A plea for sanity

Dear Progressive Blogosphere,

I realize it’s enjoyable to make fun of Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, for publishing this column by Kathleen “Less Crazy Than Jeffrey Dahmer!” Parker. (If you haven’t seen it already, Parker is arguing that we should make “common cause” with Iran’s Ahmadinejad in keeping ladies out of the military.) And indeed, I’ve engaged in similar activity many times myself.

Still, we’re in danger of missing what’s important here. And what’s important is not Fred Hiatt. Hiatt has his job because Donald Graham, the Post’s publisher, likes what Hiatt does. If Hiatt woke up one day and suddenly decided to stop publishing the insane, it wouldn’t be long before he was out of work, replaced by someone who was eager to run columns by lunatics.

In other words, the problem with the US media isn’t all the non-reality-based editors and producers who hire the Kathleen Parkers and Tim Russerts and Sean Hannitys. It’s the right-wing billionaires who hire those editors and producers. (Or if you really want to depart from acceptable discussion, the problem is an economic system that allows only right-wing billionaires to own newspapers and TV networks.)

So I come before you today with this plea: let’s focus less on the sock puppets, and more on the hands.