Jane Hamsher explains the long-running dislike of Froomkin in the WaPo newsroom because he actually called those in power to account, rather than constantly hedging and prevaricating and enabling them for fear of losing "access". His strong stance on the inherent corruption of Woodward-style journalism ruffled feathers as well. And his adamance on torture was a blast of fresh air in Washington, where people are too afraid to call their friends what they were: war criminals. Goldblog calls up Hiatt to ask him to review my post. Here's Hiatt's response:
It is so incoherent, it's hard to know how to comment. But I will try. He says I was acting on neocon orders when we published a piece suggesting that Ahmadinejad may have actually had popular support. But elsewhere I am being attacked for publishing ostensibly neocon pieces criticizing Obama for not supporting Ahmadenejad's opposition. It's hard to see how both could be true.
Yes, they can, if you follow the ways of Washington neocons.
(By the way, it's a straw man to say I said Hiatt follows neocon orders. He is so marinated in neoconservative politics that he needs no orders.) He also knows this: on Monday, one leading neocon position was that they wanted Ahmadinejad to win because that would give them a chance to bomb Iran or allow Israel to, and because it was naive folly to believe there could be any opening for democracy in Iran. Once they realized that this looked and was objectively vile, as well as being empirically wrong, most changed tack and argued that Obama wasn't doing enough to support the revolution. The difference lies in their cynicism not my incoherence. And his disingenuous response is almost as passive-aggressive as what comes next:
I had forgotten until today that Dan (Froomkin) had gone after Charles (Krauthammer), which Sullivan says 'almost certainly' would have 'enraged' me. If Andrew wants to know whether it enraged me, why does he not call and ask? That's called reporting, and I would be happy to tell him. In fact nothing pleases me more than when our columnists engage with each other, in print or on Post Partisan, as any of them could tell you. It's good for traffic, and it makes for lively debate.
Yes, he had plain forgotten! And don't you love "that's called reporting"? So Jeffrey calling him up for him to give his spin is "reporting"? Yes: that's exactly what Hiatt means by reporting. That's what Woodward has done for years. But I ask you: What on earth would be the point of my calling up Fred Hiatt to ask why he engineered the firing of Froomkin? Then the usual world-weary Kristol-trade-marked shrug of the shoulders and sigh:
The disappointingly dull truth is that the decision not to renew Dan's contract--which was not made by me, but which I supported--was based on viewership data, budget constraints and judgments about how well the column was or was not adapting to a new era.
Again: show us the exact "viewership data" for Froomkin compared with, say, Kristol or Kagan or Gerson. Then compare Froomkin's amazing daily output and diligence compared with their leisurely pace. When you realize he was just on contract, his firing is more outrageous. But anyway, Fred: give us those stats.