Thursday, April 10, 2008

No More 'No Comment'

Scott Horton is ending his regular blogging duties at's No Comment.

The simple fact of the matter is that 2,000 words a day is too time-consuming. It gets in the way of my other writing obligations, especially the long-form journalism, and the still longer-form and languishing book projects, and even those ridiculous law-professorly, footnoted articles. So today is the last day of regular No Comment posts.
Scott's writing at No Comment has been a daily must-read for me. Along with Ken Silverstein's Washington Babylon, Scott's blog was an element of what I consider a renaissance at Harper's.

I have been a subscriber to the magazine on and off since I was a teenager in the early 80s. Over the last few years, however, my loyalty has been based mostly on the fact that it remained a reliable bastion of liberal social and political thought. The articles are consistently well-written, but the tone had become dry and stilted. And before its redesign, the Harper's website was not good for much other than managing my subscriber account.

Then, at the end of Lewis Lapham's tenure as chief editor, the magazine undertook a significant re-imagining of its website, including downloadable scans of every issue back to its 19th Century beginning, and the introduction of the blogs.

Scott's and Ken's blogging gave a much-needed shot of adrenaline to Harper's, and helped it begin to explore its potential as a 21st Century outlet of journalism and commentary.

It is, perhaps, ironic that the end of Scott's regular blogging duties comes (hopefully) near the conclusion of one of the most important crusades for justice in the era of Bush lawlessness. I refer, of course, to his efforts to expose the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. If Siegelman regains his status as a free American citizen, he will have Scott Horton to thank.

Horton began writing about the Siegelman prosecution in June, 2007, and wasted no time placing it within the context of the U.S. Attorney's scandal, in which federal prosecutors were fired apparently for their refusal to engage in politically-motivated investigations of Democrats. His blog posts with regard to the Siegelman case were as important in their way as Josh Marshall's work at TPM was to the exposure of the broader U.S. Attorney's scandal.

Thanks in large measure to Horton's indefatigable outrage over the Siegelman prosecution, we know that there were federal prosecutors who did not resist Karl Rove's efforts to wield the Justice Department as a partisan weapon. And we have a concrete example of the injustice that results when justice takes a back seat to politics.

Ya done good, Scott. Farewell.

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