WaPo Asks Williams Questions

As further proof that isolating a newspaper’s opinion editors from its reporting editors is a dumb idea, the Washington Post makes itself look silly with a new, but vacuous, editorial about Shawn Williams and his putative renewed candidacy to be chair of the Loudoun board. With utterly nothing new to add, the Post points its accusatory finger (the one belonging to someone named Editorial Board), and asks the following:

  • How many times was he arrested?
  • How many times was he convicted?
  • What was his blood-alcohol level in each of the incidents?
  • Did any accidents result from his conduct?
  • Any injuries?
  • When were the offenses, and have any of them occurred since he was elected to the county board in 2011?
  • When did the incidents with his wife and neighbor take place?
  • Has Mr. Williams asked that the police reports be made public?

One can easily imagine voters asking such questions. In a democracy that relies on a free press for information, one can just as easily imagine voters looking to the Post for answers. But, Mr. Board hasn’t got any, because the reporters work for someone else. Maybe that someone else has those reporters culling the public records right now. Maybe not. We don’t know, and neither does Editorial Board, because the opinion editors don’t do the journalism, and the journalists don’t write the editorials. Thus, the newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal can only ask what anyone can ask, on its editorial page, with no actual facts to add to the story.

Anyone can ask questions. That part’s easy. But when the questions come from a major news outlet like the Post, that outlet has a duty to get the answers. Alas, owing to the absurd notion that the people who report the facts ought not to be the ones who opine to us about them (as though forcing them to hide their biases equates to objectivity), Editorial Board–and the rest of us–may never actually get them.

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Which Half of The Post is Wrong?

Last week, the Washington Post endorsed None of the Above for congress in VA10. Today, they give candidate Barbara Comstock three pinochios for lying about saving any money with her anti-labor legislation that forbids mandatory Project Labor Agreements in Phase 2 of the Metro to Dulles project. Following the political truism that, if you say it enough times, people will believe it, she responded by saying it again:

Originally Phase 2 was estimated to cost as much as $1.6 billion and instead after competitive bidding it came in at $1.18 billion – over $400 million less. Everyone from the Governor to contractors to local officials have all confirmed that removing mandatory project labor agreements to create a level playing field for non-union and union bidders led to hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer savings on the Dulles Rail Phase 2 project.

Actually, hardly anyone has “confirmed” that, nor is there any reason to connect the $400,000,000 difference between the predicted and actual bids to legislation by Comstock (or anyone else). Fact is, she has always known that a PLA actually saved money in Phase 1. But, maybe now we know why spectators to Joe May’s informal meeting of the House Transportation Committee in 2011 watched in increasing discomfort as Comstock asked, over and over, “How much more is Phase 1 costing us because of the PLA?” After about the fourth time she asked, and was told it had saved money, May just moved the meeting on to the next topic.

But now the Post is awarding her three out of four pinochios for continuing with the bald-faced lie that she “saved” money by prohibiting one of the money-saving features used in Phase 1. Thus, the Post is telling us that it can’t choose between John Foust, and someone that the Post is telling us is an outright liar.

Of course, everyone knows that, in the modern era, the reporting editorial staff is distinct from the opinion editorial staff, so there is no self-contradiction. There is, however, a contradiction of the old, familar sort: one of them is wrong. That is, either the people who tell us what the facts are have their facts wrong (and Comstock is not a liar), or the people who tell us what to think are not aware of the facts their own paper reports (and there really is a clear reason to vote for Foust).

The far-right says the Post is biased in favor of us liberals. I think the far-right is wrong. I think the Post is just out of its minds (both of them).

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The Washington Post Is Asking $599 For A 1-Year Subscription

Washington Post Invoice
No Joke: Washington Post renewal invoice suggests $599 for 1 year subscription.

In yesterday’s mail came the “renewal” invoice pictured above, actually requesting $599 for a one-year subscription to The Washington Post. Having not subscribed to said newspaper for at least 25 years, I assume the promotion went out on a mass scale to recipients who were a) not current subscribers and b) potential morons.

While your humble narrator may in fact be a moron, he apparently is not of the required degree and depth.

This is a curious solicitation and I do not know what it says about the marketing team at the Post. But one thing it tells us about the kind of man Jeff Bezos is: The kind of man who is not afraid to be laughed at.

Other Things To Spend $600/year On

My first reaction to the $600 figure was: Why buy more paper, when for the exact same price I could buy literally one ton of chemicals to make all the paper I have, better.

Bird cage liner
Less expensive, and more absorbent, bird cage liner.

And then, along the same lines, a quick Web search showed I could get 749 sheets of truly superior bird cage liner for that same price, which is like a 3-year supply.

Continue reading “The Washington Post Is Asking $599 For A 1-Year Subscription”

WaPo: None of the Above in VA10

In a stunning act of cowardice, the Washington Post is calling on voters in the Tenth Congressional District to think for themselves, and is not making an endorsement in the race to fill Frank Wolf’s seat.

Saying that the Foust/Comstock race has been, “a largely negative contest,” (stop the presses!), the Post’s editorial editors (as opposed to the other editors, who are responsible for facts, not opinions) go on to list mostly negative things about each candidate, ultimately saying, “we find ourselves unable to endorse either candidate.”

What chicken-sh*ts. Are they actually saying that, if they live in the 10th CD, these editors plan to enter the voting booth and write in, “any ham sandwich” on their ballots? Voters don’t have that option. Well, they do, but I am having a hard time imagining any respectable American news entity calling on the citizens to, “Be Sure Not to Vote This November!” Yet, that seems to be what the Post is saying.

To me, it seems that these two candidates offer a clear distinction. Each has a definite, meaningful position on abortion, gay rights, abortion, the environment, abortion, workplace rights, abortion, and abortion. Maybe the Post thinks something else is the right metric to use in choosing a member of congress, but voters know better: are they for abortion rights or not? (Mind you, I think there’s a lot more to being a member of congress than having a policy on abortion but, if you know where a candidate is on that issue, you are probably going to know where they are on almost every other issue, too.)

You know, some folks say that “None of the Above” should be on the ballot and, if NotA wins, the office should be eliminated. I take a modified view: if NotA wins, the people should have NotA as their representative for a full term. If NotA goes on to win re-election, then the office should be eliminated. But NotA isn’t on the ballot and, in this race, wouldn’t win anyway. NotA’s position on abortion would prevent it. Thus, one of the two living candidates is going to win, and will serve in a markedly different way than the loser would have. If the editorial staff at the Post can’t make up its mind(s?) in a contest like this one, then it’s the editorial staff at the Post that should lose its office.