A teapot tempest erupted today after Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) cited Washington Post political blogger Jennifer Rubin by name today at Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's Senate confirmation hearing. Post associate editor and senior correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran tweeted, “I hate it when senators refer to WP opinion blogger posts as articles. [Rubin] is NOT a WaPo reporter,” which prompted Buzzfeed to proclaim that a “civil war” had broken out at the Post over “the newspaper's reputation for fairness and neutrality.” This misses the point of what makes Rubin so problematic for the Post: it's not that she's conservative, or even that she's opinionated. She's dishonest, often flagrantly so, and that dishonesty tarnishes Washington Post's reputation.
Rubin, who essentially served as the Romney campaign's in-house blogger for the Washington Post during the 2012 presidential campaign, has recently led the charge against Hagel's nomination.
Here's a not-at-all exhaustive list of outright lies, misrepresentations, and self-contradictions Rubin has spun while speaking or writing on the Post's behalf:
Rubin invented the idea that State Department personnel in Washington, D.C., watched real-time video of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, a claim later debunked by Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple.
Rubin lied about President Obama's remarks in the Rose Garden the day after the Benghazi attack, saying the president did not use the term “acts of terror” in “the same paragraph with Benghazi.” Obama's next sentence after saying “acts of terror” was about the four Americans killed in the attack.
Rubin wrote that the Tax Policy Center's critique of Mitt Romney's tax plan couldn't be trusted because the group is “left-leaning” and “very partisan.” Ten months earlier she'd hyped the group as “independent” when it critiqued one of Romney's primary opponents.
Rubin claimed that the 2009 stimulus package contained no funding for “shovel-ready defense jobs.” The stimulus allocated several billion dollars for military “construction” projects and “operations and maintenance.”
She invented criticisms of Obama's second-term Cabinet nominees. She cleaned up George W. Bush's terrorism record by saying 9-11 didn't count. She alternated between describing Romney's tax proposals as highly detailed and lacking detail, depending on which would better allow her to flack for them. And, of course, there's Rubin's post-election tacit admission that pretty much everything she'd written during the 2012 campaign about Mitt Romney's campaign was misleading spin.
Rubin discredits herself and the Washington Post not by leaning to the right, but by lying, over and over, again and again.
UPDATE: Mother Jones' Adam Serwer highlights another Rubin whopper. During the campaign she railed against Obama for not having an immigration plan: “Where is Obama's solution?” That plan was readily available on the White House website.