My Kind of Guy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
This morning I listened to an interview of Leonard Downie Jr. on Fresh Air.

In it, Mr. Downie revealed that during his time as the Executive Editor of The Washington Post, he voluntarily gave up his right to vote. He felt that since he was the final gatekeeper and arbiter of fairness, he needed to be open minded even in the privacy of his own mind, in order to ensure a lack of bias. For the same reason, he also did not read the Op-Ed page during his tenure.

He also mentioned that while employees of The Washington Post are certainly permitted to vote, they are not permitted to exercise other types of rights such as signing petitions, contributing to or working on campaigns, or demonstrating. These restrictions are in place to force employees to maintain a sense of impartiality.

Like Terry Gross, I'm of two minds about this.

As a citizen of this country, I'm much more interested in having people as informed as Mr. Downie vote than I am in having some illiterate, uninformed simp do so.

And yet, he sees his willingness to sacrifice his right to vote as a service to the 1st Amendment, and made it willingly for the privilege of working as the Post's executive editor. For 17 years, he was the final arbiter of what was included in this very prestigious publication, and he felt such power should be tempered as much as possible by a desire to remain unbiased.

There's a reason why The Washington Post is my primary source of news.

And Mr. Downie is my kind of guy.

2 comments:

Anne C. said...

I love The Washington Post too. I was fortunate enough to grow up with it, and when I moved to Denver, I kept reading it online.
Truly a world class publication.

Wendy said...

Ah, the Washington Post, pruveyors of such wonderful investigative reporting...Love that paper! We used to fight over who got to read it first during the Watergate times!

Nice to know integrity is still a active commodity there and the staff takes their place in the grand scheme of things seriously.

WendyB_09