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UPDATE -- Ezra ends up with Vox Media, also owner of SBNation, founded by the founder of this site. Ezra's statement very worth a read.

Screen shot of Media Whore Online site 2002.
For those old enough to remember, my first blog love was Media Whores Online, who with Eric Alterman and BartCop were pioneers in the pushback to the conservative propaganda of a "So-Called Liberal Media." (Media Matters came later.)

In a critical 2002 Salon story, Jennifer Liberto tells this anecdote of MWO's battle with Susan "Steno Sue" Schmidt of the Washington Post:

MWO launched a new offensive against an old target, Post reporter Susan Schmidt, whom they (along with other media critics who use their names) thought covered the investigations against the Clintons with particularly partisan relish. They dubbed her “Steno Sue,” labeling her a stenographer for Independent Counsel Ken Starr, and launched an e-mail campaign. Several of the site’s readers sent Schmidt angry e-mails.

But instead of engaging them as Brown did, Schmidt sought vengeance. After figuring out where two of the e-mails originated from, Schmidt contacted the senders’ respective employers. A small media hoopla ensued; Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler confirmed to the American Prospect that Schmidt did, indeed, contact the employers and was “told not to do it again.”

But those two were mere foot soldiers in MWO’s war, and the incident only helped to spur on the guessing game of who was really the person behind the curtain, sending directives and choosing new targets. Certainly there’s a level of sophistication to those decisions — choosing fairly obscure targets of derision, like Schmidt, for example, loathed only by near-professional Clinton defenders. And that’s got Beltway observers convinced a political professional is somehow involved. [Emphasis supplied.]

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

You can see how much the Salon writer detested MWO and the defense of Schmidt is surely an embarrassment to Salon today. But that was the general attitude toward bloggers and of course it continued for many years, especially against Markos Moulitsas and this blog, which grew to be the largest progressive site.

Back in the day, not only was the Bush Administration and its historic incompetence and malfeasance the prime target of lefty blogs, but its enablers, "Traditional Media," so long cowed by the success of Fox News and right-wing "media watchdogs." If you weren't there, you could not imagine just how awful the media was. (Sure they are awful today, but they were exponentially worse back then.)

Fast forward to this week and the announcement that wunderkind blogger/analyst/journalist Ezra Klein was leaving his perch as head of the Washington Post's WonkBlog. The release from the Washington Post on the event was interesting:

We regret to announce that Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews are leaving The Post for a new venture. [...[ When Ezra joined us in 2009, he was a wunderkind blogger with brash confidence and a burning desire to write a column in the print newspaper. As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind, but now his burning desire has a grander scope: He is looking to start his own news organization, an ambition that befits someone with uncommon gifts of perception and analysis. Ezra’s passion and drive will be missed, but we will take pride in watching him chart out his new venture. [Emphasis supplied.]
Ezra's origins as a blogger (he began with a site with Jesse Taylor at Pandagon which was passed to Amanda Marcotte), his smooth transition to liberal wonk and then his rise to the Washington Post with WonkBlog tells a fascinating story of the arc of blogging and journalism this past decade.

Most telling to me was the change in Ezra's ambitions from becoming a columnist for the Washington Post (surely an assured path for him at this point) to, in the words of the WaPo release, "looking to start his own news organization." I think this speaks to two trends, the waning influence of traditional media like the Washington Post and to the great potential for influence for independent news sources.

One can argue that people like Ezra and Glenn Greenwald are sui generis, and this only speaks to their particular talents, but I don't think so. The field and the business of journalism has changed in dramatic ways. In terms of the work, traditional media does not dictate the terms of the debate. A large part of this phenomenon is driven by cable news, especially the partisan networks Fox and MSNBC. (I don't know what to make of CNN at this point.) Traditional media simply does not carry the influence it once did. I think that as much as anything, Ezra's willingness to cut loose from the Washington Post reflects his realization of this. (Unlike Greenwald, who has always been an outsider, Klein was well perched to reach the pinnacle of the establishment media. I always predicted he would be the new David Broder. And he would have been should he have chosen that path.)

