P-G moving towards accountability

I learned today via 2 Political Junkies that Jack Kelly is no longer the national security columnist for the Post-Gazette, but from Mr. Kelly’s blog, this is the new situation:

The reason is I’ve been fired as the national security writer. I’ve been forbidden to write news stories about national defense.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds. As most of you have doubtless noticed, I’m still free to write about national defense in my column, and management now tosses a few bucks my way to do reporting on defense in my column. Also now, my column takes precedence. I now get three days to write the two columns I write each week, and am a straight news reporter for two. Before, I was a columnist two days a week, a straight news reporter for three.

He is now the Fitness reporter for the Post Gazette as well as a national security columnist. This demotion has occurred because Media Matters was able to effectively call bullshit on one of his many factually challenged tirades, more specifically about Katrina where he adapted the line that diseaster relief was hard work and it was a liberal media conspiracy that President Bush and his administration were doing a poor job at it.

I applaud the Post-Gazette for instituting some accountability measure on Mr. Kelly. However I am disappointed in the measure that they chose. I have found Mr. Kelly’s defense work when he is not editorializing to be of a high quality and well written. I doubt that I will read his work on the P-G Fitness section but that is because I don’t read that section anyways. The problem that the P-G is responding to is Mr. Kelly’s detachment from reality and his attachment towards being a propagandist for the Republicna Party on the editorial pages. However they dimish his reporting responsiblities while not changing his editorial responsibility. This does not flow from the complaint that has been brought forward.

I have long found Mr. Kelly to be extremely uninformative and a waste of space on the editorial page because he is merely a mouthpiece for whatever piece of neo-con truthiness that needed to be catapulted over the wall that week. He seldom provided interesting and accurate information in his columns and repeatedly and personally attacked critics who raised factual questions about his underlying assumptions. I was the recipient of one of those fun tirades during the fall of 2002 at a Carnegie Mellon symposium when I quietly and politely engaged him about the ehtnic breakdowns of Iraq after an informative discussion at McConomy Auditorium.

Most importantly, on the issue of his supposed expertise, national security, he has been consistently wrong — just see his colum history on Iraq where he has propounded that the liberal media is the sole reason for Iraq being a mess, and that things are going swimmingly, to Syria being the recipient of Hussein’s WMDs in the days before the invasion, to the repeated claims that the insurgency was going to collapse in 2005. He is not adding to the public debate by introducing controversial and verifiable assertions that are proven true to future events.

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