Note to the Philadelphia Inquirer: please stop. Stop trying to justify hiring the thoroughly discredited John Yoo as an opinion writer.
As you may remember, we reported earlier about the Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel deputy’s new job with the Inquirer and the paper’s defense that they just wanted to combat criticism that they were a “knee-jerk liberal publication.” Over the weekend, Inquirer editorial page editor Harold Jackson decided to continue the defense of hiring Yoo, whose fringe legal reasoning justifying torture and unbridled White House power have caused a political uproar and have already been formally repudiated by Bush’s own administration.
Jackson starts off his article expressing his displeasure with the blogosphere:
Paris. Yes, the one in France.
That’s the farthest point from which The Inquirer received e-mails protesting our contract with John Yoo to write a monthly column, which mostly centers on legal topics.
The hundreds of e-mails received are a testament to the power of the blogosphere, and of its superiority to newspapers in getting the word out about, well, about anything.
But I’ll save my whining about the murky future of my preferred vehicle of employment for a later date.
Jackson seems a little confused, the e-mails are not about the blogosphere’s “superiority… in getting the word out,” they are about the outrage caused by the Inquirer giving John Yoo a job as a columnist.
He then goes on to “set the record straight” and explain that no one tried to hide the fact that John Yoo had been hired as a columnist. Newsflash, Harold: that’s not the source of the controversy. The controversy is that a once highly-regarded newspaper just hired and gave a soapbox to someone who effectively legalized torture in what Georgetown Law Professor David Luban called “an ethical train wreck” at last Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary hearing.
You can read Will Bunch’s response to Jackson’s article here. Bunch is the blogger to whom Jackson is referring when he says:
Unfortunately, most of the critics of our contract with Yoo have their facts wrong.
But that happens when your information comes from those bloggers who never let the facts get in the way when they’re trying to whip people into a frenzy to boost Web site hits.
It’s a shame that one blogger who disseminated poor information is actually a full-time journalist for a sister publication in The Inquirer building.
Stay classy, Harold.