Re Sarah Palin, the Washington Post, conspiracy theories, and bold letter writing
Julian C. Holmes, A brilliant and prolific letter writer.
[...] Though the Washington Post does not over-extend itself in the pursuit of hard news, just let drop the faintest rumor of a government “conspiracy”, and a klaxon horn goes off in the news room. Aroused from apathy in the daily routine of reporting assignations and various other political and social sports events, editors and reporters scramble to the phones. The klaxon screams its warning: the greatest single threat to herd-journalism, corporate profits, and government stability — the dreaded “CONSPIRACY THEORY”!!
It is not known whether anyone has actually been hassled or accosted by any of these frightful spectres, but their presence is announced to Post readers with a salvo of warnings to avoid the tricky, sticky webs spun by the wacko “CONSPIRACY THEORISTS”.
Recall how the Post saved us from the truth about Iran-Contra.
Professional conspiracy exorcist Mark Hosenball was hired to ridicule the idea that Oliver North and his CIA-associated gangsters had conspired to do wrong (*1). And when, in their syndicated column, Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta discussed some of the conspirators, the Post sprang to protect its readers, and the conspirators, by censoring the Anderson column before printing it (*2).
But for some time the lid had been coming off the Iran-Contra conspiracy. In 1986, the Christic Institute, an interfaith center for law and public policy, had filed a lawsuit alleging a U.S. arms-for-drugs trade that helped keep weapons flowing to the CIA-Contra army in Nicaragua, and cocaine flowing to U.S. markets (*3). In 1988 Leslie Cockburn published Out of Control, a seminal work on our bizarre, illegal war against Nicaragua (*4). The Post contributed to this discovery process by disparaging the charges of conspiracy and by publishing false information about the drug-smuggling evidence presented to the House Subcommittee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. When accused by Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY). of misleading reporting, the Post printed only a partial correction and declined to print a letter of complaint from Rangel (*5).