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Washington Post Again Demonstrates Contempt for its Readers

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Washington Post Again Demonstrates Contempt for its Readers"

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Royal Gwent Hospital (NHS Photo)

Royal Gwent Hospital (NHS Photo)

Martin Feldstein, writing in yesterday’s Washington Post, wrote:

Obama has said that he would favor a British-style “single payer” system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry.

As Jon Chait points out, Obama has said no such thing. Paul Krugman wonders:

I do know that if I misstated the facts like this in the Times, I’d be required to publish a correction. Will the Post require that Feldstein retract his claim?

I think the real question is why does the Post print this stuff in the first place? I assume it would be possible for the Washington Post to employ people who are well-informed about American political issues to edit their opinion section. Certainly it would be possible for them to employ people who aren’t willfully indifferent to the question of whether the articles they run are informative or misleading. But they choose not to. They choose to employ George Will and Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol and the sort of editors who don’t bat an eye when Feldstein makes improbable—and false—claims about Obama’s health care statements.

If you ran a test preparation company that had this kind of indifference toward its customers, it’s hard to see how you could succeed. I wonder why The Washington Post Company thinks that a lesser standard will work in the ailing newspaper industry. Quality is hardly a guaranteed recipe for success in the media game, but indifference toward the quality of your product isn’t going to help.

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