Exhuming the Lede

One downside to having a superstar reporter covering the race is that editors may be unwilling to mess with The Great One’s copy. Exhibit A: David Broder and Mike Allen’s article in today’s Washington Post. Broder and Allen lead with some not very surprising information: that the GOP is planning to paint the eventual Democratic nominee — whoever he turns out to be — as “liberal”.

This is news? After all, that’s been the Republican line of attack in every presidential campaign since Richard Nixon’s landslide over George McGovern in 1972. Why stop now?

What is news is a little tidbit Broder and Allen save for the 16th paragraph: that the Democrat that GOP strategists are most worried about is Sen. John Edwards, who one Republican calls “‘Clinton without the scandal — John Kennedy, from the South.’”

Why didn’t the Post run with that nugget as the lede?

“I trusted David Broder’s judgment on that,” Marilee Schwartz, the Post’s political editor, told Campaign Desk.


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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.