Catering to Their Customers at the Washington Post

Jonathan Schwarz gives his answer (A Tiny Revolution, 2/1/09) to Political Animal blogger Steve Benen’s question of “why the [Washington] Post‘s op-ed editors feel compelled to publish the same misguided piece from [Amity] Shlaes, making the same misguided argument every month or so”: “Shlaes is employed by the Council on Foreign Relations to lie about economic policy, the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc.” Schwarz takes the long view:

The Washington Post is a corporation, required by law to make as much money as possible. In order to make as much money as possible, businesses cater to their customers. The main customers of the Washington Post are their advertisers, who are mostly other big corporations. Big corporations, for obvious reasons, like it when people are misled about economic policy, the Great Depression, FDR, etc.

That’s really all there is to it. (Well, almost all.) What Steve really should be wondering about is why people like him–and me–ever fooled ourselves into believing the Washington Post has some sort of commitment to describing reality.

For more on this fourth Shlaes commentary to appear in the Post in just the last half-year, Schwarz links to “Dean Baker, who… takes out the Shlaes garbage here.” Read further about the Post opinion editors’ flexible notion of reality in the FAIR magazine Extra!: “Intelligence Manipulation at the Washington Post: Editorial Page Ignores Facts to Back Bush” (5-6/06) by Peter Hart