Writing at the lefty quarterly journal The Baffler, Stanford Social Innvoation Review editor (and former Boston Review editor) David V. Johnson offers a critical look at Ezra Klein's and Matt Yglesias's Vox.com. He labels it "explatainment" and considers its relative sucess at one of its intended central missions, to become an authoritative source of information (not merely journalism) in the style of Wikipedia. Vox's well-known penchant for liberal-educated-white-guy mansplaining is addressed, as well the biases (hidden and not-so-hidden) inherent in modern hybrid information-entertainment delivery.
Ezra Klein's Vox.com launched yesterday, featuring such articles as What happens to low-income students on the way to college? and Amtrak’s insane train boarding rules, explained [more inside]
The New Inquiry: Just The Facts
With its emphasis on the empirical, conspiracism is uncomfortably similar to the technocratic mindset of mainstream political discourse. Technocratic pundits — typified by the likes of Ezra Klein, a journalist and blogger who runs the Washington Post's Wonkblog — are likewise driven almost exclusively by data sets and empirical studies. As Bhaskar Sunkara suggested in this piece for In These Times, such pundits operate under the assumption that the facts are so powerful that they might lead people of all ideologies to embrace a particular array of ideology-free policies.[more inside]
Our Corrupt Politics: It’s Not All Money. Ezra Klein on corruption in US politics. The key mistake most people make when they look at Washington—and the key misconception that characters like Abramoff would lead you to—is seeing Washington as a cash economy. It’s a gift economy. That’s why firms divert money into paying lobbyists rather than spending every dollar on campaign contributions. Campaign contributions are part of the cash economy. Lobbyists are hired because they understand how to participate in the gift economy.
The Washington Post has invited Donald Trump as its guest for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. WaPo writers Ezra Klein and Dana Milbank are not amused, with the latter pointing out that his paper had recently taken Trump to task for his rampant birtherism. No word yet on how the POTUS might react.
Who, exactly, represents the left extreme in the establishment blogosphere? You'd likely hear names like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald. But these examples are instructive. Is Hamsher a socialist? A revolutionary anti-capitalist? In any historical or international context-- in the context of a country that once had a robust socialist left, and in a world where there are straightforwardly socialist parties in almost every other democracy-- is Hamsher particularly left-wing? Not at all. It's only because her rhetoric is rather inflamed that she is seen as particularly far to the left.Freddie De Boer on the lack of left wing discourse in the blogosphere. [more inside]