Klein's future now is much more ambitious. And that, it seems to me, is a good thing. I'm very often critical of Klein's approach to policy and journalism, but there is no denying that what he and his team have offered at WonkBlog is utterly superior to anything offered in traditional media. If for nothing else, the focus on policy and issues is unparalleled in traditional media outlets. (My beef was the label attached to Klein's work—that of the "liberal" view of policy. If "liberal" means the centrist view, then sure. But it doesn't and it shouldn't. A world where Ezra Klein represents the "liberal" view is the same world where Hillary Clinton is the "liberal" candidate for president.)

What do these dramatic changes mean for blogging and journalism? In my view it offers us an opportunity for good journalism, unshackled from the dinosaur journalistic enterprises and their rather perverse conventions. It also may prove that the demise of traditional media does not necessarily mean a demise to the journalistic enterprise we all depend on to form our views. For all the rancor we heap upon traditional media, it does remain the main source of our grist for the mill.  But there is nothing saying that the news-gathering function can not be served by other outlets. Indeed, it is Ezra's ambition to form a "news organization" that is the most important part of this particular story and what that ambition signals for journalism—that new models of news gathering are forming and replacing traditional media. This is a good thing.

As for blogging, at least as I think of the form (a medium for analysis and opinions of facts, news and policy), it should give heart to its practitioners who aspire to something more than expressing their opinions. And of course blogging can have many objectives, including for some an entry way to a career in journalism. At this site, the objectives have largely been activist. For others, it can be informing the public in a new and fresh way. It seems to me all of these objective are better served with the changes in the field of journalism.

Blogging as a way to make a living, like traditional media before it, has its own financial challenges. The severe reduction in advertising revenue that has been a constant feature of traditional media woes (one can not overstate the dramatic detrimental effects of the loss of first, classified advertising revenue and then, traditional advertising revenue on traditional media as businesses) also plagues the blogging "business." Much of that needs to be sorted out by those who make their living in blogging.

But the emergence of these new sources for journalism speak to a creative dynamism that can and should lead to great new blogging approaches. The symbiosis between journalism and blogging can become less hostile and more cooperative. A Media Whores Online and its successors will almost certainly always be necessary, but just perhaps, the two forms can learn to appreciate the function of the other.

It's a brave new world that is emerging in both journalism and blogging. I don't make a living at this, so it's an exciting time for me. But I can see where it might be a little bit frightening for those who do earn their living in these ways. It certainly will be interesting to see how it goes.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Speaking of... (62+ / 0-)

    I got to meet Ezra (again, after briefly meeting him back at YearlyKos 2007) on Friday night here at UCLA at a speakers event with reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.  The talk was basically about forging one's own opportunities, so with Ezra's new venture, it fit quite nicely.

    I may or may not have asked him if his new venture was looking to hire a statistician.  ;-)

  •  While here at DKos (39+ / 0-)

    We often think of DKos as a sort of model for all of this sort of thing...perhaps the best example of the model that I see Ezra Klein and Nate Silver following is something more like Josh Marshall's TPM.  That is, while DKos is a replacement for the Op-Ed pages (commentary on the news), TPM and similar sites are beginning to seriously take over the job or reporting the news, with an Op-Ed section led by the site founder.

    I agree with everything you are saying, I guess I just thought a shout out to TPM was in order for its role in shaping the future of online news.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:11:08 PM PST

  •  I still have the (10+ / 0-)

    URL to Media whores in my bookmarks file. In 2004, when looking for online resources for the Kucinich campaign, I found a number of blogger sites that had very good writing and wonderful ideas in spite of the bad press they got from the mainstream media. Another one I frequented was the Conceptual Guerilla, he was full of absolutely great ways to talk to conservatives about Iraq, Afghanistan, and a host of issues that the righties had gone over the cliff about.

    Ezra Klein is a breath of fresh air for many, because he expresses himself in ways the traditional media has trouble 'refudiating' to quote sister Sarah.

    "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

    by zamrzla on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:18:22 PM PST

    •  How can you log on with a computer that OLD? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zamrzla

      ;-)

      No one has mentioned my FIRST bookmark on my web travels each day: Eschaton. And he has had some disagreements with Ezra in the past, mostly on what is Atrios' expertise and not necessarily Ezra's: Economic policy.

