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This story about the totally nonpartisan new owner of Politico who definitely has no policy agenda documents some amazing bobbing and weaving and self-exonerating:

How exactly Döpfner, Axel Springer’s CEO, hopes to define nonpartisan journalism at an especially fragmented time for American politics is a question of intense interest as he aims to leave his mark on American media. His own politics have remained something of a mystery, too. But weeksbefore the 2020 U.S. presidential election, he sent a surprising message to his closest executives, obtained by The Washington Post:

“Do we all want to get together for an hour in the morning on November 3 and pray that Donald Trump will again become President of the United States of America?”

His email was inspired by a news story he shared about the government’s plans to sue Google for abuse of market dominance, an animating issue of his for years. But Döpfner went on to argue that Trump had made the right moves on five of what he deemed the six most important issues of the last half century — “defending the free democracies” against Russia and China, pushing NATO allies to up their contributions, “tax reforms,” and Middle East peace efforts, as well as challenging tech monopolies — if falling short, he implied, on climate change.

“No American administration in the last 50 years has done more,” Döpfner concluded.

Asked about the email, Döpfner initially responded with a forceful denial. “That’s intrinsically false,” he said. “That doesn’t exist. It has never been sent and has never been even imagined.”

When shown a printout of the text, Döpfner allowed a glimmer of recognition. It’s possible, he said, that he may have sent the email “as an ironic, provocative statement in the circle of people that hate Donald Trump,” because that’s exactly the kind of ironic, provocative thing that Döpfner, a garrulous and enthusiastic texter, likes to do.

“That is me,” he said. “That could be.”

Even leaving aside the fact that this was plainly not “ironic” by any formal or colloquial definition, I am reminded of Robert Christgau’s dictum “Irony–an excuse for anything and a reason for nothing.”

The prayers for Donald Trump’s victory aside, it’s also grimly amusing at this late date to see the views that have launched a billion interchangeable SubStacks — he is very concerned with CANCEL CULTURE, doncha know — described as “contrarian”:

It sure will be nice to finally have a media venue where these fresh ideas can finally get some exposure!

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