Yesterday’s post on Carlos Watson generated more mail than just about anything that’s appeared on this site.
Perhaps more than anything, people objected to the characterization of Watson as a “jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.” Readers pointed out that he founded a successful company, Achieva, which was sold to the Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan education division, has worked on and managed campaigns, and done successful private sector work with McKinsey & Co., among other ventures. “No, he hasn’t worked in politics or journalism forever — but that’s not a bad thing,” one person wrote. “The guy actually has experience.”
A smattering of the other mail we received:
> “I must rise in defense of Carlos Watson. As a former reporter and a former Capitol Hill staffer I am troubled by the unrestrained trashing of an individual who, in my experience, has demonstrated that a journalistic approach to political coverage and analysis remains possible. I’ve been in regular contact with Carlos for quite some time and his approach has always been that of an individual seeking facts over talking points. Perhaps that is the problem. Could it be that when someone won’t simply regurgitate the ‘message’ of the day, that is a sign that they don’t know what they are talking about?”
> “I know that the path of least resistance is found by spouting the accepted wisdom of the moment. On that path you can never be wrong because when facts emerge that contradict the wisdom, the wisdom is simply adjusted by mutual agreement. Among the many reasons I respect Carlos is that he skips that conference call and ignores those dictates, preferring to ask questions that aren’t on anyone’s approved list. If that draws criticism, I hope he takes it as a tribute.”
> “This attack on Carlos is wrong on several fronts. One, I have personal knowledge that the guy works his ass off calling sources and works very hard and long hours to synthesize political views and reach fresh insights — before his every appearance on CNN. Two, I happen to know several political players, including colleagues of mine who’ve been around the political block a few times, who think his commentary is fresh and very good and that he brings a welcome dimension to CNN. Three, in Washington, it’s typical that the established bullshitters try to say that no one else’s commentary is as good as their own blather. Please. These attacks on Carlos seem more like a projection of insecurity, to me.”
> “I think Carlos Watson is good for CNN. He may not have the experience of Woodruff, Greenfield or Schneider, but nobody there has worked on a campaign in the last 4 decades, well, besides Begala. He’s got a good eye for talent. I heard him talk about Barack Obama before he had any national media exposure and said that he had a good chance to pull an upset.”
> “Smells like jealousy or bitterness. I’ve worked with Carlos at CNN for over a year now and have to say that he is hard working, full of fresh ideas and one of the best read guys around. In fact the reality is the opposite of what your sources sent you, he’s the guy that sends you an email at 3a with some new idea for the next day. He’s the guy that I can’t get off the cell phone because he’s focused on trying to get a new tidbit. If you work with Carlos you know this is the reality. So I don’t get why someone would say anything else.”
Other thoughts? Any firmer ideas about what Watson’s new role at CNN might be?