Karl Rove and Markos Moulitsas Newsweek Gigs

Earlier this week, news that Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga would be given a regular Newsweek column created quite a stir in the blogosphere. Now, the other shoe has dropped, with an announcement that Karl Rove would be his right-wing counterpart:

Newsweek has signed the president’s former deputy chief of staff as a commentator who will turn out several columns on the 2008 campaign through inauguration day. The move is not likely to prove popular among liberals who believe the mainstream media have been too soft on the Bush administration.

“We want to give readers a feel for what it’s like to be on the inside,” says Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham. “Our readers are sophisticated enough to know that what they get from Karl has to be judged in the context of who Karl is…Readers will have to decide if he’s simply an apologist.”

(which is owned by The Washington Post Co.) will announce tomorrow that it is granting regular space to both Rove and Markos Moulitsas, the liberal firebrand who founded the Web site Daily Kos. “I’m fully prepared for both the right-wing and left-wing blogosphere to be outraged, which means we’re doing our job,” Meacham says.

I’m not at all outraged by either choice, frankly. Both men are firebrands who are going to draw large audiences but whose rhetorical styles won’t change many minds. That’s not my cup of tea but, goodness knows, there’s a huge market for that kind of thing and neither is any more over-the-top than many who have gone before.

What does strike me as rather odd, though, is the pairing of the two as equals. What Kos has done in building far and away the most important blog community is certainly quite extraordinary. Still, its not comparable to Rove’s role as the chief architect of two successful presidential campaigns and the chief domestic advisor to a two-term president. Wouldn’t, say, James Carville have been a better analog to Rove? Or, if freshness were the goal, Mike Krempasky or Erick Erickson a more appropriate counterpart to Kos?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. As a Newsweek subscriber, I am outraged by both choices. If I wanted commentary, there’s any number of opinion magazines I could subscribe to instead; I want news coverage.

    Hiring two people with such obvious conflicts of interest is a gross violation of journalistic ethics and is sadly typical of the continuing decline in standards at the magazine.

  2. Mike says:

    Stormy – in 2005 or so I emailed Newsweek after the false story about the flushing of a Koran in the toilet which lead to protests which injured or killed a few Soldiers – basically Newsweek took the word of an anonymous source who turned out to have made it all up and published the story – i wrote them a not-so-nice email and told them to just cancel my subscription – they canceled my subscription and even gave me my money back despite not requesting it. They will only learn by their declining subscription numbers.

  3. just me says:

    I agree that they aren’t exactly counterpoints to each other in terms of experience and political history, but I don’t see a big deal out of hiring either one.

    I don’t read Newsweek unless I am a doctor’s office and desperate for some reading entertainment.

  4. sam says:

    They chose Markos knowing Michelle Malkin’s panties would twist up so tight, she’d squeak when she walked.

  5. Eneils Bailey says:

    I would not wipe my ass with a copy of Newsweek. I actually prefer the Washington Post, or New York Times.
    Do you think Newsweek could include some kind of scented aromatic in the ink? And perhaps go to the porous and absorbent paper that flushes well?

  6. I think the choices are actually rather appropriate. Both men are strictly concerned with the winning and losing of elections. Kos takes pride in his anti-intellectualism and has more than once announced his boredom with esoteric policy debates. Rove is a deeper thinker, but he was always far more effective as a political strategist than as a policy advocate.

  7. Grewgills says:

    Rove is a deeper thinker

    I would love to hear why you think Rove is a deeper thinker.

  8. Andy says:

    Or, if freshness were the goal, Mike Krempasky or Erick Erickson a more appropriate counterpart to Kos?

    What would they write about? Banning people?

  9. I would love to hear why you think Rove is a deeper thinker.

    Well, having thought about it this some more you’re probably right- my comment is pretty difficult to explain.

    What I find interesting about Kos is that the right labels him as an extreme lefty, when in truth (on occasions he discusses his beliefs on policy at all) he strikes me as a fairly mainstream Democrat. He’s just extremely, obsessively partisan.

    Rove of course is also an ardent partisan, and nobody would identify him as one of the GOP’s leading public intellectuals. But his approach seems more based on fostering a long-term structural realignment favoring the Republican Party, while Kos’ seems more based on short-term electoral victory.