The Washington Post

Media news derivatives: June 20

In case you missed it---It was MSNBC-Wawa-Romney day at the Erik Wemple blog. We argued that there was nothing naive or out of touch about Mitt Romney expressing high regard for the sandwich technology at Wawa. After all, the chain has killer technology and is ahead of most of its peers on this front. We also argued that the edited MSNBC video of the Wawa moment wasn’t so much a problem as was Andrea Mitchell’s introduction of the video. That should wrap up the MSNBC-Wawa-Romney story.


*BuzzFeed contends that Web traffic demonstrates that people don’t want to read much about Mitt Romney.

The well-starched Republican’s traffic poison has been felt this year at websites across the political spectrum — including at BuzzFeed — and it’s left many editors, publishers, and bloggers yearning for the days of the unpredictable Sarah Palin, the maverick John McCain, and the Obama-Clinton blood feud. Bloggers and editors are left to decipher its causes — is it Romney’s discipline, his blameless personal life, or the simple fact that his supporters are less likely to be trolling the web?

BuzzFeed’s evidence for this assertion rests on testimony from: BuzzFeed (including a fun, controlled experiment), the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, the Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta, Talking Points Memo’s Callie Schweitzer. Countertestimony comes from Politico and Hot Air:

Jim VandeHei, the executive editor and co-founder of POLITICO, said they haven’t compared traffic for Romney- and Obama-focused stories, but added, “anecdotally speaking, we do not detect an appreciable difference. The stories that pop online and go viral are the ones that break news or offer unique context to the campaign’s dynamics.” Similarly, Hot Air co-founder Ed Morrissey said “traffic and comments tend to be more topic-driven than personality-driven.”

So maybe, maybe not.

*Politico photographer proposes in Rosslyn newsroom.

*Jonah Lehrer gets busted for something called “self-borrowing,” or recycling your own material in different outlets. The New Yorker just recently found several instances of this transgression on its Web site. Laura Hazard Owen argues that it’s tough to come up with new brainstorms when you do what Lehrer does — that is, make your name as Mr. Counterintuitive:

It is tough to come up with new, fresh material that advances a counterintuitive thesis. It’s even tougher to repeatedly come up with those new “wow, I never looked at it that way” ideas. And when you do come up with those ideas, it’s probably more tempting to recycle them.

*Jon Stewart continues the recent tradition of busting out networks for selective editing of videotape. This time, it’s Fox that’s in the crosshairs:

*MSNBC panelist suggests that Neil Munro’s interruptive questioning of the president last Friday — especially the query about favoring “foreigners over American workers” — has something to do with a “white supremacist ideology.”

*Dana Milbank of The Post says that Munro shouldn’t lose his press pass; he should be fired from the Daily Caller.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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