The Washington Post Drops Its Resident Op-Ed Socialist. Good.

Workers Unite

The Washington Post has jettisoned Harold Meyerson, who has been the leftest of the leftists on the Washington Post op-ed pages for about 13 years…not surprising, as he also serves as editor at large for The American Prospect. Mayerson, according to his last column, was told that he was a goner because he was losing readers and because his columns were repetitious, which they certainly were. How many times, after all, can one read “Workers Unite!”?  From Occupy Wall Street to BlackLivesMatter, there was no revolt of the oppressed and downtrodden that Meyerson didn’t support, nor any standard issue socialist/progressive position that he did not wholeheartedly embrace.

The Post has other kneejerk leftists among their pundits, a disproportionate number in fact (this was also part of the Post’s motivation to let Meyerson go), but I found Meyerson more infuriating than the others because he seemed so much more intelligent than his positions and statements would suggest. He was the epitome of an opinion journalist whose opinions seemed to be calibrated to achieve a grander agenda, rather than honest expressions of truth or even what he really believed. He is a columnist in the Saul Alinsky tradition of liberalism, willing to bend truth for the greater good, to win converts for the Great Worker Rebellion, or whatever it would be.

No newspaper should employ a journalist who is willing to deceive its readers, even on the pretense of saving the world.

I had a personal experience involving Meyerson’s perspective and ethics early in his Post tenure. I had found him to be a stimulating advocate of a progressive perspective, but was annoyed by a column he wrote condemning the impending invasion of Iraq by arguing that never before had the U.S. engaged in “a war of choice.” This was a popular refrain among the antiwar forces, and, of course, it was nonsense. Those using the argument were either ignorant of U.S. history or lying. (It still rankles me to hear critics of the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq cite the hyping of the WMD’s threat, a tactic that was developed to counter outright lies designed to prompt the public to oppose the war for invalid reasons—and today’s critics are often the same people whose irresponsible rhetoric sure that an honest, objective public debate about the wisdom of the invasion would be impossible.)

I was so disappointed in Meyerson’s column that I e-mailed him about it,  explaining war by war how almost all U.S. wars were “wars of choice,” and telling him that I found it difficult to believe, since he obviously was astute and informed, that he didn’t know that. He wrote back to me almost immediately, and confessed in a candid and friendly note. Yes, he said, I was of course right, and he knew that most U.S. wars had been entered into by the U.S. according to its own calculations of its best interests, and not that because it “had no choice.” But, Meyerson explained, that argument, though factually false,  was still a powerful one for building opposition to the Iraq invasion, so he felt he was justified in using it.

In other words, “the ends justify the means,” and “by any means necessary.”

I lost respect for Meyerson after that, and no longer trusted him. I seldom read his columns, which I regarded thereafter not as genuine opinions and analysis, but socialist propaganda. Take note of those who now bemoan Meyerson’s exit. They endorse his ethics, or lack of them. One such mourner is Bernie Sanders.

The Post should have fired Meyerson long ago.

10 thoughts on “The Washington Post Drops Its Resident Op-Ed Socialist. Good.

  1. The Washington Post has died in the Virginia, DC and Maryland area. My condo has 20 units on my floor. About a dozen of them used to have it in front of their doors and now there are two! Whatever op-ed writers they have are only being read by their editors and the very few subscribers….much like the New York Times.
    The WMD issue in Iraq is something that needs only a little research to find them. The Russians flew many of them back to Russian and the Iraqis trucked the rest to Syria. Where do you think Assad got his chemical weapons?

    • Twelve down to two (in Mr. Daniels’ building) is about what the trend is for paper subscriptions running out, and free internet use taking over. In the short run, probably, the metro papers will all go behind the paywall while smaller ones hold out for local advertisers, but for now there is a steady drop in print and a rise in online subscriptions, with a (temporary) small increase in access to both. All news media — newspapers, television and radio — are losing ground to the fragmentation of the internet universe as it “narrowcasts” to further and further special interests. The long run is not a pleasant prospect.

      In the meantime, the born-to-the-web generation has been raised on free news, as have a majority of the current readers who lost their home-delivered (now less than 400) newspapers.

      My concern is that perception of news is probably down about the same (12:2) — the smaller the screen, the poorer the perception. Internet pages are awash with advertisements up and down the sides and through the middles, flashing and flickering, sounding out automatically (this is fairly recent distraction and, I think, a true impingement on privacy), not to mention the seductive invitations between paragraphs to links that frequently cut into the text itself.

