Time Magazine has made Matt Cooper the political editor of Time.com. It’s a great choice. In a world where giant media companies desirous of developing an online presence hire people like ex-sportswriter Jim Brady to spearhead their efforts apparently based on his ability to stand around the water cooler and refer to human resources as "bandwidth," it’s a sign of exceptionally good judgment.
Cooper has been intimately involved in one of the blogosphere’s key dialogs due to his role in l’affair Plame (recall that the Cooper piece that started the whole firestorm, "A War on Wilson," was not written for the magazine itself but appeared online). In fact Swopa is of the opinion that it was due solely to Cooper that the whole effort to smear Wilson and out Plame went horribly wrong — he thinks Rove just got ahead of himself and blabbed to Cooper and thus the decision was made to "go wide," past trusted operatives like Miller and Novak.
Bill Keller can rail about the world’s unwillingness to join him in "getting past" the Judith Miller incident even as it becomes ever more apparent day by day that her post-incarceration Sunset Boulevard dramaturgy was wholly self-serving and only fragmentally truthful, but it was Matt Cooper who set the gold standard for coming clean about what happened to him and who he spoke with.
Woodward and Miller have been willing tools of this administration from the get. Bob Novak was an open partisan on television, so everybody knew that they funneled information to him and he printed it for political purposes. These two (and their supporting players in television news) were the most important journalists in Washington working for the two most important papers in the country and the national news outlets. Among all the journalistic players in this, the only one who wrote the real story, in real time, was Matt Cooper. He’s the one who should be getting the journalism awards, not Judy Miller. He’s the only one who fulfilled his duty as a journalist and told his readers what their leaders were doing.
Says the Time press release:
A man of many formats, Matt moonlights as a standup comedian–he was once named "Washington’s Funniest Celebrity"–and shares our ambition of making Time.com a multimedia experience. In his new gig, he will split his time between writing a regular column, assigning and editing stories, and helping to develop new political features for the 2006 elections and beyond.
I think it’s a great choice — Cooper’s smart, ethical and yes, funny. But one thing, Matt, and we’re BEGGING you here — please limit our exposure to Joe Klein. Let’s be friends. We can’t handle that asshole anymore.