When the Right says jump, WaPo ombudsman asks "how high?"

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander continues to behave as though he's never heard a criticism of the Post from a liberal.

Alexander's most recent column opens with a discussion of Post contributing editor Cathy Abreu, who has called Sarah Palin a "fearmonger" on television, and who Alexander believes should be stripped of her title because it "amounts to fiction and should be ended before it provokes more allegations of institutional bias."

Alexander then frets that "some Post journalists now are hired to express" opinions, which can "puzzle readers" and goes on to quote executive editor Marcus Brauchli saying that Post reporters "should remain 'nonpartisan, unbiased and free from slant in their presentation in the paper and in any other public forum. There should be no appearance of conflict.'" The two examples Alexander's presents as potentially problematic: liberal writer Ezra Klein, whose Business section column "contains no descriptive identification beyond his name and area of expertise," and former Postie David Weigel, who conservatives claimed "was biased against them."

So all three examples Alexander provided of opinionated journalists affiliated with the Post just happen to play into conservative criticisms of the paper -- or, as Alexander obliquely put it, "institutional bias" against conservatives. No mention of, say, Dana Milbank calling Hillary Clinton a bitch (after which Alexander went easy on Milbank and his partner-in-crime, Chris Cillizza) or the walking, talking conflict-of-interest that is Howard Kurtz. No mention that long before David Weigel and Ezra Klein wrote blogs for the Post that contained opinion, the Post hosted a blog called Think Tank Town, written by a former (Republican) White House press secretary who used the blog to attack liberal organizations. No mention of the Washington Post calling Nancy Pelosi "imperious" right there on the front page, just a few days earlier. Not a single mention of anything the Washington Post has ever done that might anger liberals, rather than conservatives.

And, of course, during his hand-wringing about "allegations of institutional bias" against the Right, Alexander never got around to noting that those allegations might seem a bit of a stretch, considering the paper's relentless promotion of bogus Clinton scandals, its shameful treatment of Al Gore during the 2000 campaign, and its lapdog coverage of the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq. But that's par for the course for Alexander, who consistently grants conservative attacks on the Post more credibility than they deserve and ignores examples of the paper's shoddy treatment of progressives.

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The Washington Post
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Andrew Alexander
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