      I'll never forget attending Bartcop's JulieFest 2002, in Washington D.C. It was a fundraiser for Julie Hiatt Steele, a victim of Starr's Crusade against Clinton's Cock. It was held at James Carville's restaurant (forgot the name, it's gone anyway). In attendance were Duncan Black and his lovely wife; Avedon Carol; Joe Conason; lots of other bloggers I didn't remember the names of but have gone on to greater fame; and of course Bart and his wife Mrs. Bart and Bart's web guru, Marc Perkel. And how could I forget the guest of honor--David Brock, who signed his book "Blinded By The Right" for me.

      Such a night...

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:37:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

        no, but my bookmark file is over twenty years old. It has migrated and grown exponentially from many generations of browsers on many machines, all the way back to what was my Unix days. I have plenty of FTP sites that are more than likely not there anymore, as well as old BBS links and dial up numbers on file.

        "He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave." — William Drummond of Hawthornedenne (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), Scottish poet.

        by zamrzla on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:42:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ezra Klein does very well on the teevee. He (6+ / 0-)

    comes across as everyone's favorite well schooled nephew who inherited the ancestral whiz kid gene.  Measured, ironic only when necessary, and message laden, Klein should have his own regular spot on a network, say a five -minute shot like the weatherman or an MTV video, in addition to whatever he will be doing on the web.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:30:11 PM PST

    •  He does indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, coral

      I could see there being a "WonkBlog" daily show on MSNBC. Would be a great fit for the 7 pm hour.

      •  How about a DE-Wonkingblog, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, gramofsam1, anna shane, SoCalSal

        at which I always thought Ezra was quite facile. There's a lot of factual detailing that has to go on before the subjects that Ezra covers can be digested. Ezra is very organized in a sentence sense and has a great delivery. And he's pretty.

      •  you don't like lawrence? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando

        I know he's not like the others, he was hired to take Keith O's place and he's better than that ranter, but he's still a self-loving ranter.  He gets boring, but his starting segment shows his staff has talent, or he has hidden talent.  

        But Ezra isn't to everyone's taste, he may not be able to get enough TV viewers.  But he could do spots for them, and he already fills in.

        •  No I don't like Lawrence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anna shane, dclawyer06

          He's obviously smart and well informed but his approach does nothing for me.

          •  he's weird (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando

            that's why I don't hate him. I think he's celibate, and he's probably autistic, he annoys the others, and he sometimes finds a point that is so obviously not important, and he can't let it go.  He is also a bragger, he loves finding where he was right and then showing he was right, so he's embarrassing in that way. I am quite sure that he thought the HBO series the Newsroom was based on him, but then I am sure there are many who have that delusion.  

            Just his many quirks make me like him, since I don't have to socialize with him, but I can't get through an entire show, even when it's DVD'd and I can skip commercials, too boring.  

            •  You don't get Lawrence. He is cerebral (0+ / 0-)

              He is really into what he knows and likes to share. He knows a lot about how government works because he used to work in government. I think he used to work in budget office of the Clinton adminstration. He comments alot about tax and budget stuff. Hubbies a CPA. It is boring to most people. I am sure he is one of those people who often quotes,"Follow the money".

              If you watch "The West Wing" , you could see how he thinks. I belive he helped write some of the episodes.
              He is old-school and somewhat idealistic as apposed to the cynical attitude that is projected in "House of Cards" towards politics.

  •  "... the partisan networks Fox and MSNBC"? (4+ / 0-)

    Please stop with the false equivalence!

    •  They are both partisan (22+ / 0-)

      MSNBC usually sticks to the facts. Fox of course does not.

      Both Fox and MSNBC mostly suck, but Kornacki and Maddow and Hayes are forging something really good there.

      I hope they win the internal fight there on what MSNBC should be. Dump Morning Joe, Tweety and all the stupid partisan filler and do it smart, fact filled, policy driven and you have a winner.

      Of course politics will always be a major part of the fare, but that can be done intelligently too imo.

      Too much of MSNBC is just kneejerk dumb.