      In a medium where the whole story could be presented as such on one “page,” it is cut into pieces and continued-on other screens, each of which takes more and more time to load its own load of ads. More incentive for those not desperately hooked to the story to check out one of the links or the next site down the line instead of getting all the information saved for more advertising. Click.

      I have been troubled about polarizing politics for the brief past century. Added to that, the past decade’s increased racial partitioning along (totally unrealistic) lines. Internet use is in large part responsible for both — okay, so is the declining level of education and worsening PC rigidity for at least the last four decades, and for other factors I’m forgetting to take into consideration right now, — but the web is where the now-and-future entangling takes place.

      Columnists at both ends of the spectrum, as ill as those off into their unsupported opinions, can now go elsewhere with impunity from paywall censorship (happily, the American Prospect only print/digitizes quarterly). I am seeing an endless, thinner-sliced variety of choices online, each of which takes time to peruse, that is seducing the paid subscribers, if not from their primary pay-per-views, from searching for and validating other news sources worth the time and/or money.

      The born-to-the-web generation knows how to surf, how to ignore the news behind paywalls because there are so many other sources out there … eenie meenie… without a reason to validate any of them. How many news bloggers have on-street or investigative reporters working for them, or have journalism experience or background, or who know a thing about what they’re writing about? How many can generate questions that will be responded to by major newsmakers? How many are cribbing from other generalized, reputable, paid-for sources, and if so, what can we expect will happen to “news” when those news sources inevitably dry up?

      [And what will happen to ethics when they go?]

    • Twelve down to two (in Mr. Daniel’s building) is about what the trend is for paper subscriptions running out, and free internet use taking over. In the short run, probably, the metro papers will all go behind the paywall while smaller ones hold out for local advertisers, but for now there is a steady drop in print and a rise in online subscriptions, with a (temporary) small increase in access to both. All news media — newspapers, television and radio — are losing ground to the fragmentation of the internet universe as it “narrowcasts” to further and further special interests. The long run is not a pleasant prospect.

      In the meantime, the born-to-the-web generation has been raised on free news, as have a majority of the current readers who lost their home-delivered (now less than 400) newspapers.

      My concern is that perception of news is probably down about the same (12:2) — the smaller the screen, the poorer the perception. Internet pages are awash with advertisements up and down the sides and through the middles, flashing and flickering, sounding out automatically (this is fairly recent distraction and, I think, a true impingement on privacy), not to mention the seductive invitations between paragraphs to links that frequently cut into the text itself.

      In a medium where the whole story could be presented as such on one “page,” it is cut into pieces and continued-on other screens, each of which takes more and more time to load its own load of ads. More incentive for those not desperately hooked to the story to check out one of the links or the next site down the line instead of getting all the information saved for more advertising. Click.

      Columnists at both ends of the spectrum, as ill as those tweeting and posting their unsupported opinions, can now go elsewhere with impunity from paywall censorship (happily, the American Prospect only print/digitizes quarterly) but I am seeing an endless, thinner-sliced variety of choices online, each of which takes time to peruse, that is seducing the paid subscribers, if not from their primary pay-per-views, from searching for and validating the news sources worth the time and/or money.

      Web use is in large part responsible for increasingly polarized politics, worsening PC rigidity, and racial partitioning by fracturing complex interactions and ideologies into simple-minded bits that draw the lazy thinkers, the poorly or badly educated, the insecure or sidelined, the prejudiced, the disengaged, and the disaffected — particularly the young who think they are seeking truth but are actually looking for a leader, any leader going anywhere. The internet is where the now-and-future news is broken up for their easy digestion. The born-to-the-web generation, too, knows how to surf, how to ignore the news that lies behind paywalls — there are so many other so-called free sources out there to choose among … eenie meenie… without reason to validate any of them. If in fact they knew where to find validation. Which headline should they believe?

      How many news bloggers have real or real-time sources? Have on-street or investigative reporters working for them? Have journalism experience or background? Have deep knowledge (or any) about what they’re writing about? How many can generate questions that will be responded to by major newsmakers? How many can thrive with honesty and objectivity and … ethics? How many are cribbing from other generalized, reputable, paid-for sources, and if so, what can we expect will happen to “news” when those news sources inevitably dry up?

      [And what will happen to ethics when they go?]

        • Thanks. High praise considering the source. It is COD and I’m proud of it — but can’t seem to get a handle on posting and that’s embarrassing. Sometimes it doesn’t take right away, not for hours, so I go back and try again … and then find that the first one has dropped into place (with a sneer on its face because it has the original time on it!).

  2. Michael Moore is pretty good at doing the same sort of thing as Meyerson; and I think he got an academy award for it!

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