Post Reporter: Reader Comments on Race 'Often Reek' of 'Ignorance'

In her Sunday column, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell addressed how the Post reporters and editors respond to complaints about their work on the website and in E-mail. Most Posties she talked to tried to sound receptive to public criticism. But not Darryl Fears, who wants "intolerant" and "ignorant" comments scrubbed off the website:

Web site comments can be more than ugly and are often aimed at private citizens quoted in stories. National reporter Darryl Fears would stop them. "Comments attached to stories about race, ethnicity and related issues such as immigration often reek of racism, intolerance and ignorance. To ignore them, in my opinion, is to endorse them."

Neither Fears nor Howell provide actual examples of what an "ignorant" comment is. The article also leaves the reader confused as to whether Fears the Censor would scrub comments about private citizens, or prevent all comments on stories about race and ethnicity. 

As a reporter, Fears has displayed a tendency to play down the rhetorical ugliness of black activists, as the NAACP suggested George W. Bush was a killer and implied that conservatives flew the swastika. Inside the Post, Fears is an advocate for staff diversity, complaining the Post staff is still 80 percent white.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis