It's always ironic when big-time professional journalists, who often spend their time holding public figures accountable, suddenly aren't so interested in being held accountable when they're the ones being scrutinized. The latest/greatest example is Forbes magazine and the crew of editors on the masthead who have apparently taken a vow of silence when it comes to talking about the magazine's error-filled, and widely condemned, Obama cover story.
Simple question: Why the silence? I realize Dinesh D'Souza who wrote the piece has responded to some of the criticism, but why not anyone at Forbes. What are they hiding from?
If staffers at Forbes think D'Souza's insights into the president are dead-on, then why won't they step forward and say so? If D.C. Bureau Chief, Brian Wingfield, is sure the cover story represented prescient political commentary and historical research masterfully presented, then why won't he come forward and so say? And if Forbes editor-in-chief, Steve Forbes, remains proud of the cover story, why won't he go on the record and articulate that so there is no doubt?
Instead, all we get is a flaccid "statement" from the magazine that doesn't address the many issues surrounding the D'Souza fiasco.
The point is that for whatever reason, Forbes as an institution, made a calculated decision to publish what is perhaps the most vicious and mean-spirited attack on Obama as a man and a son. And now nobody has the nerve to take ownership. Nobody at Forbes has the guts to answer questions about the piece, such as:
-Who assigned it?
-Who edited it?
-Did Steve Forbes see the final version before it was published?
-Did any senior editors object to the tone/content while it was in editing process?
-Was the article actually fact-checked?
-If so, who oversaw the fact-checking process?
As I said, journalists love to attack those in the public arena. But when it comes time for them to answer tough questions, they hide behind flaks and press releases.
I think the Obama cover story has done extraordinary damage to the Forbes brand. But I'd actually respect the magazine if someone -- anyone -- on staff in a position of power had the courage to come forward and be held accountable for, or even try to argue on behalf of, the D'Souza train wreck.
Instead, we get cowardly silence.
Crossposted at County Fair, a Media Matters blog.