Just Shoot Me Them

It must be the off-season, when everyone goes on vacation, because neither DougJ nor the Sadly-naughts have discussed this particular travesty yet. Ken Layne at Wonkette tells us “The Atlantic [Is] Hiring 29 Journalists and an Idiot“:

The media industry has fully recovered, as evidenced by this job listing seeking thirty (30!) journalists at the Atlantic Media Group. But Atlantic Media Group’s National Journal just got rid of thirty (30!) journalists through buyouts, so the net gain of Journalism Jobs is zero (0). Still, this is enough for a shitty trend column by banal global golfer and language rapist Tom Friedman. Wait a minute, that’s just what The Atlantic needs!
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Wonkette operative “Tom Y.” sent along this Want Ad with the subject line, “ATLANTIC SEEKS TO CLONE WORLD’S WORST COLUMNIST,” which is about right. Except for the cloning part. Atlantic Media Group clearly wants to find and groom and create the next awful conventional wisdom hack on the bestseller list, and they hope to find this Mustache of the Future while the economy’s still in the toilet and every journalist fears for his or her job, every single day…

The ad itself seeks “two dozen reporters” to fill “30” openings, which is either an unusually clear signal that each new hire will be expected to perform 125% of a full-time job, or Economist Math in action. It goes on to promise:

… In all of its hiring, Atlantic Media seeks two pillar qualities – force of intellect and a personal spirit of generosity.
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Recruiting down two paths:
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Recognizing that these gifts may not present in the same individual, Atlantic Media is recruiting for individuals working down either of two paths: relentless breaking news or original, rigorous commentary.
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Breaking News – especially web savvy: The intention here is to identify reporters made for – naturally wired for – breaking news. High metabolism. Relentless. Unstoppable. Prolific.
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Original Insight: The intention here, harder to realize, is to identify individuals made for – naturally wired for – original insight, original frames for comment on the large, national issues. Economist rigor; Tom Friedman insight.

I repeat: “Economist rigor, Tom Friedman insight.” The ad may claim that “In the moment, our recruiting is focused on the National Journal magazine” (and can the person responsible for writing that ever be punished as they deserve?) but these traits in combination suggest an even more horrible possibility: Megan McArdle is getting an intern of her very own.

I guess The Atlantic board figured a nameless flunky to fill all those gaping interweb inches would make a nice wedding present, and that selfish little pommy bustard Sullivan wouldn’t give up one of his. Or else they assume that McArdle will pull the standard “conservative feminist” trick and refuse to return to paid employment after the honeymoon, on the grounds that waiting in line for the latest piece of hipster technology and researching the perfect brand of imported Himalayan pink salt is a full-time job in itself.

Whatever the reason, it remains a golden opportunity for anyone seeking revenge on an unemployed liberal-arts major who’s done something truly unpleasant, or possibly a young stupid relative with a boundless sense of entitlement and a poor grasp of social boundaries. (I wonder what Joran van Sloot is doing these days?) Any suggestions for crafting the perfect resume to properly respond to this solicitation gratefully accepted…






45 replies
  1. 1
    bago says:

    I like Andy, despite his forays off into “provocative racial” territory and what not. However, the phrase “selfish pommie bastard” is quite precious. It should make a resurgence somewhere.

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    “Economist rigor, Tom Friedman insight.”

    Gods in Heaven, I thing I’m stealing that for, well, pretty much all purposes. I’ve never seen such a laughable phrase.

  3. 3
    widmerpool says:

    Sullivan isn’t a pommy, he’s a limey.

    Otherwise your speculation sounds spot-on.

  4. 4
    fucen tarmal says:

    ok, so are they saying that force of intellect (smart) and personal spirit of generosity (slutty) are two separate paths?

    smart sluts need not apply?

    or if you are a smart slut you have to choose one or the other, for purposes of recruiting. if so i would choose the slut path, because its easier to fake dumb, than to choose the smart path and fake not being slutty…be that as it may.

    or it may be that the smart sluts aren’t part of the two paths, really its unclear, which is a bad sign in a want ad for a media company…its like anorexic chef, or a therapist who cuts themselves.

    here is where it gets weird, you have to be “naturally wired for”, this seems like a big important phrase, a key, to what the hiring man, or lady is looking for….high metabolism skinny, which for a media job where you are surfing the web seems odd, but a skinny maybe smart slut, who is relentless, unstoppable, prolific ….lindsay lohan! or amy winehouse.

    the other side kinda smart maybe less slutty, maybe not entirely by choice, but in spirit with original frames on national issues, with the rigour of an economist who can’t get off his lazy collegant ass and go run the businesses he says are doing it wrong and the insight of a guy who isn’t insightful to many…. james o’keefe!

    so there you have it, their ideal candidate templates are lindsay lohan and james o’keefe…happy hunting.

