Brad DeLong isn’t the only one who thinks the Washington Post‘s reporting stinks:
At a lunch of eight people I was at last week–former cabinet secretaries, newspaper executives, deans, et cetera–somebody (not me) asked what learning-about-the-world reason there was to read the Washington Post. There was silence. Then, after a while, somebody said “the Style section.” And then there was more silence.
My call for people to nominate reliable reporters–those whose bylines tell you that you can trust the truth, the importance, and the relevance of the matters asserted by the reporter–working for the print Washington Post has come up with:
Walter Pincus, Daniel Froomkin (who doesn’t work for the print edition), Joel Achenbach, Dana Priest, Barton Gellman, Gene Weingarten, Philip Carter (who doesn’t work for the print edition), and William Arkin (who doesn’t work for the print edition). UPDATE: Steven Pearlstein.
That’s it. Those are the only nominations I have received.
The rest… Well, the presumption now is that they are like Perry Bacon, Jr.: either in the tank to please their sources or their editors, or unqualified to cover the material they are writing about. It is a great mystery why the Post has come to this pass–why we lament “why oh why can’t we have a better press corps?” But it is a fact that we have.
I don’t think it’s a mystery at all. First, much of the media is profoundly stupid, and stupidity-riddled organizations have a habit of hiring more stupid people.
Second, they are severely psychologically damaged people. While Maureen Dowd is the most extreme example, too many of them are just not good people who take what they do–tell the country how our political system is doing–seriously. They are mediocrities, albeit personable ones, who just don’t care about the role of the press in a functioning society.
That rot also starts from the top.