The Washington Post announced this week that it was creating an award in the name of former executive editor Ben Bradlee, who died last week at the age of 93 from natural causes.
In making the announcement, publisher Fred Ryan and executive editor Marty Baron said that Bradlee had championed the qualities of persistence and fearlessness in getting at the truth, and that “his fervor continues to inspire us.”
The statement went on to say that the award will be given annually to honor the relentless and courageous pursuit of truth by an individual or team of Washington Post journalists, and that while there will be a cash component, the real value is being associated with the principles of one of the greatest journalists of all time.
What’s so great about a man who, in a June 1978 letter to Accuracy in Media founder and Chairman Reed Irvine, called him a “miserable, carping, retromingent vigilante,” and said he was sick of wasting his time communicating with him?
Then there’s the question of why the Post would choose to honor someone whose reign as editor was blemished by the Janet Cooke story about an eight-year-old heroin addict. The story turned out to be made up. But even though questions were raised at the time, the Post submitted it for a Pulitzer Prize, which it won, and later returned after the paper determined it was indeed a hoax.
That alone should have discouraged the Post from creating the award, but it isn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last, that they ignore the facts to prop up a liberal.