      Of course Fox is dumb, despicable and dishonest.

      No comparison.

      •  seems a recent survey (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, inclusiveheart, SoCalSal

        found FOX has the most ignorant viewers, but that MSNBC has it's fair share.  I didn't like hearing that, I like to think that MSNBC viewers also have other news sources, and I feel certain that MSNBC is more factual than FOX, by lots.  Must mean that those of us who prefer to hear what we believe already aren't as informed as those without that requirement? I guess. I mean, what else could it mean?

        •  MSNBC's weakness is that they stopped (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anna shane, Armando, Just Bob

          reporting a wide variety of news - and by variety I do not mean including Justin Bieber stories.

          I think that the network would be pretty great if they would get back to more news, actually.

          As it stands now, their morning hours are filled with a bunch of idiots talking to each other most of the time about noting and offering few insights - no better than Fox during those hours.

          The midday shows have value, but it is near impossible to check in an get much of a rundown of what's going on in the world unless something has a political spin.

          And from 5pm to 11pm, every program is structured around being topical.  So, like when they were basically ignoring the NSA story at MSNBC, it was easy to do so.

          I haven't talked about CNN primarily because that network has become basically unwatchable as far as I'm concerned.  I'd rather watch catheter commercials than listen to Chris Cuomo blather on arrogantly and ignorantly.

          I'm pretty much only watching, reading and listening to BBC these days.  It is not perfect, but they tend to tell whole stories.

          What's missing for me in so much of our current reporting - traditional media and blogging - is story telling.  More and more opinion about a story - but so often the story about which the opinion is being espoused isn't being told.  That's how those "ignorant viewer" outcomes are bolstered.  Not at all surprised that MSNBC's viewership is showing signs of same given the extent to which opinion is offered and how little story telling is going on.

          •  I forgot about the mornings (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            high uintas, Armando, Chitown Kev

            but I am fine with everyone starting with Chris Matthews, I go for political news, and I want it to be biased, factual but what I like to hear.  I always wanted a left version of talk radio, but we never had anyone interesting enough.  I read the NYT, and I can find international newspapers on the net. At least so far.

            I want to hear Rachael tell me what she uncovered on some background story.  I first heard about Christie's bridge on Rachael.  I got to see Dawn Zimmer on UP.  MSNBC in the evening is great for political junkies of the left variety.

            But, I forgot about daytime, they need bigger budgets?  

            •  Daytime... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              anna shane

              I don't think it is about budgets.  I think it is about what they believe works more than anything and I think that's driven by a mix of personality reporting and the rant culture that does at times draw audience share.

              Where all of that is being employed in its most pure form can be found on Morning Joe.  News stories are not reported in any minute of those three hours (one of which is actually a repeat of the early hour).  

              Their attempt at reporting news comes down to a kitsch interplay between Joe and Mika reading headlines picked out from newspapers and blogs and bantering about their personal views about the headlines.  The majority of their time on air is spent most days with a bunch of white guys and Mika discussing news related topics ("related" being the operative word) whilst making jokes with each other and bantering on laughing at each other's "funny" commentary ("funny" in quotation marks because most of it is really not particularly clever or witty).  

              I was watching one day recently only because there was some topical news story that I was curious about seeing how their gaggle would talk about it.  After probably ten minutes of wasting my time on earth listening to these people, I changed the channel having basically decided that a discussion on the topic amongst the Kardashian family would have probably yielded me more information and valuable insights than they did.

              They've added another white guy to the team who is also gay.  He's replaced Willie Geist.  I can't ever remember his name, but I actually think that he's insightful and smart - and is capable of telling a story - of reporting.  But in checking out one of his first few shows prior to the start of Morning Joe, I found that he was relegated to about 15 minutes of sports reporting - and then when he appeared on the panel during a discussion that was supposedly about an important issue - when he challenged the white guy + Mika long timers on the importance of the story, they set to discussing his attire.  They actually asked him to take his jacket off - which honestly really bordered on a form of sexual harassment aside from not being funny or interesting.

              None of that that they are doing on Morning Joe is about money though.  That's one of the better funded programs, I think.  It is what they've convinced themselves works.  But it is a total waste of time to watch.  Given the choice in that day part, it is either the BBC, reading news online, my local news channel or just yielding to a When Haircare infomercial these days.

              •  Is that Thomas Roberts? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                inclusiveheart
                They've added another white guy to the team who is also gay.  He's replaced Willie Geist.  I can't ever remember his name, but I actually think that he's insightful and smart - and is capable of telling a story - of reporting.  But in checking out one of his first few shows prior to the start of Morning Joe, I found that he was relegated to about 15 minutes of sports reporting - and then when he appeared on the panel during a discussion that was supposedly about an important issue - when he challenged the white guy + Mika long timers on the importance of the story, they set to discussing his attire.  They actually asked him to take his jacket off - which honestly really bordered on a form of sexual harassment aside from not being funny or interesting.
                Since i got rid of cable, I only stream the evening shows and thankfully don't even accidentally catch Morning Joke by falling asleep in front of the TV and seeing it when I wake up. But I heard Thomas Roberts somewhere (Up? MHP?) talk about being the new guy doing Willie Geist's show (Way Too Early? or whatever it's called) and he is indeed gay. I assume that's whom you mean.
          •  News, straight journalism (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, Val, oculus

            you need to go to the newspapers for that. NY Times has some great reporters, and the NJ local papers have been stalwart in pursuit of Christie scandal. Maddow had great WaPO op-ed on importance of local news reporters.

            Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

            by coral on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:53:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Alex Wagner is growing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando

        She has had some good interviews. On with Jonathan Turley on the aguments before SCOTUS on Harris v. Quinn which could set back labor unions


        "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
        TheStarsHollowGazette.com

        by TheMomCat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:25:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  MSNBC strikes me as a lame attempt at BI-partisan (0+ / 0-)

        Joe 'Squint' Scarborough comes to mind. My Man Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Tweety Mathews, Luke Russert also, love nothing more than knocking down dirty fucking hippies.

        MSNBC is a business, NOT partisan, which means they are pro-THEMSELVES and their GE stockholders. Which REALLY means they are fucking conservative reactionaries in their most serious messages on the tee vee.

        There is no way that GE is going to let MSNBC become purely a fact-based operation, even if their ratings triple. They will never give up pumping up the pro-business propaganda outside of Rachel's show, et al. Pro-business messages are just as important to their bottom line as it is on CNBC and FOX News. It's their REAL raison d'etre. Maddow leading all cable tee vee ratings is just cream off the top, because propaganda beats ratings all to hell in service to their very real corporate masters.

        "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

        by DaddyO on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:33:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  About CNN (21+ / 0-)
    (I don't know what to make of CNN at this point.)
    My feeling is that they're just flailing about without any direction -- parent company Time Warner doesn't really care what CNN is, other than they want it to be more successful, so they're flailing around trying to experiment with what might work in the absence of any sort of compelling vision for the network.  

    In essence, it is the same process that turned Bravo and A&E from being networks devoted to culture into the brain deadening cesspools that they are today.  That, needless to say, does not bode well for the future of CNN.

    What CNN really needs (and won't get) is to be controlled by someone like Ted Turner again -- someone whose vision boiled down to "developing the most respected news organization in the world".  Do that again, and success will come again -- but the corporate bean counters at Time Warner will never see that because it would cost too much money.

    Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

    by TexasTom on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:44:47 PM PST

    •  Good comment (6+ / 0-)

      The funny thing is on the "success" thing, Zucker is a proven failure at that.

      He can't deliver quality or commercial success.

      Terrible hire.

    •  they're trying to improve rating (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, wishingwell, Just Bob

      and they're targeting the middle right, those who want to hear Democrats called to account, but who don't want to hear about Benghazi every two minutes. So far it's not working, their ratings aren't improving.  But you see it in the way they ask questions, they are showing an obvious bias that doesn't seem sincere.  It looks practiced.  They want to keep their jobs.

    •  Well, Ted Turner wanted to make money (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Just Bob, anna shane

      off of news which before he came along was not an accepted model.  There were many people at that time who foreshadowed the downfall of vaunted news organizations as a result of the pressure to make profit.  The three main broadcasters did not put pressure on their reporting staff to make money for the networks.  The news was a public service.  But that all changed.

