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Does Anyone Have Many Millions of Dollars Ezra Klein Can Borrow?

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From its rostra, media news in 2014 is off to a gangbusters start! To wit: the guy who posts boring charts on a newspaper website may leave that newspaper and post boring charts elsewhere.

“Ezra Klein Is Said to Plan to Leave Washington Post,” the Times reports, giddily, in an article that references two different connections the Times has to Klein himself. Said to plan to leave! When will further reports about how it’s reported that he’s said to plan to leave come out?

Ezra Klein, an analyst, columnist and television commentator who runs the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, is making plans to leave the newspaper after failing to win support for a new website he wanted to create within the company, according to four people with knowledge of the negotiations.

You could say, after just reading this lead, that it’s foolish, perhaps even incomprehensible, of the old buzzards (who are actually young now?) who run the Post to refuse to give this young man whatever he wants, having established such a successful Brand at the institution. (Even though, again, it is a boring Brand.) Reporter Dave Weigel suggests this:

Richard Cohen should obviously be fired from any job in any line of work. On the other hand, his columns are delicious hate-reads. More importantly: He probably makes six figures, which is insane, but still only six figures. How much does Ezra Klein want?

After consultation with the newspaper’s editor, Marty Baron, according to one of the people, Klein put forward a proposal with detailed revenue projections to build a new website dedicated to explanatory journalism on a wide range of topics beyond political policy. It would have been affiliated with the Post, the person said, but would have been a separate enterprise. The investment he sought, the person said, was in eight figures. The emphasis on eight figures is mine because it is eight figures. That’s only one figure away from the sale price of the entire Washington Post! And probably about twenty figures away, in the other direction, from what the Post currently has in its bank account! No wonder “Ms. Weymouth and the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, declined to support the project,” because he asked for eight figures, which is hilarious. The conversation probably went like this: “Can I have eight figures to start WONKBLOG GLOBEX INC?” “Ha ha, obviously not, get the fuck out of my office.”

The Times compared Klein’s potential, hypothetical, unconfirmed move to that of Nate Silver, who left the Times to expand his fiefdom under the broad umbrella of the Walt Disney corporation, which has money. Nate Silver is also boring most of the time, and that’s probably not going to change under the expansion. (More space for weather probabilities! Woo-hoo . . . ehh??) But at least every couple of years he tells us who is going to win elections. Klein is planning for an “explanatory journalism on a wide range of topics beyond political policy.” Jesus Christ, the boy wants to become official explainer of all things worldly. He must have settled on eight figures out of modesty.