At the very end of 2015, The Washington Post dumped a socialist columnist – Harold Meyerson, winner of this year’s “Ku Klux Con Job Award." The reason? Low readership. It sounds like his audience may have been pretty limited to Bernie Sanders die-hards and conservative media critics looking for wacky quotes.
Hadas Gold at Politico noted Bernie Sanders tweeted out "There are few progressive voices in corporate media. @HaroldMeyerson is one of the best. His insights will be sorely missed by Post readers.” New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin beat his breast: "Hope this is not true. @HaroldMeyerson is a well-sourced, deeply-read liberal voice."
Over at The Huffington Post, writer Peter Dreier just unleashed on Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, who now has tilted the Post op-ed page to the right. Say what?
Hiatt apparently gave Meyerson no warning that his job was at risk. It couldn't have been that the paper already had too many lefties. The Post's current line-up of regular columnists includes conservatives George Will, Kathleen Parker, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson, and Marc Thiessen, and (with Meyerson out the door) but only two real liberals, Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne, and no one with Meyerson's leftist views....
If Meyerson was a European, his views would be considered those of a left-of-center social democrat, but hardly radical. Many European newspapers would welcome his views as fitting within the normal spectrum of political discourse. But in the United States, a weekly columnist for a major newspaper who defines himself or herself as a "democratic socialist" is not simply a rarity, it is now -- with Hiatt's firing of Meyerson -- an extinct species.
In his own statement, Hiatt refuted Dreier’s odd take that only two liberals write for the Post, including that socialist Katrina Vanden Heuvel:
"The Post opinion section takes pride in publishing a wide range of views, including progressives Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, Ruth Marcus, Greg Sargent, Paul Waldman and Katrina vanden Heuvel and contributing columnists Rachel Maddow and Danielle Allen. We’ve been pleased to publish Harold’s columns for the past 13 years, but he failed to attract readers as these others have. And while our decision should never be made based only on clicks, I think it would be arrogant to entirely ignore what our readers are telling us" editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement to Politico.
Hiatt did not include a few other liberal Post opinionators he has touted elsewhere: Alyssa Rosenberg and Catherine Rampell, Dana Milbank and Alexandra Petri, Jonathan Capehart and Fareed Zakaria. This does NOT count the liberal columnists outside Hiatt's shop, such as Petula Dvorak and Courtland Milloy in Metro, the Post Magazine "humorist" Gene Weingarten, or Lonnae O'Neal and LGBT "advice" man Steven Petrow and chief book reviewer Ron Charles in Style.
The idea that the WashPost's opinions now tilt toward the George Will right is objectively false.