      In any case, my overall point is that the media environment is in such a state of financial pressure now that Ted Turner would not probably be able to be successful at achieving quality whilst also making the kinds of profits that investors want to see out of media outlets, now.

      Jeff Zucker is already well on his way to destroying the news organization at CNN.  It won't take that long to exorcize the journalistic culture and turn it into an entertainment network.

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando

      I like Faux News and MSNBC for what they are (that is, I like the idea of a "conservative" news channel like Fox, what I don't like are the outright lies, distortions, and faux drama).

      CNN cut it's teeth on straight news; breaking news and in -depth analysis; they should go that way again because...it works.

    •  I miss the old CNN that did news. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Chitown Kev

      Al Jazeera used to be good on international news -- especially Egypt -- before they cut off live stream in US.

      I'd love a news show on TV that was serious and had some great national and international reporting. I don't think that is economically viable given our media system.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:56:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gads, but I loved the Horse! (10+ / 0-)

    Media Whores Online (once notoriously misattributed as Media Horse Online) was my gateway to political blogging as well. It is almost impossible to overstate how important and necessary that site was during the days when the news media really were nothing but ventriloquist dummies for the Bush White House and the Republican party, no questions asked.

    I think I probably first learned about Daily Kos from the Horse.

    •  Same here (5+ / 0-)

      It's incredible to look back on how quickly and thoroughly any kind of rational public debate or criticism was shut down under the Bushies, especially following 9-11 and the rush into war, but even before, in the aftermath of the stolen election.
       The Horse was one of the brave few who spoke out early and broke the spell. I'm not sure if it was even technically a blog, in the sense of a database driven site you could edit in the browser - it seemed like it was just a very basic HTML site, but updated periodically in a proto-blog format.
      It could cause embarrassment in meetings where I was projecting my laptop and "Media Whores Online" would pop up in my browser address field. But perhaps that turned some people on to it that wouldn't have visited a political site otherwise.

      Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

      by Perry the Imp on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:24:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  All homage to The Horse! (6+ / 0-)

      I haven't been the same since The Horse went out to pasture!
      For wit, for satire, for long-overdue focus on DC Village hacks, The Horse set the standard.  

      They made blogging fun and made their readers come back and back and back for more.  Until there was no more.

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:30:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Horse was a pioneer, a traiblazer, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Midwest Meg

      a pathfinder, a light in the darkness, a canary in the coalmine, a menorah in the window.

      Seriously, even pre-Iraq-war fever, in early 2001, the Horse was amazing.  It was the voice of outrage after the stolen election.  it went bluntly after the "stenographers" and coined so many lasting names -- Howard "the Duck" Fineman,  Howard "Mistah" Kurtz.  I really looked forward to the Whore of the Year/Month honors.  They were truly earned.

      Remember "Jim Jeffords Day" when the NH Senator switched parties to give the Dems a Senate majority?

      It took me a while to realize that, e.g., "Slate" was not really liberal -- and the Horse helped show me that.

      What fascinated me is that MWO used scathing and angry rhetoric to support centrist political figures like Gore and Clinton.  It was as though Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin supported mainstream Dems, but with the same antics that they went after them in the '60s.

      (btw -- they gleefully accepted the "Horse" name and even featured a horse picture as a symbol, didn't they?)

      Amazing that the writer(s) of MWO are still not known.

      Steve Gilliard Lives.

      by Bethesda 1971 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:52:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I still love the slogan for Media Whores... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bethesda 1971

        "The site that sought to brings the media to its knees......and discovered they were already there."

        I think MWO also gave us the three-part-dance step of the traditional and conservative media when it was going after dissidents: Personalize. Trivialize. Marginalize.

        It's still the modus operandi.

  •  I LOVE BartCop. I still read his blog (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, myboo, ThinkerT, Just Bob, dclawyer06

    from time to time. I cut my teeth at DU.

