They Never Learn

Maybe because there is no story:

Thursday’s Post reported about a growing controversy over the Justice Department’s decision to scale down a voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party. The story succinctly summarized the issues but left many readers with a question: What took you so long?

For months, readers have contacted the ombudsman wondering why The Post hasn’t been covering the case. The calls increased recently after competitors such as the New York Times and the Associated Press wrote stories. Fox News and right-wing bloggers have been pumping the story. Liberal bloggers have countered, accusing them of trying to manufacture a scandal.

But The Post has been virtually silent.

***

To be sure, ideology and party politics are at play. Liberal bloggers have accused Adams of being a right-wing activist (he insisted to me Friday that his sole motivation is applying civil rights laws in a race-neutral way). Conservatives appointed during the Bush administration control a majority of the civil rights commission’s board. And Fox News has used interviews with Adams to push the story. Sarah Palin has weighed in via Twitter, urging followers to watch Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s coverage because “her revelations leave Left steaming.”

The Post should never base coverage decisions on ideology, nor should it feel obligated to order stories simply because of blogosphere chatter from the right or the left.

But in this case, coverage is justified because it’s a controversy that screams for clarity that The Post should provide. If Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his department are not colorblind in enforcing civil rights laws, they should be nailed. If the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation is purely partisan, that should be revealed. If Adams is pursuing a right-wing agenda, he should be exposed.

And if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

The WaPo ombudsman is now flailing the WaPo for not covering a non-existent story because wingnuts are upset. What if Joe Biden is a predator who sneaks out at night to rape children? WHY IS THE WAPO NOT COVERING THAT STORY, ANDREW ALEXANDER?

Also, ACORN! PIMP!

*** Update ***

Great piece by Joan Walsh.

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47 replies
  1. 1
    salacious crumb says:

    also, 9/11!!

  2. 2
    Tecumseh says:

    Good to see the Post suddenly care about the politicization of the Justice Department, especially in light of Civil Rights issues.

  3. 3
    JCT says:

    Certainly wouldn’t those pesky fact “things” to get in the way of a good manufactured story.

    And you betcha, what a surprise that moron Megyn Kelly is the quitter former governor’s idea of a thoughtful journalist. Between the two of them there’s barely one synapse that fires in synchrony.

    The stupidity really is awe-inspiring.

  4. 4
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Abigail Thernstrom went on record twenty-four hours ago saying that Adams and his allies are, in fact, pursuing a right wing agenda

    My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” Thernstrom said in an interview with POLITICO.

    I don’t think she could have been much more explicit. And the Post can’t find time or space for that? It’s not like the typesetters went to work last night on the Sunday edition. Jesus Christ, what a fucking clown car Donnie Graham has turned Mummy’s paper into.

  5. 5
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    And if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

    And if her name was Bob….then Bob’s yer uncle!

  6. 6
    Hunter Gathers says:

    The WaPo ombudsman should be tossed into a sack, which should be thrown into a river, and then the river should be hurled into space.

    Conservatives will not stop until they get their race war.

  7. 7
    frogspawn says:

    coverage is justified because it’s a controversy that screams for clarity

    Nothing. Fucking. Happened.

    Alles klar, Herr Kommisar?

  8. 8
    Ash Can says:

    Hey, I have no problem with the WaPo revealing the pure partisanship of the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation or exposing Adams’ right-wing agenda. In fact, I wish the WaPo would do this. It’d be fucking great.

  9. 9
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Jesus Christ, what a fucking clown car Donnie Graham has turned Mummy’s paper into.

    Forget ‘turned’. Company paper in a one-industry town, always. The reason they made All the President’s Men into a movie is because that was a man-bites-dog story.

    However, for the animal-enthusiasts out there, it is worth pointing out that no horse’s heads were necessary to get the Post to play nice…

  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    If the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation is purely partisan, that should be revealed. If Adams is pursuing a right-wing agenda, he should be exposed.

    And what happens when the Post reports that this is all a right wing smear job? And then they report that the ACORN non-story was a right wing smear job? And the next thing that comes along?

    After a while the ombud says “the Post calls everything a right wing smear job. They must be biased.”

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    Andrew Alexander quote: “Better late than never.”