  5. 5
    PeakVT says:

    Economist rigor; Tom Friedman insight.

    Clive Crook, in other words.

  6. 6
    bkny says:

    Economist rigor; Tom Friedman insight.

    good grief.

    before clicking the links, i was really hoping this was from the onion.

  7. 7
    Riggsveda says:

    “…seeks two pillar qualities – force of intellect and a personal spirit of generosity.”

    Yes, I can see that spirit of generosity at work with every McArdle column. Christ, to what depths this once-noble publication has sunk!

  8. 8
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    It appears you did not quote what had to be the fine print in the ad covering conditions under which your immortal soul was bound to the publication for all eternity, in exchange for having a job. The Devil is always in the details.

    I am assuming this was a case of firing older and higher paid individuals in order to hire a crop of young and inexperienced souls in order to save money?

    Sort of putting this publication on the level of Circuit City’s action back in 2007: Circuit City fires 3,400 better-paid store workers . Read the article. A devastating indictment of our times, riches for the CEOs, poverty level wages for workers.

    Of course, for this particular publication, maybe the level of journalistic quality one would expect from a Circuit City would be a step up?

  9. 9
    Starfish says:

    Why is there so much Himalayan pink salt everywhere I look these days?

  10. 10
    R. Porrofatto says:

    “Pillar” is not an adjective, even in the moment.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    (I wonder what Joran van Sloot is doing these days?

    Being held on murder charges in Peru.

    dms

  12. 12

    naturally wired for

    I think this is something Matoko_chan could explain for us.

    Seriously, that is one of the most obtuse help wanted ads I have ever read.

    And as long as we’re talking about firing older, more experienced, higher-paid workers and replacing them with younger, less experienced, lower-paid workers, why don’t we apply the same principle to upper management? I couldn’t see how the new CEOs could do better than the ones we have now.

  13. 13
    SRW1 says:

    “… and a personal spirit of generosity”

    So they are expecting candidates to pay for the ‘privilege’ of calling McMegan a colleague?

    As one P.T. Barnum is claimed to have said: ” … born every minute.”

  14. 14

    Well, that’s one less news website to read.

    As another commenter noted, firing the experienced people really worked out well for Circuit City.

  15. 15
    Comrade Jake says:

    Sorry to be a buzzkill here, but the Atlantic is an excellent rag. Excepting the articles by McArdle, the writing’s typically quite good and the pieces are interesting.

  16. 16
    RSA says:

    …force of intellect and a personal spirit of generosity… Recognizing that these gifts may not present in the same individual…

    Are smart, generous people so rare in the media world? So Atlantic will hire a mixture of smart, selfish assholes along with some clueless do-gooders. That’ll work.

  17. 17
    JGabriel says:

    … an even more horrible possibility: Megan McArdle is getting an intern of her very own.

    Overheard at The Atlantic: “Megan, we have to put out an ad before you can hire your live-in boyfriend as an assistant. It’s an EEOC requirement.”

    .

  18. 18
    JGabriel says:

    Economist rigor, Tom Friedman insight.

    THAT should be a Balloon Juice tag.

    .

  19. 19
    Cat Lady says:

    @Starfish:

    Am I a bad person for having some? I have sel gris and fleur de sel. Also.

  20. 20
    Ash Can says:

    I read “personal spirit of generosity” as “willing to work for no pay.”

    And hell, I’m just coming off a whole week of watching a couple dozen relentless, unstoppable, and prolific guys do their thing. The Atlantic wouldn’t be interested in them, though, because they’re not writers. And they’d be even less interested in The Atlantic, because they’re way too busy these days showing a large piece of antique silverware around the major Midwestern city they now own.

