Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The kings of click-bait journalism

New Republic posts an interview with Politico's head honchos John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei that illuminates their business model. It's an interesting piece if you have a high tolerance for smug pricks, but this is the graf that explains why Charlie Pierce dubbed their rag, "Tiger Beat on the Potomac."

JH: We have an obligation to be interesting. We don’t think of ourselves as the electric company or the water company: Well, we have a responsibility ...”2 That was a mindset in a previous generation of journalists. That mindset might have even been legitimate. There really were only a handful of establishments reporting on this stuff and making judgments on its relative importance. People were looking to editors to say, “Tell me what I should think about.” We are in an era where everyone is his or her own editor and will decide what they care about. If we are boring, ... there is no market for that. Nor is there a public calling to be boring.
In other words, informing the public isn't their job. Informing the public with actual facts presented in context is a loser's game. Won't get a Drudge link with real news. All the money is in useless insider gossip and creating fake controversies. For this crapola we give them special protections under rule of law. And they expect a Pulitzer for it too, which isn't as unlikely as it should be since I think one of them sits on the damn prize committee.

I could mock this at great length but, as usual, Charlie Pierce's scathing takedown of the gruesome twosome already says it all.

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