    I think that’s the Post’s new motto. We could add “And sometimes we never get it at all.”

    You have to wonder how they found an ombudsman as obtuse as the late Deborah Howells, but they did.

    They’re going after the Fox and Washington Times demographic, at least with their online product.

    Check out the headlines they choose for the website’s offerings.

  12. 12

    The fact there was no story on the non story now becomes the story. More than one way to skin a libtard.

  13. 13
    lawnorder says:

    What have the New Black Panthers said that is so different than what Michelle Bachmann, Ton Tancredo, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, etc.. have said ? Did they forget to mention baseball bats and using blood to water trees ?

  14. 14
    flounder says:

    Meanwhile, do a search for the name John Ensign. If you were a reader of the Washington Post, you would never know the guy is under FBI investigation for paying a man whose wife Ensign had sex with $90,000 or so, and begging a bunch of his business friends to give the guy an (illegal) lobbying job.

  15. 15
    Janus Daniels says:

    Did WaPo ever report on the evidence that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990?
    http://glennbeckrapedandmurder.....n1990.com/
    was the official website on the question.
    Instead of even attempting to prove his innocence, Glenn Beck used our flawed justice system to attack the website, and it was shut down.
    The website did not support any of the accusations that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, or that Glenn Beck committed other rapes and murders, but admitted that Glenn Beck never offered evidence to suggest his possible innocence.
    http://www.google.com/search?h.....8;gs_rfai=

  16. 16
    salacious crumb says:

    if the Tea party consisted entirely of angry gun totin black people raging against the govt, would they ever get away with it?

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    And what happens when the Post reports that this is all a right wing smear job?

    I win the lottery, because the laws of probability will have been suspended.

  18. 18
    jurassicpork says:

    I thought Liz Howell died earlier this year. Did someone resurrect her? Is this the start of Zombieland?

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    (he insisted to me Friday that his sole motivation is applying civil rights laws in a race-neutral way)

    That settles it.

    Jesus, Politico thinks this story is bullshit.

  20. 20
    Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos says:

    Screams For Clarity would be a great band name.

  21. 21
    Elizabelle says:

    We can laugh, but it’s really sad what Donald Graham and his crew have done to that paper.

    He probably puts roses at his mother’s grave, and pisses away her newspaper’s credibility, day after day after day. He destroys what she helped to build.

  22. 22
    Dennis G. says:

    The current WaPo ombudsman is a fool.

    Also, too, he seems to think his job is to take up for wingnuts regardless of the impact of good journalism and WaPo readers. Somebody should let him know that the folks promoting racist memes like the New BP story are not WaPo readers. They do like to fuck with the paper and Alexander is proving that he really likes it when they do. He is a submissive wanker.

    I see a show on the new CNN in his future…

  23. 23
    Jim Newell says:

    All whites deserve reparations for this. A 99% cap gains tax cut will suffice.

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    Tried scrolling through some of the reader comments on Alexander piece, but they’re just too ugly and agry.

    They are from the type of reader that the Washington Post now tries to attract. They’re going for rightwing and Christianist.

  25. 25
    Regular Reader says:

    Hey, with a little luck, maybe this will be like the Climategate and ACORN “scandals.” As in, the Post and other major media outlets will go along with the right wing attacks, cause innocent people to be punished, later realize the attacks were completely unfounded and factually wrong, and then….do absolutely nothing in retrospect.

  26. 26
    slag says:

    Vince Foster, Whitewater, and haircuts, also, too!

  27. 27
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Why are news reporters so a-skeered of getting emails from whackadoodles? Just laugh it off. Christ. I just don’t understand why they _care_ so much.

  28. 28
    Davis X. Machina says:

    They are from the type of reader that the Washington Post now tries to attract. They’re going for rightwing and Christianist

    That’s the demographic they’ve always played to — the Court-Circular, Sally-Quinn stuff is all a tack-on.

    The Post was, is, always will be written for some guy in a white short-sleeve shirt in Beltsville — and remembers when it was white — who’s an engineer for Martin Marietta, or a chemist at the Ag department, with a degree from Enormous State University, who thinks the world’s all going to hell, and who hasn’t go into the District except for work since they closed Woodies’. He’s used to turning first to Novak, then Tom Boswell — probably the reverse.

