Josh Marshall: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joshua Micah Marshall (born February 15, 1969 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American Polk Award-winning[1] journalist[2] who founded Talking Points Memo,[1] which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most popular and most respected sites" in the blogosphere.[3] He currently presides over a network of sites that operate under the TPM Media banner and average 400,000 page views every weekday[4] and 750,000 unique visitors every month.[5][6] Marshall and his work have been profiled by The New York Times,[5] the Los Angeles Times,[7 ] the Financial Times,[8] National Public Radio,[9] The New York Times Magazine,[10] the Columbia Journalism Review,[4] Bill Moyers Journal,[11] and GQ.[12][13] Hendrik Hertzberg, a senior editor at The New Yorker, compares Marshall to the influential founders of Time magazine. "Marshall is in the line of the great light-bulb-over-the-head editors. He’s like Briton Hadden or Henry Luce. He’s created something new."[4]


Early career

Marshall is a graduate of the Webb Schools of California and Princeton University and earned a Ph.D. in American history from Brown University.[4][8] In the mid-1990s, Marshall designed websites for law firms and published an online news site about Internet law, which included interviews with prominent scholars such as Lawrence Lessig.[4]

He began writing freelance articles about Internet free speech for The American Prospect in 1997 and was soon hired as an associate editor.[4] He worked for the Prospect for three years[3] and in 1999 moved to D.C. to become their Washington editor.[4] He often clashed with the top editors at the Prospect, over both ideology and the direction of the website.[4]

Talking Points Memo


Reaching a critical mass

Inspired by political bloggers such as Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan, Marshall started Talking Points Memo during the 2000 Florida election recount. "I really liked what seemed to me to be the freedom of expression of this genre of writing," Marshall told the Columbia Journalism Review. "And, obviously, given the issues that I had with the Prospect, that appealed to me a lot."[4]

He left his job at the Prospect early in 2001[4] and continued to blog while writing for The Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, The New Yorker,[3], and the New York Post.[4] In 2002, Marshall used Talking Points Memo to publicize Trent Lott's controversial comments praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential run as a segregationist.[7 ] According to the Kennedy School of Government, Marshall was instrumental in fueling the ensuing scandal that eventually led to Trent Lott's resignation as Senate Minority Leader.[3]

As a result of the Lott story, traffic to Talking Points Memo spiked from 8,000 to 20,000 page views a day.[4] In the fall of 2003, as people focused on the failure to find WMD's in Iraq, there was a new surge of traffic to the site; "I remember there being peak days of 60,000 page views, which was really incredible."[5] Marshall started selling ads on his site and by the end of 2004 was earning $10,000 a month,[4] making him one of a handful of what The New York Times Magazine dubbed "elite bloggers" who earned enough money to make blogging a full-time occupation.[3]

During the 2008 US election campaign, many independent news sites and political blogs saw a wave of "explosive growth".[14 ] Talking Points Memo experienced the largest surge in traffic,[15] growing from 32,000 unique visitors in September 2007 to 458,000 unique visitors in September 2008,[16 ] a 1,321% year-to-year increase in the size of its audience.[17]

Launching TPM Media

In 2005, Marshall launched TPMCafe.[18] This site features a collection of blogs about a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues written by academics, journalists and former public officials among others.

Marshall expanded his operation again in 2006, launching TPMmuckraker. The site focuses on investigative reporting of political corruption, and was originally staffed by Paul Kiel and Justin Rood. Rood has since moved on to ABC and its blog The Blotter. Kiel has recently been joined by two new staff reporter-bloggers, Laura McGann and Spencer Ackerman. TPMmuckraker has attempted to organize its readers to plow through and read document dumps by governmental entities engaging in cover-ups.[19]

TPM Media operates out of an office in Manhattan and currently employs seven reporters, including two in Washington.[5]

U.S. Attorney Scandal

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

In 2007, Marshall was instrumental in exposing another national scandal, the politically-motivated dismissal of U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration.[1] Marshall won The Polk Award for Legal Reporting for his coverage of the story, which "led the news media" and "connected the dots and found a pattern of federal prosecutors being forced from office for failing to do the Bush Administration's bidding.".[1] Columbia Journalism Review also credited Marshall's news organization for being "almost single-handedly responsible for bringing the story of the fired U.S. Attorneys to a boil."[4] The ensuing scandal resulted in the resignations of several high-level government officials;[7 ][8] the Polk award in particular honored Marshall for his "tenacious investigative reporting" which "sparked interest by the traditional news media and led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales."[5]

After a weekend writer noticed that the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas was being replaced with a former adviser to Karl Rove,[20] Marshall discovered that U.S. Attorney Carol Lam was also being asked to resign. Carol Lam successfully prosecuted Republican California Representative Duke Cunningham on bribery charges and was in the middle of an ongoing criminal investigation into a congressional scandal of historic proportions.[8] "I was stunned by it," Marshall told the Financial Times. "Normally, in a case like that, the prosecutor would be untouchable."[8]

National newspapers were slow to pick up the story.[8] Time magazine's Washington bureau chief Jay Carney went so far as to accuse Marshall of "seeing broad partisan conspiracies where none likely exist."[21] By the time The New York Times first reported on Lam's firing (on page 17), Marshall and his news sites had already posted 15 articles on the story.[8]

Two months after posting his accusatory article, Carney apologized to Marshall. "Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo and everyone else out there whose instincts told them there was something deeply wrong and even sinister about the firings... deserve tremendous credit." Carney went on to write, "I was wrong. Very nice work, and thanks for holding my feet to the fire."[22]

For doggedly pursuing the story, Arianna Huffington nominated Joshua Marshall and the Talking Points Memo team to the Time 100.[23]

Future plans

Larger media companies have approached Marshall about buying or investing in his media company. So far, he has decided to maintain his independence.[4]

Miscellaneous work

In addition to his own network of news sites, Marshall is a columnist for The Hill.[3]


Joshua Marshall's father was a professor of marine biology. His mother died when he was young.[3]

Marshall married Millet Israeli in March 2005,[24] and the couple live in New York City with their two young sons and a dog named Simon.[25]

Prizes & Honors

  • George Polk Award for Legal Reporting, 2007
  • The Week Opinion Awards, Blogger of the Year, 2003 & 2007
  • GQ Men of the Year, Muckraker, 2007


  1. ^ a b c d Strupp, Joe (February 19, 2008). "Slain Editor Bailey Among George Polk Award Winners". Editor & Publisher. Retrieved February 19, 2008.  
  2. ^ Kurtz, Howard (February 18, 2005). "Rehnquist's Health; Do Bloggers Matter?; RNC Chair Pushes Bush Social Security Plans". CNN: Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics. Retrieved September 9, 2007.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Klam, Matthew (September 26, 2004). "Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved May 18, 2007.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Glenn, David (September/October 2007). "The (Josh) Marshall Plan". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved September 8, 2007.  
  5. ^ a b c d e Cohen, Noam (February 25, 2008). "Blogger, Sans Pajamas, Rakes Muck and a Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2008.  
  6. ^ Bunch, William (May/June, 2007). "Is This Thing On?". Brown Alumni Magazine. Retrieved February 19, 2008.  
  7. ^ a b c McDermott, Terry (March 17, 2007, accessdate=May 18, 2007). "Blogs can top the presses". Los Angeles Times.,0,4018765,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines.  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Apple, Sam (July 28, 2007). "Quick off the blog". Financial Times. Retrieved September 8, 2007.  
  9. ^ Smith, Robert (March 22, 2007, accessdate=May 18, 2007). "Talking Points Site Kept Attorneys Story Alive". National Public Radio.  
  10. ^ Starr, Alexandra (December 11, 2005). "Open-Source Reporting". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved May 18, 2007.  
  11. ^ Moyers, Bill (April 27, 2007, accessdate=May 18, 2007). "Blogging for Truth". PBS.  
  12. ^ Flynn, Sean (December 2007). "Men of the Year 2007". GQ. Retrieved February 20, 2008.  
  13. ^ Flynn, Sean (December 2007). "MOTY:Give This Man a Pulitzer". GQ. Retrieved February 20, 2008.  
  14. ^ "Huffington Post and Politico Lead Wave of Explosive Growth at Independent Political Blogs and News Sites this Election Season". comScore. October 22, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2008.  
  15. ^ LaVallee, Andrew (October 23, 2008). "HuffPo Beats Drudge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20098-10-31.  
  16. ^ Walsh, Mark (October 23, 2008). "Huffington Post, Politico Top Political Sites". MediaPost. Retrieved October 26, 2008.  
  17. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (October 22, 2008). "ComScore: Lefty Sites Making Huge Traffic Gains". Condé Nast Portfolio. Retrieved October 26, 2008.  
  18. ^ Tatton, Abbi (May 10, 2005). "Political Fundraising Trial Gets Underway; Senate Problems with Judicial Nominees Continue". CNN: Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics. Retrieved May 18, 2007.  
  19. ^ Gerstein, Josh (March 21, 2007). "New Technique Lets Bloggers Tackle Late-Night News Dumps". The New York Sun. Retrieved June 15, 2007.  
  20. ^ McLeary, Paul (March 15, 2007). "How TalkingPointsMemo Beat the Big Boys on the U.S. Attorney Story". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved September 9, 2007.  
  21. ^ Carney, Jay (January 17, 2007). "Running Massacre?". Time magazine. Retrieved September 9, 2007.  
  22. ^ Carney, Jay (March 13, 2007). "Where Credit Is Due". Time magazine. Retrieved September 9, 2007.  
  23. ^ Arianna Huffington (April 26, 2007). "The TIME 100". Time magazine.,9171,1615198,00.html. Retrieved May 18, 2007.  
  24. ^ Clemons, Steve (March 19, 2005). "Saturday Morning Stuff and a Wedding Afternoon: Josh & Millet Get Married". The Washington Note. Retrieved January 12, 2009.  
  25. ^ "Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved September 8, 2007.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Joshua Micah Marshall (born 1969-02-15) is an American political journalist and blogger.


