Four days ago, Editor & Publisher quoted Washington Post Op-Ed editor Autumn Brewington defending the paper's publication of Sarah Palin's deeply dishonest column about climate change. Most of the defense boils down to a predictably depressing acknowledgment that the Post doesn't really care about facts or expertise; they just want to sell some ads -- For example: "She is someone who stirs discussion and we are in the business of putting out opinion. She reached out to us."
But here's something interesting:
Brewington said the piece drew more reaction than most Op-Eds, adding that it ranked among the 10 most-read articles on the Post Web site Wednesday. ...
Among the critics was a university professor who has offered to write a rebuttal column, Brewington said, declining to name the person. "It is always interesting to see who reaches out to us," she said.
Palin's op-ed ran on December 9. By December 10, the Post had an offer from a "university professor" to write a rebuttal to the error-filled column. So ... Where is it? The Post has yet to run any kind of "rebuttal column," by a professor or anyone else. (The paper did, however, run December 11 column by former Bush aide Michael Gerson that echoed Palin's.)
Brewington seems to regard a proposed rebuttal column by an academic as a joke; something to be amused about -- "It is always interesting to see who reaches out to us." But it isn't a joke. The Post published a falsehood-filled screed by a former half-term governor who either doesn't know the truth or is willing to lie about it. And the paper apparently laughs off requests to run a rebuttal column. There's nothing amusing about that.
Early this year, when the Post was criticized for running a deeply flawed George Will column, Post editorial page boss Fred Hiatt challenged critics to debate Will rather than expect the Post to run a correction. So Chris Mooney submitted an op-ed in response to Will, which the Post eventually published. (Mooney's column ran three weeks after it was submitted. It took the Post less than a day to get Palin's into the paper.)
So why won't the Post publish a column rebutting Sarah Palin's op-ed? Did the paper promise Palin it wouldn't run such a response?