Froomkin's Firing from The Washington Post

June 22, 2009
Whether you are liberal or conservative, Froomkin's firing should be a source of disappointment. First off, the following should be clarified: Is Dan Froomkin, recently fired from The Washington Post, a liberal? Absolutely. However, in his journalism, Froomkin also largely transcended party loyalty, instead remaining loyal to ideas rather than people--a fairly rare trait. He was, above all else, a watchdog journalist, and he was an equal-opportunity critic when it came to applying his standards to all politicians, including Democrats. In a recent article in The Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald quotes The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen (emphasis Greenwald's): "Indeed, far-right complaints notwithstanding, Froomkin has spent months scrutinizing the Obama White House, cutting the Democratic president no slack at all." Read the entire article here: In the marketplace of ideas, let Froomkin's perspective stand up against the conservative William Kristol's, Krugman's against Krauthammer's. But don't silence someone because of their political leanings, as appears to be the case with The Post's firing of Froomkin. As Greenwald writes: "Post writers disliked Froomkin because he pointed out the radicalism and deceit of the Bush presidency and (both with his words and actions) highlighted their profound failure to do so, and because the neocon-Right complained about him to the Post." Is there anything that insults our nation's democratic sensibility more than the silencing of dissenting voices? Whether that silencing comes from the government or news organizations should make little difference. No side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on wisdom, and the second an individual begins to believe his or her political party is always correct, they have shut themselves off from the ability to learn. The marketplace of ideas may be imperfect, it may be messy, but in a democracy, it is the best we can ask for. We should never seek to silence the voices with which we disagree, but rather engage and even learn from them. At Newsy, our objective is to take news events, provide varying perspectives on them, and then let the audience decide. Our only agenda is to provide a sufficient amount of views to let the audience ascertain the core truth about the news. Of course, this works best with an audience willing to hear all sides before making up their minds. Froomkin surely wasn't right all the time. But his perspective was valuable, if only because it was unique. In all likelihood, Froomkin will reemerge, but until he does, the marketplace of ideas is one perspective poorer.