When the Washington Post, through its then-subsidiary Newsweek bragged that “We Are All Socialists Now” at the start of 2009, the unspoken assumption was that the concentration camps that invariably follow the revolution were soon to follow. (Or as they say at David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine, ”Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”) Who knew that the owners of the Post themselves would be the first victims loaded into the boxcars?
Behold “The Melodramatic and Self-Important World of Ruth Marcus,” Peter Wehner writes at Commentary:
In her column earlier this week Ruth Marcus wrote this:
Don Graham’s decision to sell The Washington Post was his reverse Sophie’s Choice moment.
She had to decide which cherished child to save and which to send to the gas chamber. Don and the Graham family weren’t forced to make an anguishing choice but did so anyway. They relinquished the newspaper they love in order to protect it.
If the comparison sounds hyperbolic, you don’t know the Grahams.
Now I don’t know the Grahams–but yes, the comparison does sound hyperbolic to me. Worse, actually. I for one would feel rather awkward explaining to my children why I’d consider the choice between selling a newspaper and sending one of them to Auschwitz to be a coin flip. (To be clear, the Grahams didn’t use this analogy; Ruth Marcus did.)
It must be quite a strange universe to inhabit where waking up one day with an extra $250 million in your money market account is the equivalent of sending your daughter to the gas chamber. Or as Wehner adds:
Ms. Marcus illustrates the melodrama and self-importance that some (certainly not all) journalists are afflicted with. They live in a make-believe world in which they fashion themselves as shining knights, truth tellers, exposers of corruption, defenders of the weak.
Now I happen to like the Post as a newspaper. I’m one of the shrinking number of people in the D.C. area who still subscribe to it. I admire some of its reporters. And they are home to some outstanding columnists. But it is hardly a sacred, flawless, and fearless institution. It is, in fact, liberal in its orientation. It plays favorites. It tends to back down from speaking truth to power when those in power are of the left. And while Don Graham in particular seems like a fine man, the mythic personality some of his employees have created around him and Katherine Graham is a bit creepy.
Perhaps, the analogy that works far better to describe how the Post ultimately imploded isn’t Sophie’s Choice, but Doctor Faustus. But I doubt anyone inside the former management’s inner circle, nor any of the juiceboxers-come-lately have the self-awareness to understand that the bill would eventually come due on the pact the newspaper made long ago.