Does the Observer’s Ben Smith really think that mainstream newspapers should maintain a blacklist against social conservatives?
So it would seem:

This is such a perfect snapshot of the way in which the News constantly gets tangled over its own feet in trying to be, and yet not be, the Post. Hiring a woman banished from Murdoch-land for conservatism somehow crystallizes that.

But it’s also a classic News misstep. [Dawn] Eden‘s not a New York conservative like Ryan Sager or Robert George, the younger, libertarian generation on the Post’s editorial page who represent, in some way, the way in which the movement has a future in New York. Her conservatism is more U.S. House of Representatives …

And so the Daily News barrels into the future.

Wow. I guess it’s a “mistep” to hire someone with a similar philosophy as Republicans in the House of Representatives, huh? Heaven forbid we have a single employee who doesn’t think like everyone else in New York…

Just so there’s no confusion: Sager and George are members of the Post’s editorial board. Their political views are actually relevant to their job.

What a copy editor thinks or blogs off the job … how does it matter? I don’t care if a copy editor is an adherent of Karl Marx — I just want them to know grammar and style and have an eye for witty headlines.

It’s also a bit of a stretch for Smith to write that a copy editor writing a Sunday piece for their newspaper is “moving on up.” Gawker translates this into saying Eden has been “promoted,” which I don’t think is what Dawn meant at all. (I wasn’t at work Friday and have no idea what she’s up to).

UPDATE: Okay, so the big surprise is, Dawn has a column about blogs in Sunday’s paper. Ironically enough, it’s on page 34, the same page as my story on cell phone porn. It looks like this is going to be a weekly thing, so it’s fair to say she is “moving on up.”

That said, I still think it’s silly to say someone’s political views should keep them from writing a column about blogging, jazz, running, sports, fashion, or what have you. There’s a big difference between those sorts of columns and an op-ed columnist.

If people want to criticize the substance of the column, that’s something else entirely … I’m not here to defend it.

UPDATE 2: Smith has a follow-up here. I do agree with what he says about questions on homosexuality being irrelevant and settled to most of our readers … we’ll see if they make an appearance in the column.

11 comments to blacklisting

  • nancy

    um, derek, you may want to go take a fresh look at a) what happened at the post and b) how rare it is that copy editors get a chance to write columns. as relates to b), the minute a copy editor gets a column of any type, they are no longer simply futzing with commas and quotation marks. and as for a), if memory serves she was fired for inserting her own, pro-conservative view into someone else’s copy. would you like it if someone did thta to you?

  • Is Dawn getting a column, or simply writing a single Sunday article? My impression from reading her blog-post was the latter, but I don’t claim to have any inside information on this.

    There is certainly an argument to be made that messing with someone’s copy the way Dawn did is so serious that we shouldn’t have hired her. I know that some of my fellow reporters think that, and I don’t intend to argue that point here (I certainly don’t take what she did lightly). But that’s not the argument Smith made … he just seemed to be saying we shouldn’t hire social conservatives.

    P.S. Even if she is getting a column, I think people should probably wait to read one or two before criticizing …

  • nancy

    I think you need to read Smith’s posting a little more carefully. He didn’t seem to be suggesting that only one paper, and not another, should hire conservatives. Instead, his point appeared to be about the constructing of a hipper, younger, more flexible product, and about whether she fits in with that concept.

  • He seemed to be saying that the libertarian-conservatives are fine, but the social conservatives are not … personally, I don’t see how the political views of a single copy editor has anything to do with a paper’s “hipness.”

    And again, if she’s writing a column, it’s probably best to wait and see it before critiquing. Maybe it’s a pop-music column!

    P.S. Re-reading Smith’s column, I think he is pretty clear: hiring Eden is a “misstep” because she is a “U.S. House of Representatives” conservative, defending stuff like the Christian attack on Sponge-Bob.

  • nancy

    She is more than a copy editor, from my understanding. She edits copy, makes story selections for the national edition and writes headlines. Her blog is now essentially part of the Daily News landscape (she welcomes Daily News readers on her blog). So therefore, how can she be a “fair and balanced” news editor when her views are so public. If any other editor blogged about issues they edited, they’d be in trouble. At least at a legit newspaper….

  • nancy

    You guys are sooooo jealous! Just relax. Dawn was writing articles and books before you were born, almost before she was born. She was a well-kept secret, but had loads of fans and followers, even when she was only a chic liberal musicologist. Hey, her “editing faux” wasn’t what got her fired from the fat guy, who had never even met her before he played the Trump-wannabe act. He just hated her opinions. Hey, the Post lost that case behind the scenes, hush, hush. The Col-onoscopy was out of legal bounds. Why don’t you just wait and see what Dawn does at the News? Stop reading her blog, if it offends you! She must be saying something that speaks for a bunch of people who YOU offend. Relax. There is room for you and her, too. We promise she won’t be changing your copy. You can use all the foul language you want. Be our guest. We’ll probably keep reading you, and we’ll make up our own minds.

  • nancy

    Jealousy has nothing to do with it; it’s all about the fact that her “journalism” is bad — and that she is essentially an enemy. There are plenty of red states for her to settle in. She should leave the island of misfits now that she’s decided to become a House of Representatives right-winger.

  • nancy

    Ha, Ha, Ha! Oh, you’re so “tolerant”! You agree with the old right-wingers of the Viet Nam era: “America, Love It Or Leave It!” Your message is “New York, Love (the Way ‘We Think’) or Leave It!” There are hosts of people in New York who don’t take your opinions as a given. You are not in agreement with many of the poor, minorities, religious, working people, who want to bring up our kids with the values we were given. And don’t play games here. You know what those values are. Don’t play with words to negate them. You know that you are a person who thinks only of sating her appetite and getting a pat on the head for it, or at least having no one tell her she is wrong. If you were so “Blue-State” idealistic, you would have room for people who want to live a different lifestyle from you. Incidentally, you really should retake that test. The Department of Health gives it free.

  • “Essentially an enemy”? Jeez louise, someone needs to chill out…

    People should sign their comments — or at least use a pseudonym … otherwise it’s a bit confusing.

    I agree with the 9:23 p.m. commenter about the News being big enough for everyone … and I do know that Dawn has a ton of fans.

    The 8:35p.m. commenter (who I think left about half these comments) raised two fair questions. I agree, once a newspaper columnist promotes their blog in a column, it’s no longer strictly a personal, non-work-related affair. I trust the editors have worked out all those issues in advance.

    He also asks, “How can she be a ‘fair and balanced’ news editor when her views are so public.” But of course we all have political views, and it’s foolish to pretend otherwise. My buddy Matt Welch argues that all mainstream reporters ought to disclose their voting records as an exercise in transparency. I don’t agree, but it’s an interesting argument … anyone who is inclined to yell “bias” simply because we have a single openly conservative editor needs to realize she’s pretty much vastly outnumbered.

  • […] for questioning the wisdom of the Daily News in giving Dawn Eden a column. Her colleague Derek Rose wrote that we want to blacklist social conservatives. Others thought we were being intolerant of her […]

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