Think about the outstanding reporting of Hanna Rosin on religion, which is something that demonstrates that The Washington Post has always had a commitment to reporting on and respecting the viewpoints of its conservative constituency. That’s very different from letting itself be used as part of a political crusade, when the political crusade itself should be the story.
The Post’s irresponsibility when it comes to ACORN is symbolized by the fact that the word “Drudge” doesn’t show up in that article. The idea that this guy Andrew Breitbart [a protégé of Matt Drudge, and the founder of Big Government, the Web site that presented the ACORN videos] is just floating out there in the ether as some kind of independent conservative activist—he’s a very powerful person, in a lot of ways he might be more powerful than ACORN.
GM: I think what’s being expressed is a sort of felt need to compensate for the perceived fact that journalists don’t see the world through the same prism as members of the conservative movement do.
RP: I would say that journalists’ job is not to see the world through the same prism as the conservative movement, or a different prism than the conservative movement. It is to tell the truth without fear of favor. And if the truth makes conservatives look bad, devil take the hindmost. And if it makes liberals look bad, devil take the hindmost. It’s just too easy—and if you read my work, it’s been too easy for four decades—for conservatives to exploit their ability to create a sense that the media are biased in favor of liberalism in order to manipulate the media, in order to get the stories they want told told in the way they want. It’s a strategy—you can see the memos in which people lay it out. And unless that strategy is reported on, and treated as part of the story, then you are not reporting on what’s actually happening in the real world.