    A beltway Hank Hill. Hence the hippie punching.

    And with dead-tree papers being prepped for the trip to the hospice, this’ll get worse, not better.

  29. 29
    baldheadeddork says:

    And if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

    John Cole…clone?

  30. 30
    Kryptik says:

    And the depressing thing is that they’ll keep doing this as long as they think it’ll make them ‘balanced’ enough to be taken seriously by Conservatives. Which will never happen since the WaPo has become a benchmark for what’s liberal, thus if WaPo likes it, it must obviously means it’s not conservative enough.

    Fucking morons.

  31. 31
    Cacti says:

    @salacious crumb:

    if the Tea party consisted entirely of angry gun totin black people raging against the govt, would they ever get away with it?

    If this was the case, the Alien and Sedition Acts would be revived.

  32. 32
    Shalimar says:

    @Jim Newell: 99% would be like raping all rich white males and then turning them into government slaves. It takes a full 100%, plus a 5% bonus on their investment gains to compensate for the discrimination suffered in our society by those who manage their own trust funds instead of working so-called “regular” jobs.

  33. 33
    gbear says:

    The local paper ran a story about how Bush appointee (vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) Abigail Thernstrom came out as saying that this story is bullshit.

    “This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the (Obama) administration,” said Thernstrom, who said members of the commission voiced their political aims “in the initial discussions” of the Panther case last year. “My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” Thernstrom said in an interview with Politico.

    The comment section just exploded with conspiracy theories about how Obama has her under his thumb and how this shows what racist scum Obama’s administration is. Nobody gives any evidence of having read the story, they’re just spewing toxic Fox News crap everywhere (see if you can guess which two comments were mine)

    It really pisses me off that this kind of bullshit lie can turn into this big a shitstorm It seems like no amount of sunlight can kill it because the natives insist on maintaining ignorance.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    Great piece by Joan Walsh.

    Far too decorous. Walsh writes:

    But the right wing needs the thuggish but miniscule and derided NBBP to matter, and to tie the crazy group to our black president, in order to advance their narrative of lies about Obama’s “racism,” tyranny and illegitimacy to be president.

    Anyone who saw the Fox reporter go ballistic against another supposedly conservative commentator for not going along with this smear should realize that Rupert Murdoch and the other merchants of fear are not letting this go anytime soon. I expect it to come up again on at least one of the non-Fox Sunday pundit shows.

    The wingnuts have moved beyond questioning Obama’s legitimacy to be president. They now openly assert that Obama and Holder are are engaged in a criminal conspiracy to use the power of the federal government to get revenge against white people.

    It is interesting that this shit bubbles up as the Justice Department seeks to prevent Arizona from implementing their obnoxious immigration legislation.

    Meanwhile, I expect to see more Republican politicians deny that they believe any of this even as they repeat these lies to get maximum political leverage from them.

    This ain’t a Beltway cotillion anymore.

  35. 35
    Kryptik says:

    In all honesty guys, it’s bullshit like this that makes me question the confident assertion that Palin can’t win in 2012. Enough people in this country are either stupid or easily cowed enough by fixed, bullshit media talking pouts that only seem to hype up things that look bad for Democrats and Obama, that I’m wholly convinced that the vote could tilt her way. We’re in a perfect storm of bullshit that seems to just want to roll like an avalanche because media wants to promote what it knows are zombie lies, either because they’re blatantly fixed, or because it’s ‘fair and balanced’.

    Seriously, can anyone, anyone convince me that we’re not totally and irreparably fucked, after all that’s been seen?

  36. 36
    Martin says:

    @Kryptik:

    Seriously, can anyone, anyone convince me that we’re not totally and irreparably fucked, after all that’s been seen?

    Nah. There’s a visible and vocal segment that gets sucked in by this stuff, and they’re big enough to swing elections under very specific circumstances, but generally every vote that some shit like this generates is at least one vote lost by a more rational member of the party.

    Not that many people were actually hippies in the 60s, but they sure did capture the lasting impression of the era and in spite of their efforts to swing elections, they rarely did.

  37. 37
    Kryptik says:

    @Martin:

    Hippies never quite had the kind of vocal and impenetrable media support the teabaggers do, from what I remember. :/

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    @Kryptik: The Fox News media only reaches the wingnuts. They really don’t have the influence we think they do.

