Silverstein’s Farewell Note

Harper’s Ken Silverstein wrote a final post on his Washington Babylon blog today—he’s leaving his position as the magazine’s Washington Editor and moving on to do international investigative reporting at Global Witness and take a fellowship with the Open Society Institute. He will remain a contributing editor for Harper’s.

Why the move?

I’ve loved working for Harper’s but it’s time to move on. As I told Mediabistro, “Washington and Washington politics has worn me down. Every time I write a story I feel like I wrote it a year ago and five years ago and 10 years ago. Nothing ever changes here.”

It’s a pretty tough piece to read, a catalogue of the reporter’s disappointments ranging from the president to the press charged with covering him. But as full as Silverstein is of anger and a kind of beaten-down disenchantment, he manages to channel both into some pretty sharp insights about political coverage in D.C. today.

…I just no longer have the energy to cover Washington. I frequently find myself numb to political news and, even worse, to the lifeless, conventional wisdom peddling of the Washington media. When you can read an entire column by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz and never once feel the urge to cut out your own heart with a dull knife, you know that you no longer have the sense of outrage that is essential to reporting from our nation’s capital.

Kudos to Silverstein for getting out as the fire faded, and good luck to him.

And whether you agree with his views or not—with his politics and/or his assessment of the beltway press bubble—it’s always refreshing these days to see a seasoned journalist taking his own leap rather than being pushed.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.