Ex-Ombudsman's Advice to Jeff Bezos: Fire Jennifer Rubin

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 15 2013 2:39 PM

A Former WaPo Ombudsman's Very Specific Advice to Jeff Bezos: Fire Jennifer Rubin

175695982
The front page of the Washington Post newspaper as seen in a newstand, August 6, 2013 in Washington, DC, the day after it was announced that Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had agreed to purchase the newspaper

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Former Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton has some advice for Jeff Bezos. Much of it Bezos has no doubt heard before: "Get to know your audience"; "Trust and credibility is everything in the news business"; "Remember that the product you’re selling is news." But in addition to those relatively well-worn generalities is one very specific suggestion: Have conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin fired. Here's Pexton laying out his case against the "Right Turn" blogger in an open letter to Bezos today:

Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits. Her analysis of the conservative movement, which is a worthwhile and important beat that the Post should treat more seriously on its national pages, is shallow and predictable. Her columns, at best, are political pornography; they get a quick but sure rise out of the right, but you feel bad afterward.
And she is often wrong, and rarely acknowledges it. She was oh-so-wrong about Mitt Romney, week after week writing embarrassing flattery about his 2012 campaign, calling almost every move he made brilliant, and guaranteeing that he would trounce Barack Obama. When he lost, the next day she savaged him and his campaign with treachery, saying he was the worst candidate with the worst staff, ever. She was wrong about the Norway shootings being acts of al-Qaida. She was wrong about Chuck Hagel being an anti-Semite. And does she apologize? Nope.
Rubin was the No. 1 source of complaint mail about any single Post staffer while I was ombudsman, and I’m leaving out the organized email campaigns against her by leftie groups like Media Matters. Thinking conservatives didn’t like her, thinking moderates didn’t like her, government workers who knew her arguments to be unfair didn’t like her. Dump her like a dull tome on the Amazon Bargain Books page.

Rubin, contacted by Politico for comment, offered this one: "'hahahahahhahaha' – that’s a direct quote."

You can read Pexton's full column over at the Washington City Paper. For a different take on Rubin, check out Dave Weigel's defense of the conservative blogger from last summer.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.