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Good News, Bad News

The good news is that Deborah Howell, the “Ombudsman” at the Washington Post, has quoted me by name in her Sunday column.

The bad news is, frankly, that she’s either not being very thoughtful, or she is being disingenuous. Here’s the original letter; I posted about my letter when I sent it out.

Thanks for agreeing that readers were right to complain about this (hell, I’m a Buddhist, and it offends me!) but I will note that it does appear to violate the Post’s stated policy:

“We keep many things out of the paper on those grounds, including gratuitous nudity, violence, obscenity and racial, ethnic and religious slurs.” — per Phillip Kennicott

but that as of 21 September, the cartoon still appears on the Post’s web site, even after your response.

One is forced to wonder at the uniformity of the Post’s application of its own policies if a cartoon published by its own syndicate continues to appear after it has become clear it does, indeed, include religious slurs.


Charlie Martin

Now, there is a small error there: Oliphant is syndicated through UPI, not by Washington Post, as Ms Howell was kind enough to point out; I’d quote her, but her kindness didn’t extend to permission to do so. The remainder of the column, it appears, is defending the publication by saying we publish lots of cartoonists online and offend lots of people.

Which is just fine.

So I’ve written Ms Howell to ask for a link to where the Washington Post Online published the famous Mohammed cartoons.

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