Teh Worst Ombudsman Evar rears her ugly head. The Washington Post's Deborah Howell complains about having to deal with nasty email, and has no sympathy for us who have to deal with her columns:
Deborah Howell - Looking Back, One Year Later - washingtonpost.com: Allegations of bias are difficult. My mail reflects the partisan divide... with conservatives and liberals frustrated and angry. Readers of dissimilar political persuasions will see the same set of facts differently and may read something into a story that isn't there....
This has been a tumultuous year... watching companies die and merge, seeing good journalists laid off or taking buyouts, dealing with bloggers and nasty e-mail. More than 70 staffers took The Post's early-retirement offer.... The Post will have fewer people reporting... those who are doing it will have to work harder.... But... contraction could make The Post crisper, more compact and more readable.... Readers want to know only so much.... The Post needs to be edited to respect readers' time.
My most harrowing experience this year was making a mistake last January in a column about the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The error won't be repeated here, but the backlash was obscene and stunning. Mercifully it went away fairly quickly. Journalists hate to make mistakes; I've never known one made deliberately...
It seems to me that there was a very deliberate mistake made by Deborah Howell in her Abramoff column:
Getting the Story on Jack Abramoff: Republicans [complain that] The Post purposely hasn't nailed any Democrats [in the Abramoff scandal]. Several stories, including one on June 3 by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, a Post business reporter, have mentioned that a number of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), have gotten Abramoff campaign money. So far, Schmidt and Grimaldi say their reporting on the investigations hasn't put
Democrats in the first tier of people being investigated. But stay tuned...
I'm not reading the insinuation that some first-tier Democrats being investigated would be served right up into Deborah Howell's column. It's right there. The insinuation was false, and Deborah Howell knew that it was false when she made it.
Any apology when called on this? Nope:
The Firestorm Over My Column: I will reject abuse and all that it stands for. To all of those who wanted me fired, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I have a contract. For the next two years, I will continue to speak my mind. Keep smiling. I will.