  39. 39
    Quiddity says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: To my mind that is the BIG story: Members of a federal commission, with a clear mandate, violating it in order to score political points against Holder and Obama.

    And you’re right, that the Post didn’t have time to mention it shows that they don’t give a damn about the whole thing – except to give a forum for lots of right-wing-noise.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    The Fox News media only reaches the wingnuts. They really don’t have the influence we think they do.

    Had the story remained only on Fox, I could see your point. But coverage of this false controversy has spread to Politico and the Washington Post.

    It seems like only yesterday, at the beginning of the presidential campaign, that friends assured me that the birther nonsense was so crazy that it would quickly fade away.

  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Brachiator: Agreed. Fox may have limited influence, but they, along with the rest of the right-wing, drive the Beltway narratives. Like with the “deficit”. It took them less than six months to turn the “deficit” into the most important factor in every political story, after it went all but unmentioned for eight years. People are convinced the “deficit” somehow caused the bad economy, and I’d be surprised if 35% of the country could tell you exactly what the word means in terms of the federal budget.

  42. 42
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator: Hate to break it to you, but WaPo is hardly removed from the Fox mission and Politico is only a few steps behind.

  43. 43
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    Hate to break it to you, but WaPo is hardly removed from the Fox mission and Politico is only a few steps behind.

    Let’s see, now. You originally wrote:

    The Fox News media only reaches the wingnuts. They really don’t have the influence we think they do.

    Are you now saying that WaPo and Politico only reach the wingnuts?

    I don’t see how you can simultaneously argue that this racism tinged craziness is marginal and self-contained but also that there are a number of media outlets dedicated to spreading the lies, but it’s still OK because only wingnuts ever gravitate to the craziness and believe it.

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    The Post should admit what’s obvious: they don’t have an ombudsman to improve their journalistic product; they have an “ombudsman” to make conservatives feel like someone at the paper represents their interests.

    Of course, the fact that the interests defended by Post ombudsmen include the freedom to lie about facts (Hello, George Will!) and the right of conservatives not to be covered by reporters who don’t agree wholeheartedly with the movement (Good-bye, Dave Weigel!) occasionally puts the ideals of the job at odds with the realities of the job in a rather embarrassing fashion. (Or, at least, I should say, a position that one expects would embarrass the Post, but as other aspects of the paper show – e.g., most of the op-ed columnists – seriously, Charles Krauthammer? – it might be beyond embarrassment.)

    Why they don’t just retitle the position, “Director of Conservative Constituent Services,” I don’t know. It’d be a lot more accurate, and it’d save them looking like idiots every time the ombudsman has to repeat the gripes of people who don’t want their newspaper to tell them anything they don’t already know and agree with.

  45. 45
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Are you now saying that WaPo and Politico only reach the wingnuts?

    Yes. That’s their market. I’m not saying others don’t read them, but I think WaPo is losing influence outside of the wingnuts. Politico has a broader reach, but they know what the paying market is as well. Have you even looked at the WaPo op-ed panel lately?

    I think people keep losing sight of the simple fact that these outfits are businesses, and just like Apple and Pottery Barn and Nintendo have their markets, so do media outlets. Because liberals/progressives have significantly embraced the web, the traditional media, like talk radio before them, are going after the paying market for traditional media – which is conservatives. Honestly, looking at these guys and wondering why the right owns the narrative is like looking at WalMart and wondering why they talk about low prices all the time. Traditional media is going to constantly run right because we don’t buy their papers, tune into their news programs, and buy products off of their networks.

    You want a more liberal narrative in the media, then liberals need to be customers of the media. That’s just the system we’ve got in place.

  46. 46
    Frank says:

    This is why having their own propaganda outlet, FoxNews, makes such a difference. The GOP can take a complete non-issue and make the MSM eventually treat it as a legitimate issue. And once again, the Dems are forced to waste time and defend themselves on a laughable matter.

  47. 47
    Eric says:

    If Alexander tells the truth (i.e. that this story is bullshit), all the wingers will cry, and the Post will fire him for hurting their fee fees.

    Honestly, in this economy, can you really blame Alexander for just doing what he needs to do to keep his job?

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