Political Animal


April 12, 2012 12:33 PM Free Bacon Would Have Been Tastier

By Ed Kilgore

Yesterday in my sign-off post I noted that the Washington Free Beacon had already hit rock bottom by posting an “article” (unbylined, as it happens) making a big deal out of a few misogynist names among the 1261 on the Twitter “following” list of an Obama campaign staffer. I mean, really, that’s pretty pathetic. But it’s also sadly typical for a publication that began life so recently with at least a bit of resume power and a whole lot of bully-boy swagger.

Anyway, Paul Waldman at TAP has already penned the Free Beacon’s obituary as a serious publication, unless it changes its ways drastically:

This is the Breitbartization of journalism, in which the only goal is to embarrass liberals, because, you know, screw you, hippie. Conservatives cry a lot about bias in the media, and every once in a while, they say, “We’ll show you! We’ll start our own news organizations, and they’ll show everyone the real news the liberal media won’t tell you! Not only that, this won’t be just a bunch of conservatives calling people names. It’ll be real journalism!” And then this is the best they can come up with.

I hope that I (and you, dear reader) are not guilty of liking the sort of puerile crap the Free Beacon publishes if it comes from people who agree with my politics. Nothing this bad on the Left comes to mind—certainly nothing that enjoyed the kind of hype that site did when it was launched.

And apparently money, according to Conor Friedersdorf, who observes:

So there you go, conservatives. Aren’t you glad your elites inside the beltway have decided to finance this “combat journalism”? How would you possibly compete in the public arena without paying twenty and thirty-somethings better-than-journalist salaries to do this kind of work?

If there was money being showered on Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti, he would have been better off using it to buy media influence with free bacon.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • SadOldVet on April 12, 2012 12:46 PM:

    What is a misogynist name?

    Is there a way to spell a name that makes it a misogynist name? If you pronoun it with a lisp does that make it a misogynist name?

    If you are referring to names of individuals who are misogynists, who is the arbiter of whether an individual is a misogynist?

    Another really wonderful posting by Ed that uses a lot of words to say nothing.

  • schtick on April 12, 2012 12:51 PM:

    Why do "conservatives" need it anyway? They already have Faux Fake and BS Nooz.

  • calling all toasters on April 12, 2012 1:14 PM:

    To be fair, it's hard to come up with a lot of hard-hitting copy when 50% of your staff is assigned to the Obama Sexual Indiscretion desk.

  • Roger the Cabin Boy on April 12, 2012 2:32 PM:

    I think we need a media outlet that solely exists to embarass conservatives. They're such a target-rich environment (and there are a bunch of them who aren't particularly bright, Louie Gohmert and Steve King come to mind, not to mention La Bachmann) and I think it's about time our side noticed that this is mortal combat, not because we want it to be but because they do. We need some unconventional forces of our own out there to do the dirty work that must be done.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on April 12, 2012 3:14 PM:

    Roger: I suppose that would feel good, but what does it accomplish? Undecided voters are hardly going to be swayed by this Free Beacon nonsense.

    (Bonus CAPTCHA aside: My life here got so much easier when i realized it doesn't matter what you type for the "real" scanned image, just the other, made-up word. Today i have what appears to be a picture of a door with an illegible sign on it. What should i type to represent that "word"? Doesn't matter!)

  • Joy on April 12, 2012 5:44 PM:

    I live in DC and went to a book reading/signing for The Fox Effect by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt. When they opened the floor for questions, three or four dudes shoved their way to the microphone, announced they worked for The Washington Free Beacon, and asked some ridiculous question about some memo where Mr. Ari Rabin-Havt expressed some opinion on Israel. When he wouldn't engage wit them, they got obnoxious but then one moved aside and the next one did the same thing. I couldn't figure out if they thought they were discrediting the authors or just wanted to get on C-Span (who was taping). The audience sat there and shook their heads at the stupidity of it all. They seemed a lot more like douche-bag frat boys than journalists.

    Man, now I want bacon.

  • Doug on April 12, 2012 8:08 PM:

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with occasional, from-the-heart vituperation. Clears the sinuses, invigorates the blood and creates an over-all feeling of satisfaction for a job well-done. However, it needs to be sandwiched inbetween articles, or paragraphs at least, of well-written, FACTUAL argument for or against whatever the topic is.
    That's the way Mencken operated and he's still being quoted three-quarters of a century after he died and nearly a century after he wrote his best comments.
    Do it ALL the time and it loses its' bite.
    And more importantly, your audience...