I woke up this morning to read an astonishingly bad piece of reporting/analysis from Politico, publicly chin scratching about the apparently massive press bias against the Romney campaign. But a piece in GQ sums it up better than I could so let me quote the key passage …
(5) Let’s get macro for a moment. This Politico story was written by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, two people at the very top of the organization’s masthead. It’s effectively an unsigned house editorial. And it levied a charge of journalistic malpractice at two of Politico’s biggest rivals. The house position of Politico, as evidenced by this piece, is that they are fair and their chief competition is not. It’s a thinly disguised, fundamentally craven argument for Politico’s superiority in the world of political coverage. Let’s call this article for what it was. It wasn’t journalism. It was business.
Actually, it goes beyond this. Politico is a bit notorious for using its news pages to attack key rivals, whether that’s in pieces like this or pieces nominally slotted as ‘media’ coverage. Not surprisingly, one political news publication is not in a great position to disinterestedly critique its rivals (that’s one reason I’m writing this in our editorial section.)
But that’s mainly an issue for other publications and not particularly relevant to readers who just want quality news coverage. What is relevant is the aggressive concern trolling on behalf of conservative complaints about media bias. And that’s not about journalism either — it’s about trolling for sources and business. So Politico is the golden mean against which all competitors are judged as falling short. Every publication is a business. And every business does positioning. But that’s better left to press releases and marketing than sock-puppetting news articles.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.