You can read the article here, but a few thoughts…
Why is Politico doing this? For those who aren’t familiar with MediaMatters (and their conservative counterparts), the organization carefully looks for examples of bias in the media. Sometimes they hit the mark and sometimes the examples seem downright silly (as if they’ve got a quota of “media bias examples” they need to find each day and sometimes they have to stretch to find them). The same is true for those on the right calling out liberal bias. The point is this: It’s probably a losing battle for the Politico if they think they’re going to win over MediaMatters or others. MediaMatters is in the business of finding conservative bias and they’re not likely to stop simply because the Politico decided to address MediaMatters’ charges.
So, again, why are they doing this? The purist’s answer is that they want to be transparent and air their dirty laundry in public. That may very well be the case and John Harris makes the point in the piece, which includes commentary from Ben Smith, Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen.
Gang, when we started Politico, we said we’d try to be more transparent about how we do our work than is typically the case at the traditional news organizations where we used to work. Transparency should mean being less defensive about criticism, and/but also more candid in saying what we really think. In that spirit, please read the attached piece accusing our publication of being a shill for Republicans, and let me know what you think is Mr. Maloy’s best point (if any) and his most spurious (if any).
Another answer is possible: Buzz. The Politico has proven pretty adept at turning some of these “controversies” (like John Harris’ “slow bleed” piece) into positives. For instance, they not only decided to address MediaMatters’ charges, but also make the article their website’s lead article (as of last evening). In addition, when John Harris admitted that he authored the “slow bleed” statement, they not only published the article–they promoted it.
The decision to take on MediaMatters.org may also earn the Politico some street cred not only within that community but within the blogosphere, in general. After all, there’s nothing that bloggers want more than anything than to simply be paid attention to.
The Politico asks for your comments on the MediaMatters charges. Weigh in here.
An interesting approach for sure…we’ll see if similar examples pop up in the future.