Racist Op-Ed Columns Are a Strange Business Strategy

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Nov. 12 2013 10:09 AM

Racist Op-Ed Columns Are a Strange Business Strategy

I'm not sure what, if anything, Jeff Bezos will do to try to turn around the financial fortunes of the Washington Post. But Richard Cohen's column today suggests one small step that the owner of the daily paper in a majority-black city could take—reconsider whether regularly publishing racist op-ed columns is a wise business strategy.

Here's Cohen (emphasis added):

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.
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I'm sure there's some market niche for columns denouncing miscegenation and race mixing, but is it really the Washington, DC market? That seems very questionable to me. Obviously eliminating Cohen-related expenditures would not, on its own, bring the Post to solvency. But every little bit helps.

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Even among Americans over the age of 65, interracial marriage has a 70% approval rating.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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