Cancel My Subscription: An Open Letter to the Washington Post


To those too clueless to be concerned:

First, let this letter serve as my formal request to cancel my subscription, effective immediately.

Second, let me express my ardent hope and expectation that I am one of hundreds (thousands?) who shall officially cease helping fund your publication. A publication that has tilted ever rightward in the last two decades, culminating in the unconscionable firing of Dan Froomkin yesterday.

Third, let me tell you a little about myself. My family has been rooted in northern Virginia since the early ’70s and I began reading The Washington Post to get my daily fix of The Far Side; later, to get my fix of Sports; later still to get my fix on events political and otherwise. I started subscribing as soon as I lived on my own, in 1994, and have paid to receive the paper each day ever since. Indeed, even as it became increasingly easy to access content online, I chose not to read The Post online; at first out of habit, later because I wanted to do my part to help sustain the struggling print industry. I continued to pay, even as the size and scope of the coverage decreased; I continued to pay, even as it seemed that every new Op-Ed writer was not merely right-of-center, but hardcore conservative. I continued to pay, even as the insufferable Fred Hiatt and his merry band of neocons refused, after shamefully pimping out the Iraq invasion, to own up to any mistakes or admit any culpability. Indeed, I continued to pay even after the editorial page doubled down on its disgraceful stance and maintained that despite some obvious ineptitude (wow, what a concession), the right choice had been made to invade. I continued to pay even after The Post made the truly insulting decision to employ Bill Kristol, once his intelligence-insulting stint at The New York Times came to an overdue end. I may even have been talked off the ledge after immediately deciding to cancel, in the wake of the announcement that Dan Froomkin had been summarily dismissed (of which more shortly). But on the day after this ignoble decision The Post saw fit to run an Op-Ed from Paul Wolfowitz (Paul Wolfowitz!)–that thoroughly discredited buffoon who did as much as anyone to turn the Iraq adventure into an epic catastrophe–lambasting Obama, as only the most shameless neocons are capable of doing, for his ostensibly ineffective diplomacy. That, as they say, is the final straw.


While it is a thoroughly debunked farce that the mainstream media in America has a discernible liberal bias, it is nevertheless undeniable that The Post has carried a stigma second only to the venerated (and disdained) New York Times. Doubtless this at least in part due to the historical scoop Woodward and Bernstein uncovered, leading to the Watergate story and Nixon’s subsequent resignation. (To think that actual reporting done by real human beings to prove that crimes were being committed in the White House somehow signifies any type of liberal agenda is both amusing and appalling.) Nevertheless, there were two unfortunate aftershocks from the Watergate revelations. One, because Nixon was a Republican, it gave GOP operatives ample, if facile, ammunition to charge that The Washington Post had a strategic and systematic disdain for conservative politics. Two, the success of this hysterical and myopic (but quite successful) talking point, second only to the blind fetishization of the free market in terms of the force and frequency with which it is employed, has caused timid publications, like The Post, to tremble like the cowed and co-opted enterprises they truly are.

The decision to fire Froomkin stinks so badly, on so many levels, it’s hardly worth discussing in detail. Besides, I could not hope to improve upon the (typically) solid and unassailable observations made by Glenn Greenwald (more here) and Andrew Sullivan. Suffice it to say, despite the fact that Froomkin is unarguably one of the most popular and respected writers The Post employs, his services, somehow, are no longer deemed necessary. Really? Good luck with that, Graham. As your paper hemorrhages money, you decide to terminate (in transparently petty and politically-calculated fashion) one of the handful of writers who inspired loyal readers  to keep you afloat. This is beyond hubris and seems practically a dare to your readership: What are you going to do about it? I’m going to cancel. Now.

My condolences,

Sean Murphy



  1. Serfincyberspace says:

    I think that was pretty clear, no further comment.


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