Wash Post ombudsman’s treatment of conservatives’ alleged misbehavior toward Democratic congressmen

A. Zarkov writes:

On Sunday the Washington Post’s Ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, wrote a column a dealing with the allegations that someone in the Tea Party crowd spat on Congressman Cleaver, and someone else called Barney Frank a “faggot.” Here is my email to Alexander.

You wrote, “A review of the unaltered footage, made by ABC at my request, clearly captures a protester shouting, ‘Barney, you faggot.’ Case closed.” Did you yourself see the footage? Why must you write in the passive voice making who saw what ambiguous? How do I get to view this footage, or must I take ABC’s word for it? What is the connection between this alleged incident and the Tea Party movement?

The video you linked to does not establish a spitting incident. At worst Clever got some spray when he confronted someone who was yelling. Some early reports said the alleged person who spit on Clever was arrested. Evidently that never happened either.

You wrote, “If there is video or audio evidence of the racial slurs against Lewis and Carson, it has yet to emerge. Breitbart insists they ‘made it up.’ If so, they’re good actors.” Don’t you think someone would have recorded this incident? Video cameras are now cheap, portable and ubiquitous. Surely if one or more people yelled out “nigger” 15 times, it would have gotten recorded.

You quote Roxana Tiron who quotes an unnamed Congressional staffer. Who is this staffer? You must realize that this is not evidence, but hearsay bordering on gossip.

Finally you quote Carson and Lewis, through their spokespeople. More hearsay. Carson and Lewis make sensational and serious accusations, but refuse to talk directly to reporters and answer questions. You also claim that Brenda Jones claims Congressman Lewis’s chief of staff (who is this person, again no name?) heard the shouts of “nigger” directly, but decline interviews so as not to “fan the flames of destructive language.” In my opinion this is a lame excuse. If the the Congressmen and their staff don’t want to make fan these flames then they should have not brought up the whole matter in the first place. Having brought it up, they should provide details so as to give their story credibility instead of ducking behind spokesmen. It’s obvious why they do this. They don’t want to make simple declarative statements because they might get held accountable.

If you want the Washington Post to have credibility then you need to present a better case. Otherwise I have to conclude this whole matter is largely a fabrication.

I’m sorry to be so negative, but over the last several decades I’ve been witness to a steady decline in the quality of reporting in our major newspapers. For one thing, stop writing in the passive voice so much. Give us the “Five W’s.” Give us names. Sometimes I don’t find out important facts until the very end of the article. Reading newspaper articles has become an exercise in decoding. I can remember when it wasn’t.

Here is his response to my email.

Thanks for writing. Did you even read my column? I ask because it agrees with you on the spitting incident.

With respect to the N-word, it is not at all obvious that someone would have recorded it because the alleged epithets were uttered very close to the Capitol where the crowds were smaller—not across Independence Avenue on the steps of the Cannon Building where the crowds were dense. The ABC tape was reviewed by the Washington bureau chief for that network, who is someone I respect immensely.

Best wishes,
Andy Alexander
Washington Post Ombudsman

The press comes off as a lapdog for the Democrats instead of a watchdog. They make fuss, but then refuse to provide any evidence saying they don’t to make a fuss.

LA replies:

Ok, but you should have acknowledged that in his column he says that the spitting appears not to have been deliberate and that the press was remiss in not pointing this out.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 13, 2010 06:41 AM | Send

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