One Possible Contestant for the Post

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?

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