Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, October 10, 2010 12:44 pm

Dear Washington Post: Just die already


Dinesh D’Souza recently published a book suggesting that President Obama is full of anger that he inherited from his anticolonialist Kenyan father. Or something like that. And Forbes magazine published a D’Souza cover story harping on the same theme.

You have to be seriously screwed up to attract criticism from the right-wing noise machine. D’Souza is seriously screwed up. Even the race-baiting, vote-suppressing Right couldn’t stomach this. Card-carrying member David Frum wrote, “When last was there such a brazen outburst of race-baiting in the service of partisan politics at the national level? George Wallace took more care to sound race-neutral.”

So you would think that any reputable news organization wouldn’t touch this crap with a 10-foot pole. And you’d be right. But The Washington Post isn’t, and for quite some time hasn’t been, a reputable news organization. A couple of days ago it published an op-ed from D’Souza rehashing some of these same themes. Even outgoing Post media critic Howard Kurtz, who never has a harsh word to say about his soon-to-be-ex-employer, found this decision inexplicable.

Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt was asked why he ran the piece. He said, “I approved publication of this Op-Ed. D’Souza’s theory has sparked a great deal of commentary, from potential presidential candidates as well as from commentators on our own pages.”

Memo to Hiatt: Lots of things spark a great deal of commentary, among them Klan marches, allegations that the president is not a U.S. citizen, and arguments in favor of creationism. But “sparking a great deal of commentary” is not, by itself, grounds for giving a wacko a forum on the op-ed page of what is supposed to be one of the country’s greatest newspapers. And the fact that I even have to explain this to you proves you are unqualified for the job you hold. And, no, publishing Michael Mann’s excellent piece calling out politicians on their hostility to the inconvenient truths yielded by disinterested scientific research doesn’t get you off the hook.

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