Friday, November 06, 2009

Pulsating diversity of views on the Washington Post Op-Ed page.

I was chastised on here a while back for daring to say that I thought The Washington Post was rather right wing, certainly by British standards. I was told this was an example of how little I understood American culture.

So, I was interested today to see Glenn Greenwald pick up on some of the opinions being expressed in today's Washington Post.

The Washington Post published a total of 8 Op-Eds and opinion columns today, from these individuals:

* Former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey (bashing Obama for wanting to try 9/11 defendants in an actual court)*

Neocon Charles Krauthammer (heralding the resurgent GOP fueled by "Obama's hubristic expansion of government, taxation, spending and debt")*

Newt Gingrich and GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Obama's health care plan would destroy America)*

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson (Obama has lost the American center and his health care plan will destroy Democrats)*

Conservative economist Martin Feldstein, former chief economic adviser to Reagan ("Obamacare" will raise premiums and increase the number of uninsured)*

Honduran coup defender Edward Schumacher-Matos (blaming Honduras' democratically elected President for "instigating mob rule" and criticizing both the American Right and Left for "extremism," while defending the administration-backed compromise)*

CEO of BP (British Petroluem) Tony Hayward (dismissing efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption as "simplistic" and advocating changes to cap-and-trade bill that would benefit BP)*

Liberal Eugene Robinson (warning of the takeover of the GOP by the intolerant, ideological Right)
So, to re-cap: The Post today has two former Bush officials, one former Reagan official, two right-wing politicians, a Fox News neocon, the CEO of America's largest oil and gas producer, a defender of the right-wing Honduran military coup leaders, and one liberal columnist. That overwhelming right-wing presence on the Post Op-Ed page is anything but unusual (the day after it fired Dan Froomkin, The Post published Paul Wolfowitz, Michael Hayden, Charles Krauthammer and an Iran-hawkish screed from David Ignatnius, preceded by Glenn Beck, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Ramesh Ponnuru). And that's to say nothing of the always-pro-war Editorial Page itself, which typically advocates for those same positions.
If The Guardian or The Independent started printing that amount of right wing tosh I'd stop reading them.

So much for the supposed American "Liberal media"....

And I feel quite vindicated in my assertion that The Washington Post didn't come across as very left wing to me. They might have done a very good job of investigating Watergate, but I can only judge it based on the kind if things I read in it nowadays.


daveawayfromhome said...

The myth of the "liberal media" is one of the Rights more successful Big Lies, backed up by the statistic that reporters lean to the left politically (and I would say that would be a requirement for anyone whose job it was to ask questions). However, as anyone who has a job knows, it doesnt matter much what the employee thinks if the boss has other views, and editors lean to the right.

As the media has been concentrated in fewer hands, it's become much more conservative (as one would expect, really).

Cecilieaux said...

As the castigator in question, and a regular reader of the WaPost the WaTimes and the NYTimes, allow me to clarify that

(a) the op-ed page of any major U.S. newspaper a few paid columnists, plus a whole bunch of folks who would disagree with the editorial board (op-ed, not ed);

(b) U.S. newspapers historically tended not to embrace a political "line" in their reporting, not their editorial or op-editorial pages;

(c) the WaPo has always been fairly middle-of-the-road, translated to the UK spectrum that is center-right, since in the USA we have no mainstream major left press (or even viable political parties) to speak of;

(d) the investigation of Watergate was not "left-wing" enterprise;

(e) among their peers (who are not in the UK) in Washington, the WaPo is "leftier" than the WaTimes, which isn't saying much since the WaTimes is run and funded by the Moonies;

(f) the NY Times is leftier than the WaPo, meaning that it not only is brainier, but it isn't constantly sucking up to the political elite to get a story.

If anyone gave you the impression the WaPo was like the Guardian, you either misunderstood or that person was smoking one of those funny-smelling hand-rolled cigarettes.

Kel said...

Thanks for that, Dave. I think you make a very valid point.

As the castigator in question....

Was it you, C? (I genuinely didn't remember that.)

I agree that the WaPo is more centrist than WaTimes but, as I think I stated at the time - and as you point out here - that's not saying much.

But I think you've hit the nail on the head C when you state that there is no official American left wing and that includes your political parties.

Thankfully, in this country, we still have newspapers - although since "New" Labour, sadly no electable political party - which I would regard as progressive. How do you stay sane over there surrounded by all of that?