Really top-drawer effort by the White House pool boy Jim VandeHei this morning in the WaPo:
President Bush met lobbyist Jack Abramoff almost a dozen times over the past five years and invited him to Crawford, Tex., in the summer of 2003, according to an e-mail Abramoff wrote to a reporter last month.The Washingtoninan hardly rises to more than a local blather sheet. ThinkProgress is the blog for the Center for American Progress. Why is Deborah Howell quite proud to tout the information she gets from the Cato Institute or the Heritage Foundation, but suddenly ThinkProgress is a bunch of grubby, uncouth, beer-swilling louts?
Bush "has one of the best memories of any politicians I have ever met," Abramoff wrote to Kim Eisler of Washingtonian magazine. "The guys saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids."
In an interview last night, Eisler confirmed the contents of the e-mail and said he recently provided portions of it to the liberal Web log ThinkProgress because he thought he was dealing with a fellow reporter. The blog posted the contents of the Abramoff-Eisler communication.
Yes we are familiar with the standards to which the WaPo in particular holds itself, and they really need to get off the fainting couch. I don't expect them to start acknowledging that blogs even exist as something other than to excoriate, but the fact remains that we're covering a lot of ground they aren't and there are good reasons our readership is growing every day while theirs continues to plummet.
When we broke the story about Viveca Novak and Robert Luskin it wasn't acknowledged at the New York Times despite the fact that we wrote about it first and they got it from us -- and I both sent it to them and discussed it with them so it wasn't for lack of awareness. (Update: It should be noted that VandeHei himiself followed with his own day-late-and-a-dollar-short version that included a Luskin-friendly story so cockamamie it has yet to be explained. Credit where credit is due.)
Likewise yesterday Neil A. Lewis of the NYT credited Murray Waas's (excellent) article with both "first reporting" Patrick Fitzgerald's January 23 letter and breaking the story about Cheney authorizing Libby to release the NIE. Tom MaGuire does an excellent job of reconstructing blog history on this matter, which Murray would be the first to quickly acknowledge predated his article by a week.
As far as they're concerned, blogs really don't exist for any other reason than to ridicule. Oh and to mine for scoops that go uncredited. And of course to search Technorati for one's own name -- hey Jim, how ya doin'?