By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers
Sure, political news site Politico has a reputation for cranking out stories at lightning speed and scooping other media outlets left and right, but it's possibly with an unquestioning swiftness, slams Air America Radio's Ana Marie Cox. "Every administration, every campaign, will develop a few favorite places, and they will always get the news first," says Cox. "That used to be the AP, the New York Times, the Washington Post —now Politico is one of them because Politico won't question a word," she said at today's Campus Progress and The Nation Youth Journalism Conference.
But why Politico? Cox's big complaint, coming from her experience working in both the mainstream press and as an independent writer and blogger on the campaign trail, was that journalists were simply being spoon-fed stories from the candidates' opposition research teams. "They basically package up a story for you—like with pictures, an outline, talking points—and deliver to your doorstep," she says. "Politico was kind of built on that, actually." It's not necessarily a bad thing, but Cox called for more transparency in the matter. "Right now, the culture is such that if you said, 'I got this from an oppo researcher from the Obama campaign,' the Obama campaign would never talk to you again, so you keep your sources secret," she says.
"There are other practitioners, but Politico's pretty bad," Cox concludes. For its part, Politico had no comment, though in a recent interview, editor John Harris had what could be the slap down when he told Whispers that the paper and website are making money and hiring, something few in the media can claim.
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