Rule of Law

Civility: Washington Post Reporter Tells Fact-Checking James O'Keefe Fan to 'Drop Dead'

The Washington Post recently opined that “civility is golden.” Someone tell Post writer Paul Farhi, because he’s telling critics of his recent attack on James O’Keefe to “drop dead.”

In an email from his Washington Post account, Farhi told O’Keefe fan Jasun Doyle to “drop dead” after Doyle emailed Farhi about inaccuracies in his article attacking O’Keefe:

The nastiness from Farhi began after O’Keefe ran a devastating series of undercover videos showing that producers and on-air talent privately believe the network’s obsession with Trump allegedly colluding with Russia is “bulls***” and a “witch hunt.”

Concurrently, three employees lost their jobs at CNN after the outlet was forced to retract an incorrect story related to Trump and Russia; combined with the O’Keefe videos, this effectively reduced coverage of Trump and Russia collusion to a laugh line. It also prompted the predictable ad hominem attacks on O’Keefe that now follow any of his exposes.

Paul Farhi’s attack contained the obligatory factual error that most attacks on O’Keefe contain.  Farhi’s misrepresented O’Keefe’s reporting. Here’s Farhi:

It also doesn’t disclose that he [CNN producer] is based in Atlanta — not in Washington or New York, where most of CNN’s coverage of national affairs and politics are produced.

The problem is O’Keefe’s video explicitly discloses that the targeted producer is based in Atlanta.

It’s a dumb mistake by Farhi. Perhaps that explains Farhi’s dumb reaction to readers pointing out Farhi’s mistake.

Jasun Doyle, spotting the error, emailed Farhi:

In your article “What the latest James O’Keefe video leaves out”  You explicitly lie and state that James O’Keefe never discloses that the producer is based in Atlanta which is a BLATANT lie.

In the introduction in the CNN Part 1 video from James O’Keefe he explicitly states that the producer is based in Atlanta!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So why on Earth would you lie so explicitly & definitively to your readers?

Farhi didn’t like being challenged. He replied to the reader:

A lie? That’s an amazingly ballsy thing to say. You mean I knew it was wrong and wrote it anyway? How would you even know that?  I might have been in error (I wasn’t) but you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about if you accuse me of lying.

Apologize or drop dead. (emphasis added)

And so we see how one journalist at the Washington Post views readers who point out their mistakes. They should apologize for doing so, or drop dead.

Remember — it was Farhi who made the mistake. A mistake that is yet to be corrected at his story.

Maybe that’s OK with Cameron Barr. Maybe not. If nothing else, the Post should spare us any more lectures about civility or kindness.