Retiring WaPo editor claims he stopped having private opinions about issues
Romenesko has this tidbit from a web chat with retiring Washington Post editor, Leonard Downie Jr.:
Arlington, Va.: You are known for being so objective that you don't vote. Now that you are retiring, will register and vote?
Leonard Downie Jr.: I'll have to think about that since I didn't just stop voting, I stopped having even private opinions about politicians or issues so that I would have a completely open mind in supervising our coverage. It may be hard to change.
Falsehood, self-delusion, or terrifying statement of fact? In your private opinion...
Update: A personal reminiscence from a longtime reader who asks to remain anonymous.
I actually know Len Downie a little. He was the father of a classmate of mine growing up, and even before he took over as Top Cheese at WaPo, he had this whole objective TO THE EXTREME thing going on.
Two things that have stayed with me since I was a kid and he came to visit our classes:
(1) When he came and spoke in front of our class he would tell us that he didn't vote because he wanted to maintain his objectivity (as if the activity of voting, rather than the thought behind it, would compromise it). Obviously, being in 6th, 7th and 8th grade, I didn't really get the ludicrousness of it. I will say, however, that he expressed this opinion very sincerely. He is as deceived as he is deceiving.
(2) I do remember him talking about objectivity, and then talking about taking things the Pentagon had said during Iraq War I at face value, even though he was pretty sure they were being dishonest because there was a war on. He said it with pride (this was in the couple of years afterward the war when America being totally Awesome and Righteous was still in vogue even at the hippie school I went to). I remember being struck by that even then, that I knew I couldn't trust the media in war time if they felt that knowingly deceiving themselves in a time of war was a virtue.
Anyway... so that's that.