1/19/2006

Daily Kos: Readers Tell Ombudsman To Do Her Job, Washington Post Responds By Shutting Down Blog Comments

..Howell penned a column "Getting the Story on Jack Abramoff" where she lauded ..Susan Schmidt, [who wrote] the following statement: "he had made substantial campaign contributions to both ..parties" .. when readers challenge her.. how does the WaPo respond? By shutting down its blog comments completely.. So now we see the WaPo embracing Bush's policy--when you're confronted with the facts, ignore them, silence the truth-speaker, and play the victim.


Readers Tell Ombudsman To Do Her Job, Washington Post Responds By Shutting Down Blog Comments
by georgia10
Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 02:54:43 PM PDT

Deborah Howell, ombudsman at The Washington Post, needs to brush up on what exactly an ombudsman is supposed to do. See, an ombudsman is supposed t to correct factual errors, not condone them. An ombudsman is supposed to reply to reader's concerns, not ignore them.

Yet in the span of a week, Howell has done just that. On January 15th, Howell penned a column "Getting the Story on Jack Abramoff" where she lauded the reporting of Susan Schmidt, including the following statement:

Schmidt quickly found that Abramoff was getting 10 to 20 times as much from Indian tribes as they had paid other lobbyists. And he had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties.

(You can read Califlander's diary on the subject here). Instead of correcting the GOP talking point that Abramoff made contributions to Democrats, Howell gleefully reinforced it.

Readers rightfully assailed Howell for condoning Schmidt's GOP stenography skills rather than calling her out on her egregious factual error. Howell's column received over 700 comments, which, according to the Post, overloaded the system.

Instead of responding appropriately to the reader's concerns, Howell dug her heels in, insisting that the scandal was indeed bipartisan because Abramoff "directed" tribe contributions to both parties. Did she provide any evidence that Democrats were aware that Abramoff directed these contributions? Of course not. Because Howell does not concern herself with facts.

What she does concern herself with is giving a green light to factual inaccuracies at the Post. And when readers challenge her to, I don't know, do her fucking job, how does the Washington Post respond? By shutting down its blog comments completely..

Readers spent countless hours writing those comments, many of which were carefully researched and debunked Howell's claims. So now we see the WaPo embracing Bush's policy--when you're confronted with the facts, ignore them, silence the truth-speaker, and play the victim.
Daily Kos: Readers Tell Ombudsman To Do Her Job, Washington Post Responds By Shutting Down Blog Comments

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