For Ezra Klein, though, the calculus is quite different. Klein has no special expertise to offer – he has no professional training or experience, having worked almost exclusively as a blogger. He has no academic background worth speaking of, just an undergraduate degree, and not even a terribly impressive one. He got his start at the far-left blog Pandagon. Many of his new confederates at Vox have similar resumes, resumes seemingly designed to get them in the door at a newspaper, magazine or TV network, rather than to demonstrate freestanding subject-matter expertise.
Klein has his virtues (he’s particularly good at conducting interviews of public officials, getting them into the weeds of policy), but ultimately his stock in trade is not falsifiable facts but “Washington facts”: CBO scores, fact checks, and other tools of the trade of determining what facts are considered admissible under Capitol Hill’s unique and parochial rules of evidence. These are not really facts at all, since they are subject to continual revision with little reference to the real world, but they are vastly influential in how government policy is set – a classic exercise in speaking power to truth, power that conservative writers rarely get to exercise.
In debating such facts, the value of the Washington Post name is incalculable. In Congressional debates and televised attack ads, it is a great asset to be able to cite The Washington Post; it is far less valuable to tell the voters in a district in Iowa or Colorado what Ezra Klein of Vox dot com thinks. And make no mistake: liberal though it is, the Post is a venerable Washington institution with deep ties to both sides of the aisle, and the institutional gravitas that comes of being a city’s leading daily newspaper for decades.