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Bitch-Slapping the Messenger

WaPo omsbudsman Micheal Getler's column this week took on Dana Milbank's snarky piece on the congressional Dems holding a "mock impeachment" over the Downing Street Memo. Getler responded to reader concerns that Milbank's coverage of this serious topic was flippant and "disparaged the real concerns of many people." Getler makes it very clear: The paper was in the wrong and should totally take responsibility for, uhm, not letting readers know that it's okay for Milbank to be flippant and to disparage the real concerns of many people: "Unfortunately, it has never been announced or explained to Post readers that reporter Milbank is also now columnist Milbank." So, you know, their bad.


Getler goes on to explain that while reporters wouldn't be allowed to write so causticly, columnists are. Columnist Milbank responds with typical grace:

"While you have been within your rights as ombudsman over the past five years to attempt to excise any trace of colorful or provocative writing from the Post, you are out of bounds in asserting that a columnist cannot identify as 'wingnuts' a group whose followers have long been harassing this and other reporters and their families with hateful, obscene and sometimes anti-Semitic speech."
You know another difference between reporters and columnists? A reporter who pulled a diva move like that would probably get his ass kicked. Or maybe he'd get promoted to columnist.

Memos, 'Wing Nuts' and 'Hit Lists' [WP]

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