The C is for Crank

Confidential to the NYT: Where All the Ladybloggers At?

By Erica C. Barnett March 28, 2011

GOOD magazine executive editor Ann Friedman (pictured) brilliantly skewers today's fawning New York Times piece on the so-called "Juicebox Mafia," a group of young, white male bloggers who have "have become part of the journalistic establishment in Washington." Friedman's paragraph-by-paragraph (and photo-by-photo) parody of the NYT piece focuses on the many female reporters, bloggers and pundits mainstream media outlets like the Times routinely ignore.

Despite the fact that no one's writing profiles of them or splashing them all over cable TV, Friedman says, these widely read female "invisipundits" have actually "been here all along."

One sweltering DC evening many months ago, Ann Friedman, 29, then an editor for The American Prospect, sat with her friends Annie Lowrey, a reporter for Slate; Suzy Khimm and Kate Sheppard, reporters for Mother Jones; Marin Cogan, a reporter for Politico; Phoebe Connelly, a freelance writer and former web editor for The American Prospect; Britt Peterson, an editor at Foreign Policy; Dayo Olopade, a writer for The Daily Beast, Kay Steiger and Shani Hilton, editors at Campus Progress; Kat Aaron, a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Workshop; Monica Potts, a blogger for The American Prospect; Amanda Terkel, a reporter for The Huffington Post; and Laura McGann and Sara Libby, editors for Politico, at a bar on U Street. Ms. Friedman spoke about her younger — well, relatively younger — days in the city.

“Everyone’s gotten a little bit older and a little more tired of being constantly rendered invisible,” Ms. Friedman said, speaking of a wave of Washington women journalists who have come of age together. “Four years ago, we were fact-checking and editing these male pundits, along with creating award-winning work of our own. None of that has changed.” ...

The NYT story, which TBD's Amanda Hess aptly calls a "masturbatory rumination on wonder boy bloggers (and the women who love them)," quotes just three women---a "venerable hostess: best known for the brunch she throws before the White House Correspondents Dinner every year, Ezra Klein's fiancee Annie Lowery, who happens to be a successful journalist in her own right, and a bitter, angry representative of the old "establishment" media, who calls the group of young men "arrogant."

The boy's club problem isn't just an oversight by mainstream publications. For example, over at Slog today, my old Stranger colleague Dan Savage suggests Rolling Stone frat boy Matt Taibbi as a replacement for longtime columnist Frank Rich. (Must be a guy thing: Josh Feit loves Taibbi too.)

For my money, I'd love to see the Times provide a little room at the boys' table for one of the many incredibly talented and qualified female bloggers and reporters who've been toiling away unheralded in the trenches for years---rather than someone like Taibbi who already has a nationwide platform at Rolling Stone (circulation 1.4 million). I'd suggest someone that mass audiences aren't already familiar with, such as Amanda Marcotte, Melissa McEwan, Dahlia Lithwick, or Jill Filopivic, to name just a few.
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