The above tweet was posted two days ago by Karen Attiah, the Washington Post global opinions editor. After it was immediately and legitimately attacked for what it was—yes, this is res ipsa loquitur— she took it down, but not before her position had been captured in hundreds of screenshots like the one above. Later she tweeted, “Non, je ne regrette rien,” French for “No, I do not regret anything.” (Apparently Attiah believes the foes of unethical journalism are too primitive and uneducated to understand French, or too dim to use an online translator.)
The Washington Post should have given her reason to regret, but it hasn’t, and unless its readers and media critics force the paper to act, it won’t. Since the deleted tweet, the Post has refused to comment on its editor’s outburst, and other than her snotty Gallic tweet of defiance, so has Attiah.
The publication’s policies and standards unequivocally state that Post journalists “must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything – including photographs or video – that could objectively be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism.” All this tells us is that the Post, like virtually all of its news media colleagues, doesn’t follow or enforce its published standards, like, just to pull a random example out of the air, ethics codes. Attiah’s deleted tweet is unquestionably and openly racist, as well as hateful and threatening. Obviously, the Post doesn’t think its readers notice, or care, and obviously Atttiah feels comfortable tweeting such bile, because she knows the culture of her own workplace.
If the profession had any credibility or integrity (I know I’ve been starting a lot of sentences this way lately, but that’s not my fault), the fact that a Washington Post editor issued a flat out racist tweet about “white women” would itself be news, and the Post would have to deal with it.
There’s more: Twitter, which has been taking down or slapping warning labels on tweets by conservatives—and President Trump–the platform subjectively ruled as uncivil or false, didn’t raise a peep over the Post editor’s ‘white women are lucky we don’t come after them’ tweet. Why is that, I wonder? (It’s a rhetorical question.)
That major news organizations hire and support bigots like Attiah and Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead essayist on New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project” who once called “the white race” “the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world” is indisputable evidence of the deep, ugly, radical and destructive bias not only tolerated by the progressive mainstream media, but nurtured by it.
Thus it is notable that in the Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Grueskin criticizes new Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for using White House briefings to inflict “unsolicited but carefully researched and rehearsed critiques of news coverage writ large.” He complains that she “tries to undermine the press” rather than cooperating with their honest and professional efforts to get information—you know, like the question yesterday asking whether President Trump thinks it was a good thing the North won the Civil War.
The professional media scholar seem to have missed it somehow, but the news media has undermined itself, though ivory tower apologists like Grueskin have managed for far too long to hide American journalism’s rot from the public using the thick fog of myth. McEnany treats the news media as adversaries because they are adversaries, and because, as the Attiah episode demonstrates, the news organizations don’t even make the pretense of operating by their own standard. It is entirely appropriate and responsible for the Administration’s spokesperson to expose their bias and hypocrisy to public scrutiny at every opportunity.
Meanwhile, I’ll take the Columbia Journalism Review seriously when it criticizes the Post for keeping on an unapologetic racist as editor.