Saturday, September 08, 2007

Horton Hatches An Intervention

Scott Horton, the learned lawyer who blogs for Harper's Magazine, wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, yesterday.

In the letter he extols the superb reporting of Wapo's Karen DeYoung and makes well-deserved glowing references to the superb reporting work of other WaPo prize-winning reporters, like Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, over the last five years.

About what to do about the Iraq disaster, he writes:
[I]f there is one question at the core, it goes to the accepted key metric: civilian casualties. Now you assigned this story to Karen DeYoung, one of your best, and yesterday she delivered a discussion and analysis that is nothing short of brilliant—easily the best piece that has appeared on the story so far. I read it once, and then went back to the beginning and read it again, compared it with several other pieces and pretty quickly concluded that this was definitive. The reporting is steady, comprehensive, and the analysis goes like a laserbeam through a stick of butter. This Karen DeYoung is one hell of a reporter, already holds one Pulitzer and is certainly on the road to more.
Unfortunately, that letter won't be appearing in the Post. All that superb reporting is consigned to page A-16, the traditional dust-bin for work the Post editors view as too scary to be shown to readers who merely scan headlines.

Horton's letter is an undisguised intervention. He advances the suspicion that Post editor Fred Hiatt has been sipping, again, from the same bottle that brought you the Iraq War in the first place.

Sure, Hiatt has apologized for the error of his ways. Sure, he acknowledged he's been wrong about just about everything about the Iraq War. Sure, he has given us absolutely no reason to suppose that a person of his shallow mind and defective intelligence is worthy of running a monthly church newsletter, much less a national newspaper.

But inside the D.C. beltway filled with Serious Persons, Fred is considered a Very Serious Person, as Atrios would mockingly point out. In other words, Fred Hiatt is beyond intervention. They all are.

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