Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Get A Real Job

So Pravda ombudscrybaby Deborah Howl [sic], upset at all the criticism she's earned from her, um, readers, has decided to give all us reality-based folk the silent treatment.

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell has reportedly posted a comment on the Post's internal message board announcing that she has learned the following "lesson" from exchanges with Media Matters for America: "From now on, I don't reply."

See, Howell has decided, in the pomo irony-free hermetically-sealed environment of bullshit the celebrojournos have cultivated for themselves, that she can make shit up and not have to respond to it.

Except that the very definition of the job she supposedly holds is to one, ensure the quality and accuracy of the newspaper's reportage; and two, to respond to readers' complaints, regardless of whether or not she agrees with their positions. Needless to say, she has failed miserably on both counts, and should be dismissed immediately, if the Post still has any delusions about retaining a shred of its tattered credibility.

Enough is enough. There is a clear common-sense difference between Jack Abramoff -- College Republican, Bush Pioneer, and K Street master strategist -- "donating" money to a slew of congressional Republicans, and a handful of Democrats receiving "donations" from a few of the Indian tribes that Abramoff and Ralph Reed grifted. One is what people in the real world recognize as a direct contribution; the other is not nearly as clear-cut, as brazen, as obscenely corrupt.

In other words, they are not equal situations, and any fool can see that. Yet Howell, again whose job description requires accuracy and probity, has repeatedly characterized those things as equal. Worse yet, she has refused to respond to the hundreds of readers who have pointed this out to her, no matter what their tone. This is the high-handed tack the Post took when it tried to screw with Dan Froomkin's column, and it doesn't work.

Look, you assholes, you're not gonna get away with this shit anymore. You try deleting dozens of reader comments from your site, you better assume that someone out there archived it to shove in your face when the time comes. You try lying and whitewashing the facts, burying the truth under mounds of "objectivity" and "truthiness", you're gonna fuckin' hear about it.

And when people finally realize what a joke you've become, and cancel their subscriptions, don't act so surprised. It's not that newspapers are dead technology, it's that people have options now. They don't need you nearly as much as you need them.

So unless Ms. Howl is prepared to embark on a new career -- one that hopefully involves a paper hat and asking me if I want fries with that -- get ready for the slow but steady drip-drip-drip of dwindling readership. And hell, somewhere in there, you might even want to start taking some pride in your jobs, and put out something that you can not only stand behind, but even respond to critics in a reasonable fashion, instead of acting like you're too good to give a straight answer to the unwashed rubes.

1 comment:

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