Glenn Beck Is the Huffington Post: Journalistic Professionalism and the Ideology of No Ideology

Jim Romenesko, with his usual icy deadpan acumen,

pulls the following quote

from the

New York Times report

that Betsy Morgan, the former CEO of the Huffington Post, will be in charge of Glenn Beck’s Web site:

“I am a very apolitical person,” says Morgan, who is a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board. “I’m a business person, who is absolutely fascinated by brands.”

The switch from HuffPo to Glenn Beck isn’t that impressive, in itself: a

safe space for conspiracy-minded cranks

is a

safe space for conspiracy-minded cranks

. But the


in the Poynter Institute’s self-appointed Bureau of Journalistic Standards and Practices—that’s what makes the story delightful.

Morgan does not believe in politics; she believes in business. Business has

nothing to do with politics

. Business is without ideology. She is interested in—”absolutely fascinated by”—brands. What is a brand? It is a concept, or a reductive caricature of a concept, that is meant to construct and restrict the ways that people are able to talk about buying and selling things. Those things being bought and sold include

one’s own labor


notional corporate entities are people


people are notional corporate entities


None of this is the least bit political, according a member of the board of

an institute

“dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders,” which “stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse.” Sure, you could say that branding is essentially the opposite of enlightening the discourse; then again, you could say that a journalist’s job is to report on the world as it is.