Why Reed Richardson Needs His Own Blog at The Nation

Reed RichardsonThis morning, I finally got around to reading Reed Richardson’s newest column, If It’s Sunday, It’s Meet the (1%) Press. And I realized something: my sidebar had an error. You see, Richardson writes a column most weeks, and it is posted on Altercation, Eric Alterman’s blog at The Nation. I’m not quite sure why that is. I think Richardson may have been an intern at the nation under Alterman or they are friends or both. Regardless, at the end of Alterman’s commentary is the obligatory, “Now here’s Reed” (or something very similar), followed by Richardson’s column.

I’ve been reading Alterman for years. He is one of those writers who I’ve read so much that I don’t even think about him; much of his view of American media have simply become a part of my thinking. As a result, over the past couple of years, I’ve come to look forward more to reading Richardson than Alterman. But that’s especially true recently when all the older master does are his Alter-reviews.

Eric Alterman has fine taste is music and narrative art and he is well worth reading. For example, he prefers Shaw to Shakespeare and Mozart to Beethoven. My kind of guy! But some time ago, I began thinking that Alter-reviews were written each week to remind me that Eric Alterman has a better life than I do! So I tend to forgo his insights about plays and concerts I will never attend.

But even though I was going over to Altercation each week primarily to read (!) Richardson, my sidebar referred to “Eric Alterman.” So this morning I changed the link to “Altercation.” I figured that that was a good compromise because (1) that is its name and (2) Alterman still writes for it—even if the politics are sporadic these days.

The real question is why I even have to do this. Would it really be such a big deal for The Nation to provide Richardson with his own blog? He has, after all, written at least one cover story for the magazine, The GOP-Fox Circus Act. Not that I’m saying The Nation should just do things for my ease. They did, after all, add the #nowheresreed anchor name to <i>Altercation</i> at my urging. (Such is the juice I have with the liberal media establishment!) How could I ask for more?

As for this week’s column, it’s about how Meet the Press is pushing David Gregory out, only to be replaced by David Gregory, I mean, Chuck Todd. I make it a point never to watch the Sunday political shows unless I can watch Mary Matalin get upset when Paul Krugman brings up “science” and other distasteful things like “facts.” Otherwise, Richardson nailed the reason why these shows have always sucked and will always suck:

As a result, most Sunday news show hosts serve as purveyors of the Washington conventional wisdom as much as, if not more than, the officeholders they’re purportedly covering. Meet the Press, and with it the whole Sunday morning news show genre, has devolved into a kind of cloistered, clubby, faux-accountability chinwag, one where a rich and powerful host mostly asks gentle questions of rich and powerful politicians about things that mostly only matter to rich and powerful viewers. (Or, even worse, rich and powerful journalists and pundits simply talk amongst themselves.) Voices and issues considered outside the mainstream—or in DC parlance, “not serious”—end up either marginalized or completely disappeared from the discourse. Need more proof? Look no further than the Sunday news show advertisers, a list of which is routinely populated by multinational conglomerates and defense contractors. (Boeing exclusively sponsors the Meet the Press news app.) These companies know that the “programming” they’re selling adjacent to on Sunday morning isn’t about to question the status quo.

There was never any hope that NBC was going to replace Gregory with Glenn Greenwald. As it was, the network (as MSNBC) fired Phil Donahue back during the Iraq War because they were afraid to have even one voice to push back against the administration. So of course the mainstream media are going to be the fearful lapdogs of the power elite.

This the main reason we need people like Eric Alterman and Reed Richardson. And it may seem that Richardson gets more attention under the Alterman umbrella. But I think it is time to decouple the two. Or at least to start the process with cross-posting. Plus, I could really use another “Weekly” link.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “Why Reed Richardson Needs His Own Blog at The Nation

  1. 1: Can’t agree more that Richardson is great.

    2: “The Nation,” which I pay for a digital subscription to, is all fucked up in terms of online presence. They can’t remember my browser for more than three minutes and I used to keep going through the motions of changing my password, getting e-mails about my password, etc. Finally I just gave up. They get renewing my $10 a year, I can’t read the “Subscribers Only” stuff, and I don’t care. They deserve the money. They have actual Black writers, and when the shit hits the fan as it recently has I’m hugely grateful for the Black writers and don’t begrudge the $10. Seriously, though, whomever runs their online stuff knows zilch about different browsers and operating systems on different machines. It’s bad.

    I do hope they figure it out. I don’t want them to become Z Magazine.

    • I agree: their web site is a mess. But I think if you check your bill, they are charging you $10 twice a year. It is still very cheap. The New York Times is that much per month. They do have a number of good writers. I’m especially fond of Michelle Goldberg and Gary Younge. But other that EA and RR, I don’t go there because I find the pages slow and the navigation difficult. And RR is great. In some ways, I think The Nation doesn’t manage its talent very well.

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