At the beginning of the week, ABC News launched OTUS, its political news supermarket with its top political reporters (Jake Tapper, Jonathan Karl, Amy Walter, and George Stephanopoulos) hunkering on the site's home page. OTUS threatens to dice, grind, sieve, and aerosol the complex business of campaigns and the affairs of the state into inhalable powder.
As Tapper says in this promo, OTUS (short for of the United States as in, POTUS, president of the United States, or SCOTUS, supreme court of the United States) is all about the "power moves, the mini-dramas, the scheming" in politics. Tapper promises that OTUS will flag both the "urgent and the ridiculous," offer games, display correspondents' Twitter feeds, and create a stock market-style ticker that assesses the rising and falling worth of candidates with social media.
ABC News has expanded its Web efforts at what is obviously a late date. Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, Yahoo Politics, Politico, RealClearPolitics, Red State, Huffington Post Politics, FiveThirtyEight, Mother Jones, National Review Online, Daily Beast, Daily Caller, Roll Call, The Hill, CNN Politics, NBC's First Read, Time 's Swampland, National Journal, specialty sections at the Washington Post, the New York Times, New York magazine, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, and Reuters, as well as numerous other sites already cover the beat, and cover it well.
That ABC News would join the specialists speaks to both the audience's insatiable appetite for political news and the network's confidence that nobody owns this market. It's a good call: Such is the Web audience's fickleness, the ease with which they can skip pages, that nobody can own the market for news anymore. They can't even rent it. News organizations can't own their journalistic stars the way they used to, either. In the old days, the only place for a reporter or editor at a top-tier newspaper or magazine to migrate was another top-tier newspaper or magazine, or maybe a TV network, or maybe a career in books. But not anymore. Reporters now move from the New York Times to the Huffington Post with such regularity that the MTA is thinking of digging a special subway line to accommodate them.
Not to oversell the current scene, but the proliferation of political news sites—and my apologies to those I didn't name—means we're living in a bit of a golden age of political reporting. At least when it comes to national politics and national government, there have never been more reporters competing to break news. Not everything on the menu tastes great, but there's no denying it's a feast.