Washington Post Columnists Score High on “Hack Thirty” List


    Congratulations to the Washington Kaplan Post, whose “columnists” (using the word very loosely) score impressively high on Salon Magazine’s “Hack Thirty” list.  Thus, out of the top 11 “worst columnists and cable news commentators America has to offer,” the Washington Kaplan Post scores 4 “columnists” – Richard Cohen (#1), David Broder (#4), Marc Thiessen (#6) and George Will (#11).  Why do these three rank so high as “hacks,” according to Salon?  Here’s why.

    *Richard Cohen: “Awful attempts at humor, clueless sexism, shameless use of lazy Op-Ed clichés, warmongering, generally being The Worst.” I mean, who actually reads this guy? Anyone? Apparently, it’s that huge audience of people out there who enjoy the musings of “a simplistic old hack who believes his common prejudices to be politically incorrect truths and his Beltway conventional wisdom to be bracing political insight.” Sounds great, huh?  Well, maybe not so much…

    *David Broder: “Radical centrism, repetition of conventional wisdom, pathological need to demonstrate that ‘both sides do it,’ hatred of partisanship/democracy.” For Broder’s latest piece of complete drivel, arguing that Lisa Murkowski’s victory in Alaska proves that the last election was all about bipartisanship, centrism (“radical” or otherwise), blah blah blah.  click here. Or, think better of it and don’t, you’ll be better off for having not read David Broder’s utter drivel.

    *Marc Thiessen: “As a person with a functioning moral compass, I’m outraged to see Thiessen become a paid employee of one of the nation’s most prominent newspapers. As a reader, I’m outraged that they couldn’t find a torture enthusiast who can actually turn a phrase.”

    *George Will: “Dishonesty, feints toward ‘reasonableness’ while remaining doctrinaire Republican, repetition, hypocrisy.” In addition, Will “lies about climate change, just because lying about it is what Republicans are supposed to do, and instead of removing Will from their stable of columnists — or even correcting his columns — the Washington Post just publishes other columns pointing out that Will lied, thus presenting the reader with ‘both sides’ of the issue.”

    So, 4 out of the top 11 top “hacks” in America reside at the Washington Kaplan Post – great stuff, huh? But hey, at least the Washington Kaplan Post does great investigative journalism on a regular basis. Oh wait, that function is being outsourced to non-profits? Well, at least it has superb coverage of Virginia and Maryland. Oh wait, it doesn’t in the least bit? Well, at least it has a great Sunday magazine?  Oh wait, you mean it actually prints pathetically fawning cover stories on Ken Kookinelli in addition to the ever-fascinating “Date Lab”?  But, but, but…uh, the Post still has a great sports section, right? Actually, that’s probably the paper’s strongest section, although a few more losses like this one and that may no longer be the case.

    In the meantime, though, congratulations once again to the Washington Kaplan Post for its superb showing in Salon Magazine’s “Hack Thirty” ranking. And that’s not even counting Charles “Sacrilege at Ground Zero” Krauthammer, who somehow managed to avoid Salon’s list…

    • kindler

      Cohen has richly earned his spot at #1. He hasn’t earned much else — I challenge anyone to find the last time he committed an actual act of reporting. Instead he just comments on yesterday’s headlines — nice way to earn a paycheck!

      What I honestly don’t understand is why these columnists get a lifetime appointment, like Supreme Court Justices. Public opinion changes all the time, and yet the Post (along with other media) fills so much space on the Op-Ed page with people who haven’t had an original thought since the 70s. And in doing so, they shut out potential new contributors with new ideas and perspectives.

      No wonder the newspaper industry is going the way of the dinosaurs — with pterodactyls like George Will!

    • Teddy Goodson

      He should have been on the tiresome hack list in the top 10 or 20, I would say. Such a died-in-the-wool acolyte of Republican extremism deserves recognition, too… some days it is as if he arises, receives marching orders from, say, Karl Rove, and sallies forth to spread disinformation, providing sonorous but pompous advice for “liberals,” in the time-honored Rovian tradition of talking your opponents into defeating themselves. Surely, Gerson, like Krauthammer, is a noteworthy inmate of the insane asylum for righties known as the Wasghinton Post’s stable of columnists.  

    • kindler

      What if the Post conducted surveys annually on which columnists are actually being read, and then determined their future status at least partly based on that?    They could do two surveys, one of everyday readers and one of opinion leaders.  

      The real test would be, not of the opinions they express, or even of their popularity, but of relevance: are their words worth even glancing at?  

      Oh, sorry, that would require bringing a touch of democracy to balnce out the power of Post mandarins like Fred Hiatt. And we can’t allow democracy in Washington, DC, can we?

    • somethingblue

      Anne Applebaum and Ruth Marcus do everything Broder and Cohen do, but backwards and in heels.