DC Trawler

Ex-WaPo ombud’s advice to Jeff Bezos: Crush dissent

The Washington City Paper just published an “open letter” to Jeff Bezos, new owner of the Washington Post, from former WaPo ombudsman Patrick Pexton. In addition to some sound general advice on being a successful newspaper publisher — grow a thick skin, remember that the product you’re selling is news, get to know your audience, etc. — Pexton also has one specific request:

Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits. Her analysis of the conservative movement, which is a worthwhile and important beat that the Post should treat more seriously on its national pages, is shallow and predictable. Her columns, at best, are political pornography; they get a quick but sure rise out of the right, but you feel bad afterward.

See, it’s not that Pexton doesn’t like her conservative views, whatever those might be. It’s that she says silly right-wing things! She doesn’t have the depth and readability of, say, Ezra Klein or Greg Sargent or the rest of the WaPo staffers who Pexton happens to agree with politically.

Incidentally, Alana Goodman at the Washington Free Beacon reports:

The former Washington Post ombudsman who called on the paper to fire conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin on Thursday wrote an obsequious apology to Rubin after making similar comments in 2011…

Pexton had previously suggested that the Post had grounds to fire Rubin in an “off the record” email response to one of Rubin’s critics in November 2011, which was later published by ThinkProgress.

Pexton emailed an effusive apology to Rubin shortly after his 2011 comments went public, calling his remarks “glib,” “uninformed,” and “amateurish.”

“I wanted to apologize for my glib, off-the-record remark to this reader who was exchanging e-mails with me about your retweet,” wrote Pexton, according to a copy of the Nov. 11, 2011, email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “I was in the middle of several e-mail conversations at once and I reacted quickly, without thinking, and with uninformed speculation. It was a stupid and amateurish move, and I’m sorry for it.”

Clearly, now Pexton is sorry that he said he was sorry.

As for Rubin: