From Politico via LGM:
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza is joining CNN Politics as a reporter and editor at large, with a digital presence and an on-air role.
Cillizza is leaving behind the blog known as The Fix he built at the Post over more than a decade. The Fix has since expanded and now includes a team of bloggers and editors. Cillizza will also be ending his role as a contributor at MSNBC when he joins CNN.
While Cillizza is probably a bit better than average for CNN, his departure represents an enormous improvement in the Washington Post. Under the leadership of Marty Baron, the Post has become the nation's best newspaper, particularly over the past year. The Fix has long been, not just the worst part of a great paper, but more or less ground zero for the kind of self-serving, pseudo-sophisticated journalism that is partially responsible for the rise of Trump.
We've previously recommended Jay Rosen's essential essay on the cult of the savvy. It is no coincidence that Cillizza is the most prominent example:
This is what led to the cult of the savvy, my term for the ideology and political style that journalists like Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin spread through their work. The savvy severs any lingering solidarity between journalists as the providers of information, and voters as decision-makers in need of it. The savvy sets up — so it can speak to and cultivate — a third group between these two: close followers of the game. The most common term for them is “political junkies.” The site that Cillizza runs was created by that term. It’s called The Fix because that’s what political junkies need: their fix of inside-the-game news.
Junkies are not normal, but they accept their deformed status because it comes with compensations. They get to feel superior to ordinary voters, who are the objects of technique and of the savvy analyst’s smart read on what is likely to work in the next election. For while the junkies can hope to understand the game and how it operates, the voters are merely operated on. Not only does the savvy sever any solidarity between political journalists and the public they were once supposed to inform, it also draws a portion of the attentive public into emotional alliance with the ad makers, poll takers, claim fakers and buck rakers within the political class— the people who, as Max Weber put it in his famous essay “Politics as a Vocation,” live off politics.
But we’re not done. The savvy sets up a fifth group. (The first four: savvy journalists, political junkies, masters of the game, and an abstraction, The Voters.) These are the people who, as Weber put it, live for politics. They are involved as determined participants, not just occasional voters. Whereas the junkies can hope for admission to the secrets of the game (by taking cues from Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin and the guys at Politico) the activists are hopelessly deluded, always placing their own ideology before the cold hard facts.
So this is what the savvy in the press do. Cultivate the political junkies. Dismiss and ridicule the activists, the “partisans.” Assess the tactics by which the masters of the game struggle to win. Turn the voters into an object, the behavior of which is subject to a kind of law that savvy journalists feel entitled to write. Here’s Cillizza, writing one:
“Remember that most voters — people who don’t follow this stuff as closely as me, you or, likely, most people we know — make their decisions based on 30-second TV ads.”
I’ll remember, Chris. Your assignment: Inhale that sentence, click this link and behold how badly our political journalists have lost the plot.