    ::staggers off still clutching a champagne bottle::

  21. 21

    Alas, the venerable Atlantic appears to be doing donuts in the parking lot of yesterday instead of taking the on-ramp to the freeway of a prosperous tomorrow. Sometimes when you spill a glass of milk, you have to burn the whole house down around it … or the wicketkeepers of tribalism will continue to dance the Macarena of Discord upon the Field of Democratic Dreams.

  22. 22
    Emma says:

    Well, Ta-Nehisi is still there, right? Because that’s the only reason I cruise by The Atlantic these days… And I should really thank John for introducing him to me. I was kind of looking at his links and said, now, that’s an interesting name, and the rest is history.

    That particular tendency of firing the (expensive) experts ad hiring the (cheap) ignoramuses AND THEN whining that the customers don’t like the product as much is not only exclusive to “journalism” these days. I have a friend who keeps on getting hired for temp jobs “with the possibility of full employment after 40 days” to clean up quality control departments, and on the 39th d, out he goes and in comes the 22-year-old, $12-an-hour, no-benefits kid.

  23. 23
    stormhit says:

    Randomly hating on The Atlantic for whatever reason you are is rather odd.

  24. 24
    Svensker says:

    @D. Aristophanes:

    I was gonna say, hey, someone’s plagiarized Sadly No! and then, duh.

  25. 25

    @Michael: This.

    Whatever the reason, it remains a golden opportunity for anyone seeking revenge on an unemployed liberal-arts major who’s done something truly unpleasant, or possibly a young stupid relative with a boundless sense of entitlement and a poor grasp of social boundaries.

    I’ll be laughing at this for days.

  26. 26
    Brandon says:

    Journalists are now as disposable as a razor. Buyout 30 higher paid, middle age folks and replace them with their recent college grad kids, who moved back home after graduation and are so desperate for work they will literally take anything at any price. If only this could happen to David Brooks or Friedman, I’d love to read their column about how this all a part of the innovation that keeps our economy strong.

  27. 27
    Allison W. says:

    I like the Atlantic. I like Andrew Sullivan most of the time, I love Ta-Nahesi C., I enjoy Marc and Josh, Fallows, etc. What’s wrong with the Atlantic?

    One of the main reasons I like it is that their comment sections isn’t as shrill and immature as other political blogs can get. And NO that isn’t a hint.

  28. 28
    Perry Como says:

    McMegan is the new Friedman: a vapid understanding of economic forces masquerading as insight.

  29. 29
    Starfish says:

    @Cat Lady: No, I just do the shopping so rarely that I was unaware of this new trend and do not understand when you would use pink salt other than “Barbie and Ken are coming over for dinner.”

  30. 30
    El Cid says:

    Does the young Thomas Friedmaner have to be married to a billionaire too, but having skipped the whole ‘coverage of the Israeli/civil war in Lebanon?

  31. 31
    Citizen_X says:

    an even more horrible possibility: Megan McArdle is getting an intern of her very own.

    Oh, so they might hire an assistant idiot.

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    @JGabriel:

    Overheard at The Atlantic: “Megan, we have to put out an ad before you can hire your live-in boyfriend tax deduction as an assistant. It’s an EEOC requirement.”

    Fixed.

    I swear I’m not making this up: “We are finally on the brink of that happy moment that every girl dreams of: a qualified change in family status under section 125 of the tax code.”

    dms

  33. 33
    Pancake says:

    One of their first hires was Linda Douglas, late of the Obama Administration where she was the media dog during the Obamacare fight.

  34. 34

    @D. Aristophanes:
    Masterful, sir.

    My question is: If these new hires are paid so poorly, how will they be able to practice their Thomas Friedman insight on the Taxi drivers in Dubai?

  35. 35
    Barry says:

    @Comrade Jake: “Sorry to be a buzzkill here, but the Atlantic is an excellent rag. Excepting the articles by McArdle, the writing’s typically quite good and the pieces are interesting.”

    Is firing 30 experienced journalists and replacing them with 23 web-skimmers and a Mustache Airmiles clone an attempt to improve the Atlantic’s quality, or a tacit admission that they’re aiming at the sh*t market?

