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in what i believe is glenn's first appearance on bloggingheads.tv, he takes on the politico's ben smith in a first-time-evah face-to-face match-up to debate the politico's place in the taxonomy of journalism.

glenn has posted many a disparaging word about the politico's choices in their coverage:

the politico: gossip rag masquerading as news organization?

drudge and the politico — poisonously joined at the hip

the politico's john harris replies

the politico: exhibit a for our broken political press

who funds and runs the politico?

despite some technical difficulties that seem to interfere with the pair's ability to hear one another completely, glenn is characteristically unrelenting (but always polite) in his charges. how unrelenting? to ben's face he basically calls the politico right-wing bottom-feeders that live off the traffic they get from matt drudge, an accusation he has consistently leveled at them on his blog at salon.com.

and the pressure shows. over the course of the dialogue i counted at least three swabs of the forehead from poor ben. perhaps the basement offices of city hall are in need of air conditioning ...

in the first segment glenn explores the right-wing bona fides of the politico's owners. ben denies any corporate influence on the content, and since glenn can't prove it, he's indulging in conspiracy theory. there's no there there.

in the second segment glenn wonders why ben ran with the edwards haircut story, a substance-free bit of trivia whose only impact fed the drudge noise machine. ben says he's just giving his readers what he believes they want to read. glenn schools ben on what makes one news item substantive and another trash.

in the third segment ben wonders what "gossipy attack-based trash" the high & mighty left is not printing. glenn attacks journalists for substituting their own indulgences for the interests of their audience. here ben pointedly agrees that glenn is right that tv journalists are guilty of "blaming the audience" for their choices in coverage.

in the fourth segment ben and glenn wonder whether the media sees its own problems as systemic or anecdotal.

in the last segment, glenn asks ben just what it is the politco thinks their function is, a fundamental question about the site's mission that one would think would be the simplest of all to answer. but poor ben is struck practically speechless and doesn't seem to understand the question, even though glenn poses it twice. (their audio must be really bad despite the fact that we can hear both perfectly.) the best i can make from ben's position in this segment is that the politico exists to "speak directly and straightforwardly to the people who are reading you".

round 1: greenwald. bit of a mismatch i'd say. glenn should have been paired with founding editors jim vanderhei or john harris.

Originally posted to aarrgghh on Wed May 16, 2007 at 04:00 PM PDT.

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