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Ed Driscoll

Mencken Weeps

July 3rd, 2010 - 12:35 pm

H.L. Mencken in the mid-1920s:

“It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics.”

The state of Washington elite journalism post-2008? Precisely the opposite, of course, as this recent article in a Washington Post-owned liberal opinion magazine highlights. But that doesn’t stop Journolist member Eric Alterman from defending the Journolist, as Newsalert writes:

As a collective we held people’s feet to the fire, encouraged excellence, bemoaned administration wimpiness and took numerous opportunities to remind New Republic editors and authors that they work for a reactionary racist lunatic. This casual cross-pollination of information, ideas and anxieties can only have had a salutary effect on the quality of American liberalism, high-minded journalism and public policy–oriented scholarship.

Because the last years have just screamed excellence in state-run media. Otherwise, it all sounds brilliant. And a worthwhile reason for readers to see the transcripts, so that we get a look at how the process worked.

Incidentally, pace Alterman’s party-line take on Marty Peretz, whose New Republic functions as a sort of minor league farm team for leftwing journalists to then go to work for bigger publications and then trash the man who first hired them, I guess Alterman doesn’t mind that everybody on Journolist was working to advance the careers of a group of reactionary racist lunatics.