I made the point about a month ago that I had grown tired of Politico’s news coverage:
I find myself bored with it, and it seems to be drifting very mainstream media, with all the inherent liberal biases that entails.
Sure, it may just be my impression, but there does seem to be an increasing go-soft-on-Obama, mock-conservative-Republicans, subtly-bash-Palin attitude at Politico. Ben Smith and some of the other bloggers there are still worth the read, but the feature articles have been lacking.
Hugh Hewitt makes a similar point regarding the lack of conservative voices at Politico in a sea of mainstream media liberals:
So what happened at Politico? The big problem is that it grew and you cannot clone Mike Allen, whom everyone generally trusts even though some mistake his affability as pro-Obama tilting. Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith were great second round draft picks though Smith breaks left far more often than he breaks right.
The rest of the team, though, has been built from standard issue, anti-conservative journostriplings who don’t even know their own bias. The tin ears of the senior staff miss headline lurches like this day’s random grab, and whoever came up with the idea of Joe Scarborough to carry the conservative torch is a plant from the Washington Post.
Too bad. I wanted Politico to succeed, to have a site that aimed for comprehensive coverage, that genuinely hit the middle, reported it all without fear or favor and in which when the inevitable bias of political reporting surfaced it could at least be balanced by its opposite number –for every anti-GOP take, an anti-Democrat take. For every pro-Republican piece, a piece that could circulate with “good job” scrawled on it round the White House staff meeting. Most of the time I just want the facts, without the snark that the kids think makes them stand out.
I wanted to trust it to report what was happening, but cannot. The accumulation of left shifts over the last few months has gotten to the point that I just cannot be bothered. I will continue to read Mike because he is a force of nature, and will get to Politico some days when there isn’t much else to read or when someone points me there. But any news organization that is leading with this Joe Scarborough column on this subject and backed up by a list of headlines that could have been penned by Robert Gibbs? Well, that just isn’t a serious place, and certainly not one where you would go to get news of the crucial political battles of the next nine months.
It is, of course, hard to quantify such things. I’ll give you a recent example, for what it’s worth.
When Tim Pawlenty was asked questions at other news outlets about Sarah Palin and the so-called target map, he was pretty generous in his defense of Palin. Yet Politcio seized on one answer, that such a map was not Pawlenty’s style, and then ran with the headling Tim Pawlenty jabs Sarah Palin over ‘cross hairs’. That inflammatory spin, surely meant to sow conflict within Republican ranks, epitomizes to me what has gone wrong at Politico.
I still think of Politico as a political blog, but it now is more of a mainstream media operation populated by people who could just as easily be working at The Washington Post or The New York Times if those newspapers were not in such decline. As such, conservatives should be skeptical of Politico’s news operations.
I’ll still visit Politico for the bloggers. Ben Smith in particular seems to have great sources.
It also will be unavoidable to link to news stories given the scope of Politico’s coverage, much as I link frequently to WaPo and The NY Times notwithstanding my frequent criticisms.
But the motto of the day is verify, then trust. And start taking Politico to task.