Journalism Dies in the Dark at the Washington Post

Democracy Dies in Darkness.  This ominous byline to my online feed of Washington Post stories leads me to believe that the stories that I receive will be filled with enlightening journalism objectively reporting on the issues of the day that threaten Democracy.

Only the “most read” feed I get the number 1 topic I come across is  “SNL Hits Ivanka Hard”.  Saturday Night Live, the comedy satire show, is the new source of serious news stories for the Washington Post.

Their version of ‘hitting hard’ is a mock perfume ad for a scent called ‘complicit’.  There isn’t much subtlety to it, and I’m not entirely sure what the Washington Post is suggesting Ivanka should do to “stop” her father.  Do they honestly believe that a comedy bit is going to persuade the daughter of the President of the United States to change his narrative?

Never before have I seen SNL writers so desperate to attack not only a President, but his children, to try to make a political statement.  I have been watching the political satire since the 1970s, and it was always relatively funny.

But something happened when Barack Obama became President.  The show stopped being funny.  Either SNL suddenly became reverent about the office, or couldn’t find anything humorous about the politics of the Obama administration.  I didn’t really care—I had stopped watching the show simply because it wasn’t entertaining anymore.  It was pedantic and boring, and the humor had descended to sophomoric locker room material that had been done much better by previously more talented writers and casts.

At first I thought maybe it was a shift in the political landscape, and SNL had chosen only to go after Republican candidates.  How Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters have escaped the scathing satire pens of the SNL writers is beyond me.  But then I remember Norm McDonald and his weekend updates.

For a very long time, he skewered Hilllary Clinton with one word that brought the house down every time after referring to Hillary Clinton:  liar.

It’s interesting to see the evolution from Norm McDonald’s brutal news updates ending with the one liner “because she’s a liar” and the kid glove treatment they gave Hillary when she was up against Donald Trump.

And as far as I know, Chelsea has always been off limits—there were no perfume ads satirizing her stopping her dad’s behavior, although that’s probably because “complicit” would have had a different meaning as a scent for her mom.

As I scroll down the rest of the WP feed I come across a headline that startles me:

20 years after 7 Israeli schoolgirls were killed, some hail Jordanian shooter as a hero upon his release

I don’t presume to understand the politics of the Middle East.   I do know there are things that are clearly right and wrong.  Yet somehow, the writer of this article is trying to be objective about the opposing viewpoints regarding the release of a man who killed seven Israeli school girls 20 years ago.

The same Washington Post that is willing to report as headline news that SNL went after the daughter of a sitting President for being complicit to—well, I’m not sure exactly what—wants me to believe there are ‘two sides’ to the story of a man who killed SEVEN school girls to make a political statement.

I assumed at some point in the article, the writer would inject language that condemned the brutality of killing children, but instead, she quotes a shopkeeper that all but justifies the killings because of all of the Palestineans killed by Israeli military actions.  It’s simply remarkable.

And sad.

The Washington Post’s solution to keeping its readers ‘in the light’ is to vilify a sitting President by trying to shame his daughter for being related to him, because they politically disagree with him, and kid glove the release of a monster who destroyed any chance for a future for 7 young girls 20 years ago.

Those 7 girls will forever be in darkness, and 20 years later, the Washington Post speaks more about the Jordanian justification for his actions than about the grieving of their parents now knowing this ‘soldier’ will be emboldened by the hero’s welcome he received upon his release. The writer gives only 5 paragraphs to arguments against the shooter, and 11 to viewpoints justifying and explaining the shooter’s motives.

The only thing that will die in the darkness is any chance that WP news stories can be taken seriously.

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