We are all David Frum now

There are those who say that I should not compare the Kaplan ombudsman to a battered spouse:

The Post wasn’t looking for someone neutral when it chose David Frum to review a new book on conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. And that has raised the question of whether Frum was too biased to be fair.

So there we have it: a bogus Breitbart story about Kaplan is worthy of an ombudsman column on teh librul bias, news that the story was bogus is not worthy of mention, news that Limbaugh fans’ fee-fees were hurt by a mean review is worthy of an ombudsman blog entry.

In a few weeks we can expect Andy Alexander to address complaints that the Post was unfair to the good people who work at BP.

42 replies
  1. 1
    slag says:

    Wait a second. David Frum is an example of liberal media bias? There are no words.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    Had the daily test prep asked Senator Franken to review it, I would have bought five copies.

  3. 3
    MikeJ says:

    @MikeJ: five copies of the review that is, still none of the gasbag’s book.

  4. 4
    slag says:

    @MikeJ: And sent Senator Franken a generous campaign donation.

  5. 5
    Upper West says:

    Personally, I would have had Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow review it.

  6. 6
    Lev says:

    I think the problem with the media is that there are too many nice people in it, and not enough proud assholes.

    Think about it. How many DC journalists these days pride themselves on being tough interviews that pointed questions? No, everyone’s a nice guy, like David Gregory. I never thought I’d miss Tim Russert, but at the very least he seemed to derive some pleasure from making people squirm (even if most of his questions were worthless gotcha nonsense). And he was extremely popular because of it! Everyone knew who he was. I’d be surprised if 15% of the public had ever heard of David Gregory.

    So, media, please: hire more assholes. It’s better for you and better for us.

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m sure next week’s column will focus on the bias reflected in the head of the American Entreprise Istitute being given the space of four virtual pages to explain how to fix the economy.

  8. 8
    Delia says:

    Surely the ombudsman could find some stray ditto head off the street and then he and Frum could, you know, debate the controversy of whether Rush is a big fat idiot or not.

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    From the article, Tim Graham of Newsbusters:

    .. David Frum, the Republican establishment’s leading Rush-hater.

    Um, Tim, Rush Limbaugh pretty much is the Republican establishment, whence David Frum was driven for criticizing Rush and his ilk.

  10. 10
    Brandon says:

    I don’t think DougJ is getting it. By getting accused of liberal bias for allowing a conservative to review a 200 page exposé about another conservative, the Post is now getting criticism from both sides. The rule in the Village goes that if you have gone so far to the right that you have alienated moderates and liberals, but you get criticism from conservatives too, it just shows that you’re doing something right. What more proof of objective journalism do you need?

  11. 11
    Comrade Jake says:


    I think the problem with the media is that there are too many spineless douchebags.

    Fixed that for you.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    I cannot get over the fact that Bush’s former speech writer, the arch-neocon David Frum, is now considered a DFH by his fellow conservatives. They are certifiable.

  13. 13
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Surely with such insightful reporting, editing and hiring WaPo will not go the way of the Washington Times.


  14. 14

    To make up for this the Post will run a multi-part series titled: Sit or Stand? about how Kagan pees and institute a regular feature that explores the Obama/Hitler connection.

  15. 15
    Chris says:

    You know how the right got that kind of love from the ostensibly non-partisan, neutral, reader’s advocates of the media?

    By bitching about liberals, liberals, liberals, and the media, the media, the media. If we want to hope to get anything close to fairness, much less the kind of ritual ass-kissing that the media frequently provides, we can’t just vent on our own comment sections; we have to write letters to these people, call them out, and tell them we’re dropping subscriptions and bitching to their advertisers and… (hell, I don’t know, what else do the wingers do that gets them the kid-glove treatment from people whose jobs allegedly include giving a shit about facts and logic and decency?).

  16. 16
    jl says:

    I don’t think this major newspaper ombudsman, or ombudsperson, thing is working out. They are put into the position of writing nonsensical temporizing wishy washy boilerplate so often that they lose credibility faster than WH press secretaries. A few years ago I didn’t think such a thing would be possible, but here we are.

    I would think an ombudsperson would welcome the chance to call out idiotic public complaints what they are, idiotic, whenever given the chance.

    But what I’ve seen so far, when the public complaints are justified, the ombudsperson’s job seem to be to dismiss them and cover for the paper.

    When the public complaints are idiotic, the ombudsperson seems to have to put themsleves through a public humilation ritual and take them seriously.

  17. 17
    Chris says:

    The contact email is ombudsman@washpost.com, by the way.

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    what I want to know is: what color are you going to put on the background of the site? What color is “Frum color?”


  19. 19
    Upper West says:


    You’re right — look at Sunday’s NYT Public Editor whitewash of the Times hit job on Blumenthal.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    @beltane: He committed the singular unconscionable sin. No one criticizes El Rushbo!

