The Washington Post’s brigade of shamelessly ideological or just plain incompetent columnists has been out in force of late, placing me in a dilemma: if I write full posts calling all of them on their deceitful and irresponsible essays, I make Ethics Alarms look like Newsbusters, and if I don’t, only the angry, equally ideological columnists on “conservative media sites” will, and what they say doesn’t matter, because they’re all mean, lying “wingnuts,” don’t you know. So I’m going to let it pass that Kathleen Parker wrote yet another of her wishy-washy, hand-wringing protests against the fact that ethical decision-making requires policy makers to make tough choices, her craven proclamation that while it is true that some criminals deserve to die, she isn’t willing to accept her part in society’s obligation to see that they get what they deserve. I will note that either she or the Post scrubbed the online version of a sentence in the print version that actually said that explicitly, but never mind. Parker is still clear in her high-minded cowardice.
And I will restrain myself from awarding the Baghdad Bob Award to Eugene Robinson, who increasingly makes me wonder how much of a role affirmative action played in his Pulitzer Prize. He submitted a certifiably batty column proclaiming that the Obama administration has been a wonder to behold, that the economy is “fixed”, that the latest jobs and economic numbers were glorious, that Obamacare is an unequivocal success, and that the Democrats should declare that all is well, because it is. Meanwhile, just about every fact-based story in his own, relentlessly liberal newspaper rebutted his words. Robinson’s an opinion columnist: a point of view is necessary. Misleading readers ( “Critics have stopped talking about a hypothetical “death spiral” in which the health insurance reforms collapse of their own weight, since it is now clear that nothing of the sort will happen,” he wrote. I was able to find several such predictions from credible analysts written within the last two weeks, and I didn’t spend much time looking. Here’s one of them…) and partisan cheerleading, however, is unethical and unprofessional. The Pulitzer just isn’t what it used to be, I guess. Sort of like the Nobel Peace Prize.
I am going to take on Dana Milbank’s description of the Benghazi scandal as a “nothingberger”—Shouldn’t referring to a coordinated, news-media-assisted cover-up of intentional public deception by a President in the midst of a Presidential campaign as “nothing” (never mind that the incident at the heart of the deception involved the deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador) disqualify a columnist from regular publication by a respectable news source?—-but not today.
No, today the winner is Ruth Marcus, a member of the Post’s editorial staff whose column this week spun the new Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair piece as a boon to Hillary Clinton: Continue reading