DougJ’s final, final (this time he really means it) souring on Politico reminds me that I forgot to post this gem about the culture of the newsroom there:
It was April Fools’ Day last year, and Politico’s top two editors sent an e-mail message to their staff advising of a new 5 a.m. start time for all reporters.
“These pre-sunrise hours are often the best time to reach top officials or their aides,” the editors wrote, adding that reporters should try to carve out personal time “if you need it,” in the midafternoon when Internet traffic slows down.
But rather than laugh, more than a few reporters stared at the e-mail message in a panicked state of disbelief.
“There were several people who didn’t think it was a joke. One girl actually cried […]”
And there’s this:
The top editors, who rise as early as 4:30 a.m., expect such volume and speed from their reporters because they believe Politico’s very existence depends, in large part, on how quickly it can tell readers something, anything they did not know.
The “anything” in that sentence that explains why VandeHei needs the Andrew Breitbarts of the world. Politico cannot tolerate a slow news day, and the only way to guarantee few of those is to pimp the output of bullshit artists. Let’s face it: the NAACP is only going to condemn real racists, and they do it on an irregular basis. Andrew Breitbart, Fox News and the rest can always be counted on to gin up a false controversy on a regular basis. So, it’s no accident that Breitbart posted the Sherrod story first thing on a Monday morning, and it’s no coincidence that Fox trotted out a story about “Big Mexican Women” helping Afghan soldiers go AWOL as soon as the Sherrod story started looking iffy.
VandeHei doesn’t care about the ideology, his business module just needs the consistency.