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.