First, let’s deal with the Post, which has become the homepage for Washington insiders. In the Post, hard political news is treated like gossip columns, revealing the lunchtime political chatter of insiders out of touch with America ruminating about who will best manipulate the small people with the pitchforks.
Sadly, the Post website is now the would-be competitor to the fiercely competitive Politico, though Bostonians should forgive me for suggesting that Weigel's rant will not go down in the history of media with Babe Ruth's home runs.
There are good people at the Post, make no mistake. But The Washington Post today is no longer the Post of Kay Graham, Ben Bradlee and the man who was once Bob Woodward (who wrote some of the most brilliant investigative journalism in media history, but descended to write a hagiographic tribute to Alan Greenspan, whom he called The Maestro, while Greenspan's policies were leading the American economy into the crapper).
The Post has lost touch with its tradition, its history, its greatness and its subscribers. Neither Politico nor Drudge nor the Examiner nor Fox News nor The Hill, for that matter, will be up late tonight worrying about Weigel's next savage salvo telling the left why the left should hate the right (that is sooo boring), and whining that those who don't have strong media can't compete with those who do.
Let me digress to dissent from one specific point in the Weigel rant. I strongly supported Ron Paul being included in the Republican presidential debates in 2008, and Dennis Kucinich being included in the Democratic debates, not because I supported them (I did not) or thought they could win (they could not) but because free speech is free speech.
All serious candidates with something to say, regardless of their poll numbers, should be heard. Otherwise we should cancel the elections and vote through polling numbers, focus groups and dinner party talk of the elites, who can inform us of their decisions between their appetizers and their main course.
Mainstream media and progressive money don't get it. The rise of conservative media, from Fox to Drudge to Breitbart to Limbaugh, is that huge numbers of customers did not believe their views were reflected anywhere else, and entrepreneurs with vision (whether we agree with their politics or not) put their money where their vision is (wealthy liberals, are you listening?).
Why didn't the Post show some entreprenerial flair and create its own Drudge? The Weigel rant reminds me of losing baselball owners, not the poorest folk in the world, complaining about the Yankees spending money that other wealthy owners preferrred to hoard.
Where are the progressive Rupert Murdochs and Roger Aileses and Matt Drudges and Ronald Reagans, who knew the value of promoting media long before he was elected president?
I dont have any use for the Examiner, but hell, their owners are willing to lose money for a product they believe in, while their liberal wealthier compatriots won't even try to make money reaching a huge liberal base that does not have even a remotely comparative voice for themselves.
May the sun whine favorably on MSNBC, but a little advice: They would dramatically raise their ratings among the crucial 25-54 year-old demographic if they would spend less time doing Weigel-like rants about which right-wing media they hate (isn't that boring?) and more time reaching out with real fighting populism and calls to action with their own positive vision of America that moves beyond the left telling the left why they hate the right, and watching the next Democratic congressman tell the audience how great Democratic congressmen are, when 80 percent of the nation thinks both parties are full of baloney.
Matt Drudge has his audience and influence, Fox News has its audience and influence, Rush Limbaugh has his audience and influence, the same way the Post, before its sad loss of standards and its catastrophic loss of subscribers, once had far more influence: the old-fashioned way, by earning it.
If there is a liberal with millions of dollars interested in making money in media, give me a call, and I'll tell you how, because this is not rocket science.
Otherwise, if progressives discussing media are more interested in therapy than product or power they can write angry rants to each other. But I gotta be honest, I'm gonna have to check Drudge right now, because to get what he offers, while it might not be pretty, I have nowhere else to go. Do you?
For this, his opponents have nobody to blame but themselves. Weigel may have my sympathy, but he will never win my eyeballs in this tale of our times that is very sad, but sadly true.