Yep, I agree with Atrios and the good folks at Media Matters.
The Washington Post, or rather its online incarnation, has managed to capture the essence of the silliness of the 'media bias' debate in one easily digestible set-piece of its own making.
The right mau-maus Dan Froomkin's online column, gets the wet-behind-the-ears ombudsman to write a really silly column making her own job into a venue for dumping newsroom scuttlebutt on another reporter.
The idea, the notional claim, was that the questions -- or should we more gravely say, the concerns -- about Froomkin's column began with complaints from readers. Actually, not so. They started with a 'complaint' from a young GOP operative by the name of Patrick Ruffini who'd just come off working as official webmaster and blogger for Bush-Cheney 2004.
Like I said, mau-maued. And even pretty shabbily at that.
Now, is Dan Froomkin a 'liberal'? I figure he probably agrees with my politics more than Newt Gingrich's. But it is at most opinion journalism, aimed at hitting points of hypocrisy, deception or double-dealing in public officials. It's written by a credentialed journalist. And he hits both sides.
(In any case, let's be honest: most Dem pols who make the switch into journalism -- Stephanopoulos, et al. -- bend over backwards to create 'balance'. Most Republicans use it as an extension of their political work -- Tony Snow, etc. Anyway, another story for another day.)
So, to 'balance' Froomkin, who may be a commentator with liberal tendencies, the Post goes out and gets a high octane Republican political activist who hits the ground running with a tirade of Red State America revanchism and even journalism itself.
That's balance. That's the Post's balance.
Managing perceptions is the death of good journalism, especially manufactured perceptions, and even more those manufactured for the easily cowed.
I'm embarrassed for the Post. Embarrassed by the Post.
Their explanation doesn't cut it. If they want to make a blogger Crossfire with a firebreather on the left and on the right, they should do it. It might even be interesting. But here they've just been played by bullies and played for fools.
Jump! How high?
I can think of more than a few actual journalists at the Post who must feel a bit embarrassed too.