    I still think the Clintons are closet Republicans.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:56:24 PM PST

  •  I keep looking for news from this new venture (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, a2nite, Armando, anna shane

    As far as I can tell they haven't gone live yet.

    Does anyone have any news or links?

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:57:20 PM PST

  •  I like the idea (5+ / 0-)

    of a news source that can get background and details. When I have questions and ask them here, I get some great responses, but asking Ezra would be asking the guy who knows the source, and since he'll want readers, and he can't help following a story to get to the 'cause,' his organization may be the answer to those of us who want to be there during his search, to know what the wonk thinking is, and the wonk why.  

    I didn't hear anything this morning about West Virginia and how it is that the residents are left on their own, and that even with a disaster response from Washington no one seems to care, and if it were a terrorist attack, this would be the biggest story on earth.  And the real story is drinking water, and what I learned here is that the clean water act got gutted, and it's effectively not a clean water law at all.  It more protects polluters than prosecutes anyone.

    And somehow I suspect that Ezra would have the answers, who dropped which balls and when, who profited from said dropped balls and how, and who should be shamed right this minute.

    IMHO

    Get started Ezra.

  •  Very interesting and informative, thank you. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, anna shane, Unca Joseph, coral

    I really just stumbled on to this site a long time ago and knew very little about the broader blogging world. This was educational for me.

  •  "I don't know what to make of CNN at this point" (8+ / 0-)

    I'll help. CNN wants to be partisan, but is too incompetent to pull it off properly.

    There's no such thing as a Free Information Kit. There is, however, advertising.

    by lotac on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:26:17 PM PST

  •  It was a sad day... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, anna shane, Just Bob

    when my MWO bookmark starting showing a static page...

    At least in the short term, I think we'll get some actual journalism out of projects like Klein's new one.  Right now, there's so many people hoping for failure, poring over the sites looking for mistakes, that the blog publishers (at least on the left) need to be very diligent in sourcing or at least confirming their stories.

    I still remember being online the day that a certain GOP congressman's (Kaloogian) photos alleging a visit to a peaceful Bagdad during the second Gulf War were debunked based on co-operative crowd-sourcing here on DK.  It was very exhilarating seeing it unfold in real time.

    Hopefully that same energy will infuse these new online journalism projects. There probably also needs to be some clarification on just what legal protections blogs have compared to tradition media.

    My fear, however, is that when these projects actually start being taken seriously, that they may fall into the same trap that most of the current Beltway celebrities have, and start taking themselves too seriously.

  •  The "new journalism" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck, Armando, Just Bob

    You argument here is all the more reason why we cannot allow congress or the DOJ (pdf) to define who is a journalist in the digital age

    One can argue that people like Ezra and Glenn Greenwald are sui generis, and this only speaks to their particular talents, but I don't think so. The field and the business of journalism has changed in dramatic ways. In terms of the work, traditional media does not dictate the terms of the debate. A large part of this phenomenon is driven by cable news, especially the partisan networks Fox and MSNBC. (I don't know what to make of CNN at this point.) Traditional media simply does not carry the influence it once did. I think that as much as anything, Ezra's willingness to cut loose from the Washington Post reflects his realization of this.
    A federal court has recently ruled that bloggers have First Amendment rights


    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 02:38:05 PM PST

  •  I have a sense that I first landed here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, TheGreatLeapForward

    by way of one of Eric Alterman's links (back when he was at MSNBC). It's been a dynamic ten years or so, that's for sure.  

    Ezra has about a year on me, which is scary.

    Also, check your email.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:18:46 PM PST

  •  If your 30... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, jayden, oculus

    Back in the day that was the age "not to be trusted".  Now you a "wunderkind"...

    As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind,
    Who knew?  "The times they are a changing"...

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:22:11 PM PST

  •  Ezra Klein is going to work with VoxMedia. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, anna shane, TheMomCat, andgarden

    Home to The Verge etc.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:43:33 PM PST

  •  Still miss the "Horse." (3+ / 0-)

    and, of course, the Chris Mathews drinking game.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:57:08 PM PST

  •  I think we've moved past the term "blogging" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden

    There are still and will always be "web logs", but surely this and others have moved well past that, to the realm of alternative media?

