As expected, Dan Froomkin, after being unceremoniously fired by the Washington Post, landed a new high-profile gig: The Huffington Post. According to Glenn Greenwald, Dan Froomkin will have a staff of four reporters, an assistant editor, and will publish at least two articles a week for The Huffington Post’s front page section.
Though the precise reasons for Froomkin’s firing by The Post remain unclear, there’s no question that his penchant for aggressively criticizing establishment media behavior escalated tensions. In recent months, The Post spiked columns of his that contained pointed media critiques. In the wake of his firing, Post defenders misleadingly focused on (and then rebutted) the obvious strawman argument that Froomkin was fired for being “liberal.” But that, in fact, was something virtually nobody claimed. Instead, it was Froomkin’s practice of exposing the corrupt practices of establishment journalists (both by his words and deeds) that made him such a unique presence at The Post. Pioneering press critic Bob Somerby put it this way:
Dan Froomkin criticizes the press corps. In the press corps, if you’re a liberal, that just isn’t done. . . . If there’s one thing you’ll never see [E.J.] Dionne or [Eugene] Robinson do, it’s criticize their cohort—the coven, the clan. . . But in the mainstream press corps, liberals don’t discuss the mainstream press. That’s the price of getting those (very good) jobs. It’s also the price of holding them.
Indeed, nothing eliminates the possibility of establishment journalist jobs more quickly or decisively than criticizing the establishment media as being too sycophantic to political power, manipulated by the Right, and, in general, slothfully devoted to doing nothing other than uncritically repeating what “both sides” say (by stark contrast, the tired right-wing grievance about The Liberal Media is not just permitted but welcomed; Bill Kristol spent years depicting The New York Times as an anti-American, Terrorist-loving beacon of left-wing bias, only to be hired by them as a full-time columnist, while right-wing polemicists who voice similarly trite claims about the media — Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Bennett — are routinely heard in the very venues they attack). As Brad DeLong documented in a thorough retrospective on Froomkin’s firing, the first attempt at The Post to remove Froomkin from his status as “reporter” was driven by right-wing complaints that the content of his column was inappropriate for a reporter.
[Click to read more Dan Froomkin hired by The Huffington Post – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com]
I can’t claim to be an unequivocal fan of the Huffington Post business model, but at least they are trying. I hope Arianna Huffington will allow Froomkin the free reign to criticize the Washington press that his beat requires, despite Ms. Huffington being so chummy with so many of them.
Also, will there be a customized Froomkin RSS feed? I’ve tried subscribing to The Huffington Post’s RSS feed before, and soon was overwhelmed with way more information than my brain could handle.