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The Washington Post’s Racial Discrimination Problem
Posted By Evan Gahr On October 11, 2013 @ 12:15 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 3 Comments
Some of the loudest opinion writers at the Washington Post—MSNBC fixtures who routinely accuse Republicans, conservatives and anyone else who does not adhere to their particular world view of low grade bigotry—are suddenly quieter than deaf mutes about a lawsuit alleging race discrimination at their own paper.
And the Post’s news pages, which are normally awash with stories about alleged discrimination, have published nary a word about the lawsuit. Nor will they.
Steven Mufson, who covers the Washington Post company for the paper, said today that the paper has decided not to cover the story.
Why? Who exactly decided that? “You know what? I’m not having this conversation. Goodbye.”
And this is the paper that said Dick Cheney was too secretive.
As this journalist first disclosed in a September 11 Daily Caller opinion piece, a longtime black Post advertisement department employee recently sued the Washington Post for race and age discrimination.
David DeJesus, who had worked at the Post for 18 years, was fired just days after his white boss allegedly shrieked at him out of the blue about supposed insubordination.
In legal papers, the Post contends DeJesus was fired for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.
“The Washington Post may be the victim of a lawsuit that has no merit,” says Marc Stern, an expert on employment law at the American Jewish Committee. “He [DeJesus] may or may not have been the victim of discrimination. I have no way of knowing.”
Nevertheless, suppose the Republican National Committee was sued by a longtime black employee for discrimination.
How much time do you think opinion writer Jonathan Capehart, and Washington Post columnists Eugene Robinson Dana Milbank, would be spending on MSNBC castigating Republicans?
And it is a safe bet the Post would splash any such lawsuit against the RNC all over its front page.
In fact, race discrimination lawsuits against just about any prominent business or organization are normally big news for the Washington Post.
To cite just one example: In June, the paper did a front-page story about a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC against two companies that allegedly fired or denied blacks jobs because they failed criminal background checks.
It is well to note that this was only a disparate impact case: the EEOC said the use of criminal background checks for employment decisions was discriminatory because more blacks than whites have criminal records.
Unlike the lawsuit against the Washington Post there was no allegation of adverse employment action against someone because of his race alone.
So what do Washington Post opinion writers have to say about accusations of racial bias by their own employer?
Jonathan Capehart, who accused the entire United States of America of racism solely because a neighborhood watch volunteer, who was not even white, shot an unarmed black teenager, did not return repeated phone calls.
Washington Post columnist Robinson also ignored requests for comment. Was he too busy on MSNBC deciphering supposed GOP racist dog whistles for Chris Matthews?
Contrary to the on-air bravado of Robinson and Capehart it does not take a whole lot of courage to go on MSNBC when you work for the Washington Post and spew accusations of racism against Republicans. But it would take real bravery for them to break their newspaper’s code of silence about this lawsuit.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, another MSNBC go-to man when they need to play the race card with the GOP, also did not respond to requests for comment.
Washington Post editorial writer Chuck Lane, scourge of conservatives and former editor of The New Republic, a liberal mainstay, ignored emails.
Ditto for Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt.
So that’s the opinion side. What about the Post’s ferocious reporters?
Washington Post managing editor Kevin Merida said two days after the Daily Caller piece that he was unaware of the lawsuit and would look into it right away.
But as of October 9 the Post has yet to report anything. And Merida has not even told the relevant reporters about the lawsuit.
Merida, who has written oodles of words about racism, particularly the struggles of black men, declined comment on the allegations in the lawsuit. In addition to DeJesus, the lawsuit alleges that the Post fired 18 older blacks and one older white in a two-year period.
How about Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple? Surely, this was a great item for him.
This reporter spoke at length with Wemple on September 13 about the lawsuit and sent him the legal papers both sides filed.
Wemple did not even bother to read them, he later conceded, and wrote nothing about the lawsuit. But a few hours later he penned a lengthy critique of a conversation between Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera. It was basically a regurgitation of a recent Media Matters post.
In a follow-up conversation Wemple was asked why he had not done an item on the story. He had, after all, written about lawsuits against Fox News Channel and the right-leaning New York Post.
Why would he keep readers ignorant about this lawsuit?
Wemple said that he would not “aggregate” the Daily Caller article on the lawsuit because he preferred to do original reporting. That sounds plausible until you consider that his recent original reporting included an item on a Fox News Channel press release.
Pressed further, Wemple hung up the phone.
Paul Farhi, the Washington Post media reporter, said on September 19 he would investigate the lawsuit but wrote nothing.
He did, however, write a lengthy October 4 piece suggesting Saturday Night Live is a bastion of bigotry because of insufficient “diversity” among cast members.
And there you have it.
Washington Post editors, reporters and opinion writers want to pretend that a lawsuit by a longtime black employee, David DeJesus, does not exist.
If a black man fired by any other prominent institution or business sued for alleged discrimination the Post would probably turn him into a symbol of all that is wrong with society.
But since nobody at the Post can use this lawsuit to indict conservatives, Republicans or corporate America the paper has opted for a very telling silence.
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