  • In the popular political imagination we're familiar with the neocons as conniving militarists, masters of intrigue and cabals, graspers for the oil supplies of the world, and all the rest. But here we have them in what I suspect is the truest light: as college kid rubes who head out for a weekend in Vegas, get scammed out of their money by a two-bit hustler on the first night and then get played for fools by a couple hookers who leave them naked and handcuffed to their hotel beds.
  • Authoritarianism and secrecy breed incompetence; the two feed on each other. It's a vicious cycle. Governments with authoritarian tendencies point to what is in fact their own incompetence as the rationale for giving them yet more power.
  • If you think back to the Swift Boat debacle of 2004, the surface issue was John Kerry's honesty and bravery as a sailor in Vietnam. Far more powerful, however, was the meta-message: George Bush slaps John Kerry around and Kerry either can't or won't hit back. For voters concerned with security and the toughness of their leaders, that's a devastating message — and one that has little or nothing to do with the truth of the surface charges. Someone who can't fight for himself certainly can't fight for you. At the time I called it the "Republicans' bitch-slap theory of electoral politics."
  • To the president the Democrats should be saying, Double or Nothing is Not a Foreign Policy.

    The great bulk of the public doesn't believe this president any more when he tries to gin up a phony crisis. They don't believe he'd have much of an idea of how to deal with a real one. Enough of the lies. Enough of the incompetence and failure.

    No buying into another of the president's phony crises.

  • With all the efforts now to disassociate President Bush from conservatism, I am starting to believe that conservatism itself — not the political machine, mind you, but the ideology — is heading toward that misty land-over-the-ocean where ideologies go after they've shuffled off this mortal coil. Sort of like the way post-Stalinist lefties used to say, "You can't say Communism's failed. It's just never really been tried."

    But as it was with Communism, so with conservatism. When all the people who call themselves conservatives get together and run the government, they're on the line for it. Conservative president. Conservative House. Conservative Senate.

    What we appear to be in for now is the emergence of this phantom conservatism existing out in the ether, wholly cut loose from any connection to the actual people who are universally identified as the conservatives and who claim the label for themselves.

    We can even go a bit beyond this though. The big claim now is that President Bush isn't a conservative because he hasn't shrunk the size of government and he's a reckless deficit spender.

    But let's be honest: Balanced budgets and shrinking the size of government hasn't been part of conservatism — or to be more precise, Movement Conservatism — for going on thirty years. The conservative movement and the Republican party are the movement and party of deficit spending. And neither has any claim to any real association with limited or small government. Just isn't borne out by any factual record or political agenda. Not in the Reagan presidency, the Bush presidency or the second Bush presidency. The intervening period of fiscal restraint comes under Clinton.

  • There's this old line the wise folks in Washington have that "it's not the crime, but the cover-up."

    But only fools believe that. It's always about the crime. The whole point of the cover-up is that a full revelation of the underlying crime is not survivable.

  • The president just seems to be living in some sort of alternative universe populated by the failed gods of his narcissism and vainglory.
  • Primitive animals will sometimes keep chattering or twitching their muscles even after their heads have been cut off. And that's probably the best analogy today to the president's continuing enunciation of his policies.

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