WSJ ‘Scumbag’ Columnist Gets Predictably Slimy

Noticing that Democratic strategist Mark Penn “is the Wall Street Journal‘s ‘Microtrend’-spotting columnist” and “also CEO of PR giant Burson-Marsteller,” Gawker blogger Hamilton Nolan (8/26/09) posits that “only a scumbag would abuse the former to drum up business for the latter.”

Alas, “Scumbag spotted!” is Nolan’s cry when writing that

Penn’s latest (old, and none too insightful) “Microtrend” column is about “glamping“–glamorous camping. It ran last weekend. By Monday, according to an internal email obtained by Gawker, Burson was already trying to recruit companies from the industry featured in the column as clients.

Nolan goes on to remind us that “Penn was canned as Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategist after it emerged that his firm was trying to get a contract to do PR work for the nation of Colombiaâ┚¬”work that went against Clinton’s own political position.” It’s particularly interesting to recall that scandal as “a story that the WSJ broke,” considering how, as Nolan puts it, “moonlighting from his PR career has already screwed a politician,” but “now he’s screwing a newspaper the same way.”