  21. 21
    de stijl says:

    Shall I compare thee to a battered lay?
    Thou art more lowly and more cravenous:
    Rough winds do shake the puling ombuds of Lame

  22. 22
    Chris says:

    In all fairness, being an ombudsman at the Post does have a bunch of built-in rules: you’re not allowed to fact-check George Will, the op-ed page can’t hire Dubya’s ex-speechwriters fast enough (we needed to get the input of both Gerson *and* Thiessen? Really?), and one of the recent Pulitzer-winning columnists was caught lamenting how Elena Kagan’s being Jewish makes her hard for real Americans to understand.

  23. 23
    Violet says:

    a bogus Breitbart story

    Is there any other kind, really?

    In other news, I heard a snippet of Hannity’s radio show in the car today. Turned on the radio right as he said, “Is Obama guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors? We’ll be looking into that in depth on tonight’s show.” Is the move to impeach Obama starting in earnest?

  24. 24
    Zifnab says:


    But what I’ve seen so far, when the public complaints are justified, the ombudsperson’s job seem to be to dismiss them and cover for the paper.

    When the public complaints are justified, it’s because the paper was shilling for a major corporation or crony political ally. Those critics can fuck off.

    When the public complaints are idiotic, the ombudsperson seems to have to put themsleves through a public humilation ritual and take them seriously.

    When the public complaints are idiotic, it’s because the paper was failing to properly pander to the 23%ers.

  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: I’m betting this is related to the Stesak job offer non-story, which from what I understand he walked back today. That will of course get ignored while Hannity et al enjoy their chance to get the darkie usurper out of the White House. In other words it will go nowhere even if the Republicans get control of Congress. I am not above giving them a chance to dream however.

  26. 26
    Zifnab says:

    @Violet: As of January 9th, 2009.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    If they had wanted a fair review, they would have gotten Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, or, even better, Rush Limbaugh himself. This would have been unbiased.

  28. 28
    Yutsano says:

    @El Cid: Only Rush himself can testify to the greatness that is Rush. All else is mere background noise.

  29. 29
    Brandon says:

    @MikeBoyScout: The difference between the two is that the Washington Times was being subsidized by a cult leader with high political connections who makes his money through recruiting followers to sell flowers by preying on the insecurities of people regarding their life’s purpose. The Washington Post on the other hand is being subsidized by a company run by a family with political connections that makes its money by preying on the insecurities of parents regarding their children’s future. Oh wait…. not much difference there. Except, the Post shows its true Republican Grifter™ credentials by also fleecing young people and straddling them with a lifetime of debt, as well as the tax payers through the student loan/financial aid system. The Washington Times is dead because they did not/could not adapt to our new Republican Grifter™ based economy.

  30. 30
    BR says:

    OT: Another BP oil spill, this time on their Alaska pipeline, which was partially shut down today in response to it:


    The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, partly owned by BP, shut down on Tuesday after spilling several thousand barrels of crude oil into backup containers, drastically cutting supply down the main artery between refineries and Alaska’s oilfields. The accident comes at a difficult time for BP — the largest single owner of the pipeline operator, holding 47 percent — as it struggles to plug a gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well.

    Not an environmental catastrophe like Deepwater Horizon, but another sign that they don’t have their safety up to par.

  31. 31
    Chris says:

    Brandon (@29), it’s a little disturbing that the Washington Post was better able to adapt to the new kleptocracy than the Washington Times was.

    Or maybe the Times just figured they’d passed the torch to a worthy heir.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    Also off topic, but here is another amazing story, just as unexpected and stunning as a major newspaper ombudsperson writing weird stuff:

    McCain says 1,200 troops on border are not enough
    Associated Press
    Posted on May 25, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    “McCain says 6,000 are needed.”


  33. 33
    Brandon says:

    @Chris: Considering that Robin Givhan, author of such wondering hits as “look at Hillary’s tits” and “I think Kagan’s a frumpy dyke”, also won a Pulizter, that prize has about as much credibility and relevance as Stephen Baldwin.

    @Chris: Actually to the contrary, it shows the marvels of innovation in a free fleece the rubes-market economy. The Times got lazy with their Grift, the Post were just trying to catch up.

  34. 34
    gbear says:


    …another sign that they don’t have their safety up to par shit together in any way, shape or form.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Mike in NC says:

    The only reasonable response is to give Limbaugh a daily column on the Op Ed page.

  37. 37
    de stijl says:


    I wished I’d used “dame” instead of “lay.” Sonnetizing is hard work.

  38. 38
    Steve says:

    @jl: “Double the border patrol. Sounds good, sounds tough. Why not triple it? Why not triple it, Senator?” –Matt Santos

  39. 39
    Quiddity says:

    The Post should not have printed David Frum’s critical review.

    It should have printed a positive review written by a 13-year old.

  40. 40
    Onkel Bob says:

    A minor scientific journal you may have heard of, Nature, has a similar policy. The editors go out of their way to find a reviewer of equal intellectual heft who holds an opposing viewpoint to review a book. Not so much for the controversy, but to engage the reader and community by providing critical analysis in all matters.

  41. 41
    Jose Padilla says:

    Shorter Washington Post: We thought David Frum was a reliable conservative who would give Rush a rimjob, but we were wrong.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    Brandon — I should’ve made my sarcasm more obvious in referring to the Pulitzers; I’d meant to illustrate what an absurd sense of itself the establishment media has.

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