Kevin Drum has a good new post on how to handle the a bit of misogynist tripe that was published in the Post.
OUTLOOK HELL....Ezra Klein writes about Charlotte Allen’s already infamous op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post:
I don’t want to engage with the article because, sometimes in Washington, editors take controversy as a sign of success. "The response is heated, but that just shows we hit a nerve, forced people to discuss an important issue. Namely, whether women are idiots." So instead, I’ll say this: They should be ashamed of publishing an article of such poor quality.
...I dunno. Take it on a case-by-case basis, I guess. Or do what I’m doing now and and respond to someone else’s post instead of to the original piece itself. But I’ll second Ezra’s further comment: Charlotte Allen may be a nitwit, but the world is full of nitwits. The real fault here is with the Post’s Outlook editor, John Pomfret, who apparently thought it was cute to run a plainly moronic article solely because it would get some attention when lots of people attacked it for being moronic. He needs to find a new job if that’s what he thinks his current job is all about.
I like that approach and am taking it up. My letter to the editor, ombudsman, and Outlook (thanks Feministing for organizing the links) section after the cut. Going after insipid provocateurs is pointless, instead it’s necessary to put pressure on their sponsors, publishers, and other media enablers. In this case, that enabler is Outlook editor John Pomfret. Might not have been his personal decision, but if it wasn’t than I want him directing his wrath at the one responsible.
[Update: According to Politico, the Post is feeling the heat and going with the satire defense. Funny, I don’t think hyperbole regarding something you basically believe qualifies as satire. Regardless, this is why I included the note about Style being the appropriate location for ’light-hearted’ stuff. (Via Pandagon)]
Outlook editor John Pomfret showed poor judgment and failed his obligations to the readers by printing Charlotte Allen’s article. As I understand it, the mission of the Outlook section is to inform the readers about important issues and debates. Controversy may drive page-hits, letters, links, and the like but controversy in and of itself does not inform your readership.
Ms. Allen has no listed scientific or psychological credentials. She cites only anecdotes, driving statistics, and brain weights. Hardly compelling new evidence. Liberals are often accused of trying to shut down valid scientific inquiries, but in no way does this article qualify.
Similarly, were she a major elected official, business executive, or bureaucrat it would perhaps be worth publishing this article. We would know to vote against her, boycott her company, or the like because of her views. However, she is only a provocateur. Her only apparent credential is that she is a female willing to attack other females who works for an organization with a similar agenda. Responding to her only raises her public profile.
For any defending this as just a light-hearted comment on the enthusiasm for Obama, might I suggest that the Style section is more appropriate for such material. There’s certainly a place for some humor in Outlook, I love Tom Rick’s inbox, but that sort of humor informs and does not merely provoke. Regardless, the Style section also thankfully demonstrates higher standards so I would hope they would not publish this either.
I look forward to reading better articles in the Outlook section in the future.