Tuesday, November 21, 2006

3197 Ex Post Facto--on the demise of a giant

Mark Gauvreau Judge ponders whether the Washington Post has a future. As a former writer for the Post, he grieves, remembering his elation when he was first selected to submit some op ed pieces:

"I did wind up writing several pieces for the Post, most often the Outlook section, over the years. And as I grew more conservative, I became more and more aware of what the parameters were. Nothing pro-life, nothing too blatantly Christian, nothing arguing about natural law or homosexuality—unless, of course, it was a performance of conservative switchback, like when Laura Ingraham wrote about her love for her gay brother. Inevitably, I ran up against the liberal orthodoxy there. It most strikingly occurred in 1994, when Outlook ran, at a full page, an op-ed/essay of mine about saving the Howard Theater, one of the oldest historical black theaters in America. I went into detail about the history of the Howard, yet something strange happened to my copy when I got to the 1960s. I had referred to the "moral and cultural collapse" that had destroyed the Howard and surrounding neighborhood—the drugs, rioting, and black racism that had brought down that part of town. The night before the paper came out, I was called and told that the phrase "moral and cultural collapse" had been changed to "social upheaval." Note: this was an editorial in the editorial section." . . .

"The Post doesn't cover religion—it's buried on the last page of the B section on the Saturday paper—and it is simply out of the question that any should creep into your writing, no matter how subtly. One album I reviewed reminded me of Easter, I wrote in one piece. Rejected. When it bounced back, I simply removed the Easter reference and sent it to a different editor. It was published two days later.

And that was it. I had been canned. Once you are banished, there is no such thing as debate about your case at the Post."

Read the entire story at Books and Culture.

I wonder sometimes if journalists and librarians suckle at the same breast.

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