Monday, January 31, 2011

A rose by any other name...

In O: A Presidential Novel, an antonymous author (probably Mark Salter) describes a news organization 'Body Politic' (read: POLITICO). This description is a basically a short summary of the charges against Politico. The editor, Will Janssen, is waiting for a reporter to confirm that the President used the f-word in a meeting.
This was the kind of story Body Politic prided itself on breaking. No one would have leaked the Pentagon Papers to it. High-caliber scandaled, government misfeasance, and genuine political controversies were still in the province of old media, and Janssen didn't care. Body Politic wasn't in the business to win Pulitzers. It wasn't a national news organization....It was, in essence, a trade publication, published exclusively for politicians, staff, government bureaucrats, consultants, lobbyists, journalists, and assorted hangers-on who made a living one way or another from politics.
Body Politic had built a profitable business model on the ever shrinking news cycle's appetite for any scrap of information that could be, with a little imagination, interpreted as news. And a presidential profanity, especially one beginning with the letter f, could be interpreted as a crack in the famous reserve of a young president besieged by a quarrelsome Congress and impatient electorate....If the president said f---, Washington wanted to know about it, and Will Janssen wanted Washington to learn it from him first. [emphasis added]
In a POLITICO story on O, the reporter, "ANONYMOUS" notes Salter's past criticisms of the site.

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