There’s a lot to say about the Washington Post’s just announced contest, “America’s Next Great Pundit.”

The set-up is pretty intuitive: submit a sparkling 400 word op-ed on a current news topic, and you could end up as one of eight finalists, with a chance that your future columns “may” be published in the paper’s commentary section. You’ll have to make it through some ill-defined Idol-esque voting and evaluation process involving readers at home and the paper’s staff. As the Post puts it, this could put one lucky reader/writer a “on a path” to becoming a “pundit” and “talking head.”

Hmm. The Post seems to have forgotten that those are usually derogatory terms, and designed a contest certain to denude what little regard many readers already have for these interpreters of the news. And let’s hang up the won’t-this-be-great-for-new-voices crap and acknowledge that this is an obvious gimmick—there’s nothing stopping the Post from publishing a few more of the thousands of unsolicited op-eds from they receive from unfamiliar voices each year.

But for now, put all that aside. Because here’s my question:

Is Dan Froomkin eligible to compete?

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.