Friday, February 10, 2012

The Opinion Biz

The Free Beacon, as best I can tell, is seeking to become to Think Progress what The 1/2 Hour News Hour was to the Daily Show. But one of its more high-profile pick-ups was former Washington Jewish Week journalist Adam Kredo. Kredo had an excellent reputation as a neutral, non-biased writer, and certainly gave the fledgling right-wing site a shot of desperately needed credibility.

Unfortunately, what we've seen is an impressively dedicated effort by Kredo to dynamite his prior reputation -- going from "respected journalist" to "third string Jennifer Rubin" with impressive speed. His recent articles include Center for American Prejudice: Leftist Anti-Semitic Propaganda Handicaps National Security (notably, excepting a few six-month-old instances of writers using the term "Israel-firster" -- which they apologized for -- Kredo does not in fact cite any instance of CAP doing anything even arguably anti-Semitic) and Former TNR Editor Flaks for anti-Israel Group: Apartheid, Jim Crow, yadda yadda yadda (lest you think its all just about Israel, check out this bit on Obama's "secret" meeting with Carlos Slim).

Now, in a sense, this is all pretty above board. Kredo was a journalist. Now he's not -- he's a purveyor of a particular perspective, and freed from the shackles of such anachronisms like "objectivity" and "neutrality", he's taken on his new role with gusto. If he wants to flush his reputation down the toilet while on this little bender, hey, it's his career.

No, the tragedy here is that Kredo gamely insists that nothing's changed. When criticized about the hit he took out on Peter Beinart (that would be the "Former TNR Editor [who] flaks for Anti-Israel Group"), Kredo had the gall to reply that "I just report what people say. I'm not in the opinion biz. We here FreeBeacon report -- you decide." Uncritical parroting of the Fox News motto as a defense against biased journalism notwithstanding -- for serious? Your piece is titled "Former TNR Editor Flaks for anti-Israel Group: Apartheid, Jim Crow, yadda yadda yadda" and you say there's no opinion there? Or describing "J Street’s controversial credo" as calling "on the Jewish state to make peace with the Palestinians at any cost, even at the expense of Israel’s longstanding security needs"? Yeah, that's classic, traditional, "just-the-facts, ma'am" journalism that we can all be proud of.

I really can't even think Kredo actually believes it when he writes that. Frankly, he was too good of a journalist to not know the difference between what he was doing at WJW and what he's doing here. And frankly, he's tied enough into the journalism game that he knows the all loopholes -- specifically, that if one says earnestly enough that one is being "objective", then other media actors will have to act as if its true -- or at least, plausible. He's in the opinion biz, and his time outside of said business means he has the potential to be a particularly dangerous player in the opinion biz at that.

But to my eye, a site like Free Beacon may just be too over the top for Kredo to be believed. Adam Kredo was once a strong journalist. Now he's just another conservative hack, toiling on a C-string site. It's an unfortunate fall, but it is what it is.

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