  36. 36
    Barry says:

    @Ash Can: Agreed; ‘generosity’ means either ‘work for free’ or ‘work 80 hour weeks for $15K/year’.

  37. 37
    Barry says:

    @Emma: He’s doing too good of a job; perhaps he shouldn’t document his work so excessively. Put things juuuuuuuust in shape, but not so well that a random inexperienced replacement can keep them that way.

  38. 38
    Barry says:

    @Brandon: “…who moved back home after graduation and are so desperate for work they will literally take anything at any price. ”

    Good point – whether The Atlantic is headquartered near DC or NYC, there’s enough fresh grads within commuting range living at their parent’s homes to provide a very nice pool of unpaid labor. At that’s before the current reality that many of them don’t have to ever physically visit The Atlantic’s building.

  39. 39
    Barry says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Because they’ll all have night jobs as taxi drivers to pay their rent?

  40. 40
    GregB says:

    Dear Anne,

    Suck on this.

    Love,

    Tom Friedman The Mustache of Understanding

  41. 41

    […] then maybe YOU are the new Tom Friedman, but of The Atlantic. Good luck, and enjoy the Pulitzers! Annie Laurie snarks, “it remains a golden opportunity for anyone seeking revenge on an unemployed […]

  42. 42
    Uloborus says:

    Yay, it’s fixed! Ahem:

    I am not a wide-scale news web site reader (due to my limited patience for intellectual dishonesty), but I interpret these by filtering them through the language journalists use to talk about each other. ‘Breaking News’ is of course linked to ‘Force Of Intellect’. This refers to the need for journalists who can not only immediately link to the latest Politico article, but can rephrase it so that they appear to be making some sophisticated contribution to the news gathering. The faster, the better, so that you can somehow claim that you yourself are breaking the news. ‘Personal Spirit Of Generosity’ applies in the same way it always does in journalism, by taking seriously whatever dishonest hack you got the story from.

    ‘Original Insight’ jobs are more of a mix of these traits. Anecdotes, unsourced or from your own life, are useful in the other job, but are really key here. Your Force Of Intellect is required to make any event or situation fit flawlessly into the narrative, while adding something frivolous – a moral evaluation or faux-contrarian nuance that lets you claim your opinion is deeper than the narrative you’re actually supporting. Here ‘Personal Spirit Of Generosity’ is key. You will be required to be deeply interactive with your other pundits of all stripes, completely overlooking what shallow, hypocritical assholes they are and letting the public know that they are Serious People. Even when you are feuding with them, it is important to faithfully link so that everyone understands how serious and intelligent you both are. Of course, you will frequently be required to extend the ‘Personal Spirit Of Generosity’ by applying your tongue directly to various conservative luminaries like John McCain. I’m not expert enough to know if there are any liberals you’re allowed to do this to, but then, I probably couldn’t hold down a job like this without blood pouring from my ears.

    If you would like to apply, Anne, I think it’s obvious that they want people who can break the mold and think outside the box with their conformity. I suggest that rather than a traditional resume, an essay explaining the great minds you would like to be like, while stressing personal anecdotes that give you a unique insight (that is actually exactly like the insight they already have) would be effective. Be sure to apply as much Personal Spirit Of Generosity as you can to the paper itself and anyone they normally link to. You and Doug are probably too high profile to get away with this (which is a shame, I think Doug would have a field day) but there are many brilliant satiricists on this sight who, while not as cromulent as myself, might want to give this a try.

    I wish to repeat my disclaimer: I take very seriously the claim that the bloggers here read these things so that I don’t have to. This is an entirely inexpert evaluation. But really, isn’t this exactly what major journalists mean when they use these terms? Isn’t this how they talk about each other?

  43. 43

    @fucen tarmal: So, I would be perfect for this job because I am both all in one! Woot woot! Where do I sign up?

    TNC is the only one I read over there. I will follow a Fallows link, but that’s it. I know this is a touchy subject around these parts, but I could happily live the rest of my life without ever hearing from or about Sully ever again.

  44. 44
    fucen tarmal says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    i’m sorry, but you are over qualified,try time magazine.

  45. 45
    Mwangangi says:

    @D. Aristophanes: Yeah I know I read this time-shifted, but that was a thing of beauty.

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