Fire anti-Arab blogger, ex-ombudsman tells new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos

After he bought the Washington Post last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos received some sharp advice from the the newspaper’s former in-house critic: fire Jennifer Rubin, the ultra-conservative blogger who has not only been consistently wrong, but promoted a call for genocide of the Palestinian people.

Patrick Pexton was the ombudsman of the Washington Post until the newspaper abolished the position in March.

In an 14 August open letter to Bezos in the Washington City Paper, Pexton advised:

Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits.

Pexton termed Rubin’s work “political pornography” and noted that “she is often wrong.” Among her long list of errors:

She was wrong about the Norway shootings being acts of al-Qaida. She was wrong about Chuck Hagel being an anti-Semite. And does she apologize? Nope.

Pexton reveals that “Rubin was the No. 1 source of complaint mail about any single Post staffer while I was ombudsman, and I’m leaving out the organized email campaigns against her by leftie groups like Media Matters.”

“Dump her like a dull tome on the Amazon Bargain Books page,” he advises Bezos.

Promoted genocide call

Perhaps Rubin’s most egregious display of bigotry occurred on Twitter in 2011 when she approvingly promoted an article by Rachel Decter Abrams. As Max Blumenthal reported at the time:

In a blog post cheering the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, neoconservative activist Rachel Decter Abrams descended into a twisted call for genocide, calling for Israel to throw released Palestinian prisoners whom she described as “child sacrificing savages” and “unmanned animals” – along with “their offspring” – “into the sea, to float there, food for sharks.”

Then:

The Washington Post’s neoconservative “Right Turn” blogger Jennifer Rubin is one of Abrams’ closest allies in the media. As soon as Abrams tweeted out a link to her exterminationist blog post, Rubin – whose Twitter account is “JRubinBlogger” – retweeted it to her followers, clearly approving of its content.

Will the Post change?

Following an outpouring of complaints, Pexton, then ombudsman, called Rubin’s action “reprehensible,” but she suffered no consequences.

Glenn Greenwald wrote an article in Salon headlined “Why the Washington Post won’t fire Jennifer Rubin” criticizing the paper’s lack of response.

Citing numerous examples of reporters being fired for comments made in social media, Greenwald asked:

Is there any doubt whatsoever that had Rubin promoted a rant spewing these sorts of ugly caricatures about Jewish children and Israelis with accompanying calls for savage violence — rather than directed at Palestinians – that she would have instantly been fired, then castigated and attacked by all Serious precincts?

Alas, Greenwald concluded, “the most extreme forms of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred flourish often with no condemnation and virtually always with no sanction.”

In the month since Pexton wrote his open letter, there’s no sign of the Washington Post taking his advice – in a 19 September post, Rubin once again incites a US military attack on Iran to destroy what she calls its “nuclear weapons capability.”

No credible analyst claims Iran possesses nuclear weapons, but this is the kind of language Rubin uses to push her agenda.

And, as I wrote last week, the Post hired Ruth Eglash, in April, as a reporter in Jerusalem, despite the fact that she’s displayed a clear anti-Palestinian bias and her husband has close business and political ties to the Israeli government.

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Both Abrams and Rubin are perfect examples of the bias and passive aggressive bigotry against Palestinians and Middle Easterners that exists in both the media and its bureaucracy. Bezos and his ilk just condone this notion, which sends a message that it's OK to misinform or propogate without consequence as long as it's at the expense of "our common enemy." The only saving grace is that they're so blatant about their propaganda agenda, hopefully, people will come to see it for what it really is - racism.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.