from there? Salon? New Republic?

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