The bold and brilliant Hugh Hewitt doesn't hesitate to ask journalists appearing as guests on his radio show to describe their personal political leanings. Most decline to do so in a self-righteous huff, the typical response being along the lines "that is irrelevant to my reporting, which I play down the middle." There are rare-but-welcome bursts of candor, as when former WaPo political reporter Tom Edsall famously acknowledged to Hugh that he, along with the overwhelmingly majority of his erstwhile WaPo confreres, were indeed Dems and liberals.
I mention this because a few weeks ago, Hugh had as a guest John Harris, one of the founding members of the Politico, the new web-based venture that draws many of its reporters from the ranks of some of the leading MSM institutions. Harris, for example, is the WaPo's former political editor. Hugh posed the who-did-you-vote-for question, and Harris demurred along the lines cited above. After the interview, Hewitt said he suspected that Harris and the rest of the Politco crew were indeed libs. Nevertheless, Hewitt seems to appreciate the Politico's lively and topical reporting. With that as an endorsement, I decided to sign up for the Politco's Daily Digest email, and have been reading and largely enjoying it ever since.
But there are signs that Hewitt's suspicions as to the political leanings of the website's crew are well-founded. Take the stories that turned up this morning in the Politico's Daily Digest email. Every single one was Dem-friendly , or the bearer of ill tidings for Republicans:
- White House Seeking Gonzales Replacements: Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff could replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, GOP officials say.
- The New Climate Change Politics: Environmental concern hits home in states with early presidential contests. First para: "The 2008 presidential campaign will mark a coming of age for the issue of global warming. Just two election cycles after President Bush questioned whether it was a real phenomenon, global warming will be a premier topic that all candidates agree needs urgent attention."
- Pelosi Plays Hardball: Pelosi lays down the law, telling Dems Vote for wartime spending bill or give Bush exactly what he wants. [Strong leader, that Nancy!]
- Corporations Amp Up Giving to Democrats: Cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds must be gasping for air, given its race to get contribution checks delivered to newly empowered Capitol Hill Democrats.
Now, I can already hear the response from the Politico: this is just the luck of the draw. Other mornings' headlines are more fair-and-balanced, and anyhow, there's no denying a trend toward the Dems; witness the last elections. All true, I suppose. Even so, it's hard to imagine Republicans ever enjoying such a clean sweep at the site. We'll see. Not to say that the Politico is a hard-left operation. It palpably is not. And it certainly provides lots of useful and entertaining information about politics. I intend to keep reading. But one can't help sensing that, by and large, it sees things through an inside-the-beltway, center-left prism.
Contact Mark at email@example.com