No shortage of material for Atlantic Wire’s ‘Worst Columns’ feature


Here’s what others are saying about David Wagner’s feature:

“I demand a recount.” - @jackshafer and @SteveChapman13

“What, no hat trick for [Mitch] Albom? Thing’s rigged.”@jeff_rosen88

“Humbled and honoured to be included.”@oconnorwrites

“Nothing like some journalistic schadenfreude to brighten one’s day.”@johnbethune

“Snubbed again.”@StevePoliti

Thanks to Wagner for taking time to tell Romenesko readers how “Worst Columns” came together:

I’m responsible for putting together The Atlantic Wire’s Five Best feature, which rounds up the day’s most noteworthy columns for our readers. A number of the columns I weed out each morning out are just so bad. Like, terrible beyond belief. My editors and I thought that drawing our readers’ attention to the stuff that doesn’t make the cut might spark discussion about the follies of opinion writing in a year when the whole idea of the value of pundits was called into question.

David Wagner

David Wagner

We came up with the 50 Worst feature around election time, so, no, it wasn’t a year-long effort [I asked in an email if it was], but once we started recalling all the worst offenders from 2012, we found no shortage of material. I certainly didn’t compile this list all on my own. My colleagues here at The Atlantic Wire helped draw my attention to columns that raised their hair, as well as the attention of readers throughout the year. I also found many of them by going through the Wire’s archives — we caught the most egregious examples when they first went to print. It took weeks to put this feature together, re-reading many more columns than we included, but I’m glad we took the time to get it right.

As for the response, I’m glad it’s got people looking back at the year — that’s the whole point of our Year in Review seires. Only a few of the writers have responded so far. Henry Blodget and Joe O’Connor were good sports about the whole thing. Also, one reader called me out on a glaring omission: Mark Judge in the Daily Caller basically saying black people stole his bike. I regret not including it.

* The 50 Worst Columns of 2012 (theatlanticwire.com)

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