Beyond Broder

David Broder, of course, is a -- if not the -- pillar of the dread Washington Media Establishment. At the same time, it's become so fashionable to mock him these days, one has to wonder if he really is such a pillar. Everyone's doing it, after all. Under the circumstances, it's worth noting that given that we live in a country of 300 million, that one man has ridiculous opinions is hardly surprising. What is surprising is that he has this column on The Washington Post and makes frequent appearances on Meet The Press. And what's much less fashionable than Broder-bashing is noting that Broder would be irrelevant if not for the way key gatekeepers -- Tim Russert, editors at the Post, executives at NBC News -- keep rammig him down the throats of Americans interested in politics.

And what, I have to wonder, is Broder's economic value to the Post? At the margin, how many readers would the Post lose if it didn't carry his column? I have a hard time imagining it's a large number. And yet, to harshly condemn Broder's enablers would simply reduce one's own chances of having op-eds appear in the Post and so forth. Unless, of course, one were a conservatives. Conservatives, after all, can regularly slander both "the media" as a whole and any number of specific media organizations without ill effect.