The ethical quote:
These words are on the outside wall of the Museum of Natural History near the Teddy Roosevelt statue that will be coming down, according to the museum.
The quote is a far better memorial to Roosevelt and his character than the statue.
The fair quote:
The question is how soon this will dawn on the groveling, and how soon the intimidated will have the courage to speak the truth.
The unethical quote:
The Washington Post issued a justification for its widely (and correctly) criticized 3000 word story about a politically incorrect costume that a woman wore at the Halloween party of Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles two years ago. Because two vicious social justice Furies who were guests at the party decided that the current George Floyd Freakout presented an opportunity to humiliate the woman and contacted the paper, it published 3000 words about an old, private incident, resulting in the woman losing her job, and Toles, who had refused to identify her when one of the vengeful and self-righteous women called him to re-open the episode, was embarrassed by his own employer.
“Employees of The Washington Post, including a prominent host, were involved in this incident, which impelled us to tell the story ourselves thoroughly and accurately while allowing all involved to have their say. The piece conveys with nuance and sensitivity the complex, emotionally fraught circumstances that unfolded at the party attended by media figures only two years ago where an individual in blackface was not told promptly to leave. America’s grappling with racism has entered a phase in which people who once felt they should keep quiet are now raising their voices in public. The story is a microcosm of what the country is going through right now,”
A simple “We’re sorry, we screwed up, the story never should have been written and we don’t know what came over us and we pledge to be more responsible and to exercise better judgment in the future” might have salvaged a smidgen of the paper’s rotting reputation. Instead we have more evidence of just how unethical and untrustworthy this rag is:
- So trivial, private events from years ago are magically turned into news because a Post employee happened to be involved? That’s ridiculous.
- A non-story that gratuitously harms innocent parties does not become a valid story just because “all involved had their say.” The two women who were dredging up the incident didn’t deserve to have their say in a national paper after waiting nearly two years, and the people they targeted with the Post’s assistance shouldn’t have had to say anything.
- “The piece conveys with nuance and sensitivity” a story that required no nuance because it was old and unimportant and that it was wildly insensitive to report at all.
- “Complex, emotionally fraught circumstances” unfold in every bedroom, at every dinner table, in living rooms and home offices across the nation with regularity. That doesn’t make them news or ethical to report them as such.
- Let me pause a second to exclaim, “What an outrageous statement this is!”
- “Only” two years ago? Does the Post know what “news” means?
- Who is the Post to decide when a host is obligated to make a guest leave a party? What imaginary rule is the Post asserting? I wouldn’t kick a friend out of my party for wearing a controversial costume, including a Megyn Kelly-mocking costume involving blackface, in 2018 or now. And if I didn’t, I could not be justifiably attacked by the Washington Post. I might point out that some guests might be especially sensitive to the outfit and that it was inconsiderate; I might suggest she take off the costume; I might make an announcement regarding what the satirical point of the costume was. Whatever I decided to do, it would not be news, and would be none of the Washington Post’s damn business.
- “America’s grappling with racism has entered a phase in which people who once felt they should keep quiet are now raising their voices in public.” And, with the Pot’s irresponsible assistance, raising their voices in public over private and personal affronts that should not be raised in public, in order to gain power and publicity. That phase is called “opportunism.”
- “The story is a microcosm of what the country is going through right now.” Well, the Post’s publishing a story to shame and intimidate people who have done nothing so wrong that it earned such an extreme response is definitely a microcosm of what the country is going through right now.