The Politico is Betting on Ezra

Because really, isn’t the world crying out for yet another hard left Website?

After watching Jeff Bezos plunk down $250 mil for the Washington Post, Ezra Klein thought he could easily shake another $10 mil out of the Amazon founder’s seat cushions for his own adventure in journalism. Now that Bezos has passed, Klein is about test the waters in free agency.


The Politico, which itself was founded in 2007 by a pair of disgruntled Washington Post journalists, wishes Ezra well in own venture, after the young Obama-obsessed pundit made his name at the Post:

“They’re not the most risk-taking organization,” Swisher, who offered advice to Klein during the negotiation process, said following initial reports of Klein’s impending departure. “It may just be a question of energy right now, they have to fix the main business. It may be taking their eye off the ball, or they may want to own it 100 percent, which was one of the issues we had with News Corp.”

“The Washington Post needs to focus on being The Washington Post,” a Post source said. “Now Ezra Klein can focus on being Ezra Klein.”

Some outside the Post, however, saw the decision to withhold funding for Klein as Bezos and Weymouth shooting themselves in the foot. In the wake of early reports about the Post’s decision to spurn Klein’s proposal, several journalists on Twitter noted a parallel between Klein’s departure and that of John Harris and Jim VandeHei — two former Post journalists who proposed a politics-driven media venture to their bosses but eventually left to launch POLITICO.

“It sounds like Ezra wanted WaPo to launch a non-WaPo venture, and maybe they didn’t think that’d be so valuable. But if they lose him it’s a big problem,” Joe Weisenthal, executive editor of Business Insider, said after the initial reports of Klein’s likely departure. “POLITICO took away their bread and butter of covering politics, but thanks to him they had policy. If they lose that too, they’re just a bunch of angry old columnists that people laugh at.”

Swisher echoed that sentiment: “I think in general I would bet with Ezra more than I wouldn’t. I would try innovative new things. I think the Post missed the boat on POLITICO, and long before that they missed the boat on AOL,” she said.


Of course, the column doesn’t mention that some of those people laughing at the Post’s “angry old columnists” include fellow Post employees Klein, Matt Yglesias, Dave Weigel, and others members of what some have called Klein’s “juicebox mafia,” whose coordinated smear tactics and calls for rhetorical violence in their self-described role as Mr. Obama’s “non-official campaign” did little to boost’s the Post’s reputation.

And note this in the Politico article:

For the Post, like other publications before it, the decision is financial, media analysts said. In order to generate its own revenue, a Klein venture would likely require new ad revenue, subscription sales and events. But the Post is already heavily invested in building its core brand, which is The Washington Post. To take on Klein’s project would likely demand sacrifices elsewhere.

“It demonstrates that [Bezos] is indeed a capitalist. That is, he doesn’t see his Washington Post purchase as a philanthropic venture,” Bill Grueskin, dean of academic affairs and professor of professional practice at Columbia Journalism School, said. “It’s very hard to see how a Washington Post site could ever generate the kind of revenue that would meet, much less surpass, [a $10 million] expense base.”


Well no. I doubt that he or the Columbia Journalism School would admit it (obfuscation comes easy to today’s MSM), but Ezra’s the very model of a postmodern major corporatist, as this 2008 clip in which he calls for single-payer healthcare highlights:

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Exit quote:

Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.

Ezra Klein, January of 2008.


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