Ethics Dunce: NY Times Columnist Charles M. Blow, and the Times, If It Doesn’t Do Something About Him

Behold the above tweet from last night, appearing on the Twitter feed of Charles M. Blow, a regular New York Times op-ed columnist. And note:

  • This is supposed to be a respected and respectable journalist of the preeminent U.S. newspaper, and he is sending gutter-level messages via social media, plus
  • …his tweet immediately descends to crude name-calling (“Muddle-Mouth”) aimed at a Republican presidential candidate, and
  • …goes lower still, making first a crude reference to underwear, and
  • …making the reference a religious slur as well.

Is the New York Times really going to tolerate one of its columnists mocking Mitt Romney’s religion? New York journalists erupted in indignation when a juvenile ESPN headline writer chose a racially-charged play on words in a headline about Knicks star Jeremy Lin; they cry out for respect toward Muslims, but Charles Blow thinks it’s fair game to ridicule Mormon traditions. And why? Because Mitt Romney opined about the undesirability and high-social risk of single-parent households, an issue recently raised most prominently by—the New York Times, Blow’s employer!

The tweet, then, is uncivil, unprofessional, crude, unfair, bigoted and last but not least, stupid, because Romney was right, but even if he wasn’t, the fact that Blow’s kids are “amazing” has no probative value regarding the problem of single parent households and unmarried parents whatsoever. My father was also raised by a single parent, and he was definitely amazing….and so what? That disproves the horrendous statistics on the increased likelihood of poverty, drug use and crime when boys are raised without fathers? Apparently, according to Blow.

I don’t understand many things about this incident. I don’t understand how Blow would dare to willfully denigrate a religion so openly, unless he knew that slurring Mormons—or Republicans—was acceptable at the Times. Maybe it is.

I don’t understand why a major newspaper columnist behaving like this isn’t more prominent news. (I just read about it in the National Review. I don’t see it anywhere else.)

I don’t understand how The Times, or any paper pretending to have professional standards, could hire a columnist so devoid of professionalism, judgment and common sense.

I don’t understand why the tweet is still up after 24 hours, except that it must mean that Blow stands by it, meaning that he is incompetent as well as unapologetic.

And frankly, I don’t understand why he still has a job. Can the New York Times really be satisfied with the image this conveys of their paper?

Most of all, I don’t understand what it is about Twitter that bewitches people into making total asses of themselves. Or, in this case, an Ethics Dunce.

There is a follow-up to the story here.

5 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: NY Times Columnist Charles M. Blow, and the Times, If It Doesn’t Do Something About Him

  1. That was very James Watt-ish of Blow – only worse.

    Oops. Never mind. Republican Cabinet Secretary vs. single parent. Unfair of me. There’s my double standard self-education for the day!

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