    Blogging, to me, suggests something you do mostly part time, as a side thing to your "real" job. When it becomes a full-time pursuit that pays your and your staff's living, and gives more established (establishment) media sites a run for their money, I think it's become something else, something bigger and more sophisticated and, by definition, professional.

    But, whatever, it's just a word.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:53:50 PM PST

  •  Someday... (0+ / 0-)

    someone is going to write a definitive history of progressive blogging and it's going to be an interesting read for anyone interested in the backstory of non-traditional media.

    Blogs like Media Whores (aka "The Horse") and Atrios garnered huge audiences for almost no money input.  There was no "subscription" model at first for the voice of the left. When Jane Hamsher first published FireDogLake, she was getting below 1000 hits a day for probably her first year, but her persistance and good writing from herself and ReddHead and a few others pushed FDL into a voice for the left, as well as the FDL involvement in the Lieberman/Lamont election in Connecticut.  

    DKos started as something far less than the Great Orange Satan that we all know and love today, when the site began to gain some traction Kos went out an asked for folks to help fund his fist server(s) and then the upgrades in software (Scoop) and hardware.  FDL was building a community and I think that Markos was too, they were almost parallel but DKos realized the critical mass of community first by virtue of planning and a wider interest base than FDL had or has now.  Reference the DarkSyde post above.

    Bloggers like Jesse Taylor who brought Ezra Klein into Pandagon (and the spotlight) back in the early 2000's set standards for the use of humor and great writing in progressive blogging that was shored up and expanded by the inimitable TBogg, who suffered the lunacy of being "outed" by some right-wing idiot in SoCal. Something similar happened to a progressive southern blogger South Knox Bubba who was fairly influential and wrote a lot about what was happening in southern politics.  Bloggers like SKB and Tbogg struck enough right-wing nerves with their dead-on commentaries to enrage folks on the right to go after them personally, not just take on their ideas; something that has become a trademark of the right-wing on the internet.  See also, Juan Cole whose career was interrupted by wingnuts who felt he had crossed whatever imaginary line they allow others to have in their thinking.  

    Other left-wing bloggers focused on narrow targets, like the size of Andrew Sullivan's ego and regularly took him to task for his moronic asshattery; Smarter Andrew Sullivan and SullyWatch come to mind, others went after Sully too, but none so well as those two.

    The political blogging scene has changed today for progressive bloggers, and it seems has remained stagnant on the right, Red State knowingly or not follows Murdoch/Fox narratives with little to no difficulty or imagination. Blogging on our side of the tracks has changed, in both it's message and perspective: once focused on George Bush and his failed policies blogging on the left has become both a town hall for ideas and commentariat on ideas good and bad, which get analysis and discussion which propels meaningful ideas (and occasionally candidates for office) along.  

    It's an interesting subject.  Ezra and his new "enterprise" are the offshoot of a distinguished line of bloggers who have kept our political discussions both alive and vibrant.  Except maybe TPM.  

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:30:05 PM PST

    •  You mentioned some important names (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jo fish

      and I would add The Daily Howler .  

      Bob Somerby's blog was a haven of sanity for me during the 2000 election season.

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:06:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Radiowalla

        I also neglected to mention Digby, who was a serious voice that came from Atrios. Her writing and insights were exceptionally important, and still are.  Ana Marie Cox, aka Wonkette also managed to call out the overinflated Beltway egos, and managed to get herself a good gig while, it seems, keeping her soul.

        A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

        by jo fish on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 05:06:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good to see this acknowledgment: (0+ / 0-)
    For all the rancor we heap upon traditional media, it does remain the main source of our grist for the mill.
  •  this is my kind of meta.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    will be back later to finish reading comments ...when it will be too late to leave recs.    

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 06:17:16 AM PST

  •  Is there a market for a Center-Right blog? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ruellia

    I understand what drives righties to Erickson and Breitbart and what drives lefties here to DK but I have a hard time seeing an audience for Ezra unless he goes through another metamorphosis and emerges a butterfly of a different color than he has been at WAPO. He will of course command the attention of the very serious people within the beltway but then so do Richard Cohen and Ruth Marcus.

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