The Philadelphia Inquirer already has a long line-up of conservative columnists, including Michael Smerconish and Rick Santorum (who reportedly makes $1,750 per column). Attytood’s Will Bunch reveals that the Inquirer now has one more: torture architect John Yoo. The Inquirer hired Yoo in late 2008, but according to Bunch, didn’t give him a byline as an “Inquirer columnist” until Sunday. Bunch wrote to Inquirer editorial page editor Harold Jackson and received this response:
John Yoo has written freelance commentaries for The Inquirer since 2005, however he entered into a contract to write a monthly column in late 2008. I won’t discuss the compensation of anyone who writes for us. Of course, we know more about Mr. Yoo’s actions in the Justice Department now than we did at the time we contracted him. But we did not blindly enter into our agreement. He’s a Philadelphian, and very knowledgeable about the legal subjects he discusses in his commentaries. Our readers have been able to get directly from Mr. Yoo his thoughts on a number of subjects concerning law and the courts, including measures taken by the White House post-9/11. That has promoted further discourse, which is the objective of newspaper commentary.
Bunch responds: “The higher calling for an American newspaper should be promoting and maintaining our sometimes fragile democracy, the very thing that Yoo and his band of torture advocates very nearly shredded in a few short years. Quite simply, by handing Yoo a regularly scheduled platform for his viewpoint, the Inquirer is telling its readers that Yoo’s ideas — especially that torture is not a crime against the very essence of America — are acceptable.”