The Bankruptcy of The Washington Post Editorial Page

To understand why Washington insiders are so often so wrong and why big-city newspaper circulation is down so far, read the editorial page of The Washington Post.

Not only was the editorial page dead wrong about the Iraq war when it mattered, becoming the house organ for neoconservatives. It was so intolerant of alternate opinion that the Post had to write a semi-apology editorial several years ago.

Even the long list of retired military personnel who publicly opposed the war, and active-duty military leaders whom everyone in Washington knew privately opposed the war, were not even mentioned or allowed op-eds in the Post for two solid years.

The Post, of course, published its famous Sunday Outlook story by Victoria Toensing at the moment the Scooter Libby case went to the jury, a ridiculous and outrageous move for a Washington newspaper to do, when the case went to a Washington jury hours after publication.

Now the neoconservative-Washington insider wing of the Post, housed on its editorial and op-ed pages, attacks Barack Obama for his small donors.

First David Broder, once called the dean of Washington political reporters, and today Ruth Marcus, entirely miss the point in their attacks on Obama.

It is true that Barack has bundlers, but it is far truer that the average donation to Obama is now $88 per donor, with a huge mass of money from historically small donors who are revolutionizing and reforming campaign finance.

Mr. Broder and Ms. Marcus are not attuned to these average Americans pouring their money, their hearts and their feet into a campaign that represents, objectively, a huge surge of democratic participation.

It is the small donors who have far more power in this campaign than the bundlers. That is the magic and power of the thing. The 1.5 million and growing mass of small donors averaging $88 per donation have, when they are combined together, far more power than the bundlers, lobbyists and insiders.

Moreover, this money is being used not only for television ads, but for democratizing voter registration, and democratizing get-out-the-vote that will propel even further the surge of democratic participation. Participation among small donors plus participation in primaries and caucuses plus participation in getting out the vote is the real reform that cleanses the system.

What is amazing about The Washington Post editorial page is not that they disagree with these views, but that they so misrepresent the facts and are so poorly informed about what is really happening.

Supporting the Iraq war before it was waged, standing up for Scooter Libby and Cheney, sounding war drums towards Iran, showing contempt for an army of small donors entering the system, this is no wonder:

The only thing going down faster than the credibility of the Post editorial page is the circulation from readers who no longer believe these editorials speak truth to power, or truth to them.