Five Best Thursday Columns

Erik Wemple on Politico's big business, Jonathan Chait on whether Mike Allen can be bought, Ann Friedman on the Cheney's family politics, Sean Trende on repealing Obamacare, and Morgan Whitaker on Oprah and racism. 

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Erik Wemple at The Washington Post on Politico's big business. "One of the hottest issues in journalism today is 'native' advertising, the tricks that publishers deploy to elide the domains of journalism and advertising," Wemple explains. Politico's star reporter Mike Allen, who sends out his Playbook newsletter every morning, blurs the lines between business with reporting. Wemple notes, "advertisers pay a good $35,000 for a weekly run in 'Playbook,' a price tag that has inflated nicely for Politico in recent years." BP, Goldman Sachs, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all advertised in Playbook. Wemple outlines many times when Allen featured favorable stories about the advertisers for free. Further, Allen "has also been known to insert his big foot into other [Politico] reporters’ stories before they reach print, at times on behalf of sources who are due for possibly rough treatment, according to former Politico staffers." Ana Marie Cox, a political correspondent at The Guardian and GQ, tweets, "Wow. Not sure any other reporter could survive this." The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann concurs: "I wouldn't be surprised to see land an assault charge for this. Brutal take on Playbook."

Jonathan Chait at New York on whether Mike Allen can be bought. "As thorough and as damning as [Erik] Wemple’s reporting here may be, he nonetheless ignores the deeper and more problematic implications" of Allen's native advertising, Chait argues. "Playbook goes beyond the routine and wildly promiscuous use of native advertising. ...The intermingling of media, business, and elected officials that is on gross display once a year during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and which Politico both covers and participates in with peerless enthusiasm, is Allen’s vision of how journalism is supposed to function normally." Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum tweets this line: "The Mike Allen scandal is not that advertisers purchased favorable coverage in Playbook. The scandal is that, at this point, such corruption is unnecessary."

Ann Friedman at The Cut on the Cheneys and the struggle to mix family and politics. "I’ve watched the Cheney family feud with a certain level of personal investment. Prior to this very public blow-up, the Cheneys claimed that their political disagreements didn’t weaken their familial bond — love the sister, hate the sin," Friedman explains. After Liz Cheney, who's running for Senate in Wyoming, denounced gay marriage, her lesbian sister Mary denounced Liz's candidacy. "The political inevitably gets personal, and even the most polite families can run into trouble," Friedman argues. It's happened in her own family —  "Unlike the vast majority of teenagers, who tend to agree with their parents’ outlook on politics, I was a burgeoning liberal atheist in a conservative Catholic household." Feministing's Gwendolyn Beetham tweets, "Just in time for the holidays, 's latest."

Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics says the ACA won't be repealed without a Republican president. To repeal Obamacare while President Obama is in office, the House and the Senate would need to override Obama's veto. "The tricky part is getting 56 Democratic representatives and 22 Democratic senators to do so," Trende explains. He does not think Republicans will get those votes "There are just certain things that people are willing to go down with the ship over, and health care is one such issue for Democrats," he argues. "A large number of ostensibly centrist Democrats cast what they had to know were career-ending votes for the [ACA] in 2010." Slate's economics writer Matt Yglesias tweets, "I like that in conservaland this counts as a slatepitch."

Morgan Whitaker at MSNBC on Oprah and racism. Oprah's comments about racism "have incensed the right, who appear unable to concede that even some of the criticism hurled at the president way might be racially-motivated," Whitaker explains. For example: "'Oprah, if black people are so mistreated and so disrespected, then how in the name of Sam Hill did you happen? Would somebody explain that to me?' Rush Limbaugh asked on his program last Friday." The "backlash comes from those who think successful black Americans like Oprah shouldn’t complain about society’s problems." Feministing contributor Syreeta McFadden tweets, "Wow, successful and black is the magic bullet to end racism for like, forever, huh?"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.