Center for Political Access


Thanks to Jennifer Palmieri, the entire political blogosphere now knows that the Center for American Progress is more about access than progress:

“Maybe it’s just me, but this post is kind of creepy.” That’s the first of nearly 500 comments on a post at Matt Yglesias’s blog — a post that is not written by Matt Yglegias. Here’s the post:

A Special Note Re: Third Way

This is Jennifer Palmieri, acting CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Most readers know that the views expressed on Matt’s blog are his own and don’t always reflect the views of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Such is the case with regard to Matt’s comments about Third Way. Our institution has partnered with Third Way on a number of important projects – including a homeland security transition project – and have a great deal of respect for their critical thinking and excellent work product. They are key leaders in the progressive movement and we look forward to working with them in the future.

If “the views expressed on Matt’s blog are his own,” then what the hell is this? Lady, you are on Matt’s blog! How did you get there? Did you just barge in like some burglar in the night? Do you know the first thing about blogging and a blogger’s relationship with his readers?

I’d never heard of “Third Way” until I read this post. Now, I think it sucks. Not because of something Matt once wrote about it — which I hadn’t noticed — but because of this completely creepy intrusion into Matt’s space. …

“Lady, you are on Matt’s blog” is a crucial point:

… I think it would be reasonable for CAP, if they had some institutional disagreement with what Matt wrote to say so on their front page or perhaps say so on some CAP company blog, if there is such a thing. I can’t think of an example where I’ve done that. But if someone who writes at TPM wrote something I strongly disagreed with, I don’t think I would refrain from doing a post on TPM saying I disagreed with them. But forcing a post onto the person’s own blog, their own editorial turf, completely undermines the whole organization’s credibility and all the writing that gets done at the site and frankly for the whole organization — which is too bad, since a lot of it is extremely good.

Right, because it’s not the disagreement that’s problematic; it’s the way the disagreement was handled — and in any case, as Atrios suggests, this incident is more about “ego-smoothing” than disagreement.

Ben Smith completely misses the point.

Julian Sanchez is impressed:

It’s like they made a list of the dozen ways they could’ve handled some minor internecine friction—including just ignoring it—and asked: “Which of these is really guaranteed to blow up in our face in the most self-defeating way possible?”  I mean, believe me, this is not the first time in history a D.C. blogger wrote something that ruffled a feather or two upstairs—I may have done it myself once or twice.  But the response is usually, well, a bit more deft.  …

So congratulations, Third Way, a whole lot of people who’d never heard of you now know exactly one thing about you: You’re thin-skinned whiners. And a word of advice for Ms. Palmieri: If you’re going to be a “senior vice president of communications” for an institution that communicates through blogs, you may want to take a couple days off to figure out how these wacky “blog” things work.  Here: Just to get you started, I’ll save you the trouble of Googling “Streisand Effect.”

Will Matthew now start censoring himself to avoid offending his employer’s funding sources?

There’s no way that this sort of reaction won’t create a chilling effect on Yglesias. How could he not think twice about criticizing Third Way or other CAP partners in the future? It’s the reason we need smart bloggers like him at independent outlets like The Atlantic that won’t enforce a party line.

Attaturk and Glenn both blog at classier outfits. As Glenn points out, “It’s worth supporting the bloggers who practice [editorial independence] and the media venues that allow and encourage it.” More, it’s important — essential, even — to do so. If you can’t support them with your bucks (because, like me, you don’t have any), support them by reading them, posting comments on them, and if  you have your own blog, linking to them.

UPDATE: If you doubt the chilling effect of Palmieri’s commandeering Matt’s blog to appease a big client at Matt’s expense, read his first post after her break-in, here. Then read the comments. Palmieri may not realize it (there’s a bunch of things she doesn’t realize, obviously), but her rude and condescending “reminder” to readers that Matt’s views “are his own” and “don’t always reflect” CAP official ideology is clearly being felt as a direct insult to his readers as well as to him. She butted in to a private and personal relationship between Matt and his readers, and they resent it.

2 Responses to “Center for Political Access”

  1. opit says:

    Wow. Matt has a problem nobody would want. I think I would be saying “Thanks, but no thanks” and go my own way – but that’s got to suck for an established blogger to be undercut that way.

  2. Kathy says:

    In this economy, it’s not so easy to do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook