The New Ombudsmen

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 29 2011 9:15 AM

The New Ombudsmen

My new piece starts with the de-front-paging of Andrew Breitbart's blog at the Huffington Post and explains why and how the left and right have developed full-on pressure campaigns to get (sometimes) voices they don't like and (always) voices they see as dishonest of the airwaves/digital... uh, waves.

One thing I really dislike about Twitter is that the first comments on articles no longer come in the form of e-mails or -- oh, I am really saying this -- blog comments. They come in 140 character bursts, and often obviously come before the tweeters have read the article. Some have, though. From Simon Owens:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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You hardly mentioned the fact that Breitbart engages in very similar shut-up-liberals campaigns to what Color of Change did.

Actually, I do -- the irony of the Breitbart situation was that one of his two frontpaged posts told liberals that NPR was "collateral damage" in the battle to define the Tea Party. That's what James O'Keefe has said, too. NPR fired Juan Williams; O'Keefe targeted NPR. I prefer to note that very, very well-reported fact and move on.

Another comment, from Irin Carmon:

Reread @daveweigel's piece still see 0 examples of going after cons for views vs misinfo. Maybe exist, but not in story.

I think she means "zero examples of conservatives attacking the media over views." That's just wrong. As I wrote, that's what the Media Research Center does. Personal example: When I was at the Washington Post, on at least two occasions the MRC contacted the paper to complain about things I'd written outside of the newspaper, arguing that I was violating the bias guidelines, implying that I had to go. At one point, an MRC blogger went beyond umbrage at some stuff I'd tweeted about pro-traditional marriage activists and implied that I was tweeting while drunk on the night of the White House Correspondents Association Dinner. No hunt for "misinformation" there, just an attempt to goad the newspaper into disciplining someone who wasn't being nice to every part of their movement.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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