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VandeHarris: ‘Mike You Ignorant Slut’

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This morning, we brought you the news that former Atlantic writer Michael Kinsley and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough will write dueling columns for Politico.

Now we have the internal memo. In it, VandeHarris explain what they were thinking adding opinion journalism to the publication. In a lengthy memo to staff this morning, they lay out reasons for such “cool news” as they refer to it. The editors, John Harris and Jim VandeHei, point out that Kinsley and Scarborough will not work in a “classic point/counterpoint format” such as (“Mike, you ignorant slut”) they will look for ways to engage each other in conversation from time to time.”

The duel begins Oct. 1.

Read the full memo after the jump…


Gang,

As we all head back to class this week, we have some very cool news to announce.
We have been giving some thought for a while about how we might incorporate opinion columnists into our coverage. We are about to start with a bang: Starting in October, veteran columnist Michael Kinsley and newly minted columnist Joe Scarborough will be appearing in our pages weekly.
These two will offer ideological balance, as their opinions generally come from competing ends of the political spectrum. But what they have in common is much more important: They are both original thinkers with exceptionally compelling voices. Both are intellectually honest people who by long habit resist doctrinaire thinking or hypocrisy by politicians of any stripe. They both have a natural appreciation for the nonstop argument, and nonstop carnival, of politics.
Both Mike and Joe will write from an ideological perspective—something our current reporters and columnists do not do-and their work will be labeled accordingly. They’ll both write on what interests them, and will not attempt to coordinate their columns. While they won’t be working in a classic point/counterpoint format (“Mike, you ignorant slut”) they will look for ways to engage each other in conversation from time to time….
Mike has been at the head of the class of liberal columnists for a good three decades now. He has a wonderful gift of making even the most complex topics approachable, by writing in a conversational (often wickedly funny) tone and applying a relentlessly rational approach to argument. He’s brought these talents to positions (stretching far back now) as editor of the Washington Monthly, the New Republic, and host of CNN’s Crossfire. Most recently, heÂ’s been writing a kind of hybrid blog-column at the Atlantic Wire. He’s decided that the traditional weekly column is what he enjoys most, and that’s what heÂ’ll do for us.
Importantly, part of Mike’s history is as the founding editor of Slate. So we will have in our midst a true media pioneer, someone who has lots to teach all of us about the hard but thrilling work of starting new publications and enlivening established ones. Mike lives here most of the time (summers in Seattle) with his wife, Patty Stonesifer, who is chairwoman of the Smithsonian. He expects to be with us in the newsroom a lot.
Everyone knows Joe, who has already been part of the POLITICO extended family thanks to his long (and occasionally contentious) relationship with Jim VandeHei going back to the mid-90s and because of the regular twice-each-morning hits the publication does on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. As a member of Congress and as the host of his show, Joe has always had an outsized personality and a probing mind. A regular column will be a natural for him and we are glad to give his voice a home in our pages.

VandeHarris

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