Earlier today, Josh Marshall announced that Talking Points Memo is about to get bigger:
January will usher in a new Democratic Ascendancy in Washington. And
here at TPM we believe we are uniquely qualified to chronicle it. So to
that end we are hiring two new reporter-bloggers to be based in
Washington, DC, one assigned to the White House and one assigned to
Capitol Hill. The Obama White House and the expanded Democratic
majorities on Capitol Hill are unquestionably the political story of
the next two years. And with your help we plan to be there on the
ground and and here in New York, covering it in force, fully,
critically and down to the minute. We want to keep you informed on what
you'd know if you were reporting every day at the White House or on the
Hill. Think of us, in that sense, as an insiders' publication for
outsiders, which is how I've always thought of us.
This is good news. With all due respect to the Huffington Post and its admirers, Talking Points Memo is the most inspiring new-media success story out there. (For one thing, Marshall couldn't just throw insane amounts of cash at his project like Arianna Huffington did at hers.) And its political coverage--which has a clear liberal slant, but is very smart and not strident--is hard to beat.
Also in his note to readers, Marshall highlighted the fact that TPM will be venturing into uncharted waters once Obama takes office:
[TPM's] evolution has been always been bound up with my stance as a
voice of opposition to the Bush administration. So the end of the Bush
years and the beginning of a new Democratic administration presents us
with something dramatically new.
Obviously, this raises the question: what sort of relationship does Marshall expect TPM to have with the new administration? Given TPM's smarts and track record, my assumption was that Marshall et al. wouldn't pull a Chris Matthews and try to act as journalistic surrogates for the new president.
Since Marshall didn't address this subject in his readers' note, however, I emailed him and asked: have you thought about what TPM's relationship with the Obama Administration will be? Is it safe assume you'll be suitably detached, and critical when appropriate? His response:
We’ve given it a great deal of thought. My political views and beliefs are no secret. But we are going to cover the White House and Congress as journalists. Simple as that. Our coverage will be informed, critical and fair. So I would say that your assumption is correct.
Again: good news.