We wrote about Washington Post columnist William Arkin’s attack on U.S. servicemen here, here and elsewhere. Today, Post ombudsman Deborah Howell weighed in. She is clearly unhappy with Arkin, and seems mostly concerned that the damage Arkin did to washingtonpost.com not spill over to the print product; she emphasizes that the print paper gets more intensive editing.
Here is what surprised me, though: Arkin’s column was actually read by an editor before it appeared on the Post’s web site!
An editor read his column before it was posted but didn’t see the problem.
I find that stunning. My assumption was that Arkin is a pure blogger and that he could hit the “save” button on a post without any editorial review. The fact that at least one editor at the Post read Arkin’s attack on the military–which was by no means limited to calling our soldiers “mercenaries”–without seeing anything problematic about it, is revealing indeed.