Froomkin and the Old Truth Squad
The following is a letter I wrote to Andrew Sullivan regarding the Washington Post’s firing of Dan Froomkin (whom I read on a daily basis).
Dear Andrew,The relevant portion of Buying the War.
As a point of historical context, the move by the Washington Post to fire Dan Froomkin is actually in line with another decision they made in the past.
In an interview with Bill Moyers (Buying the War), Walter Pincus mentioned that he and others at the Post started a column known as The Truth Squad, which would parse over the President's (at the time – Reagan) statements and critique them for accuracy.
In the end, Pincus told Moyers that many wanted the Truth Squadders to leave the President alone. And the column was soon shut off.
I think that this goes into the further question that many have been asking in the last two years specifically. What is the role of a journalist, and more importantly, a news organization? At some point, don’t they have to make a principled stance on calling people out on basic facts and precedence? As we can see with another example in Froomkin, when there is push back, and the threats of pulled advertising, lower readership, or the press hearing the complaints from their establishment counterparts in the government regarding an off message reporter/writer, that person/activity is soon gone.