In 2011 the Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin came in at the number two spot on Salon’s worse media hacks list, The Washington Post blogger is hateful and repetitive
Here’s a brief list of greatest hits: Her legendarily dumb column “wondering” why American Jews were largely repulsed by Sarah Palin, which concluded that it was because, as we all know, American Jews are rootless cosmopolitan elites who spend their time sneering at real Americans like hardscrabble blue-collar working mom Sarah Palin. Repeatedly accusing President Obama — the one with all the targeted assassinations and expanded use of secret executive surveillance and counterterrorism powers — of being soft on terrorism because he doesn’t intentionally antagonize the Arab world with inflammatory language. Endorsing the absurd New Black Panthers Party conspiracy theory. Frequently endorsing and retweeting the blatantly racist and occasionally eliminationist anti-Arab writings of her friend Rachel Abrams. Regularly getting things wrong and quoting things out of context and never apologizing. Being awful.
Also mentioned in that piece is Rubins most infamous hackery to date. Before anyone knew what the motivations of the Oslo mass killer were ( he was actually a white ultra conservative anti-Islam zealot), Rubin jumped on the web and said that the murders were the workings of a Muslim radical. While that post was taken down – after 24 hours – to date Rubin has not apologized to the public for clearly shoving aside basic journalistic integrity to make a headline and get some attention. Being a hack at WaPo, or being such a bombastic hack takes some effort considering the company Rubin keeps. The WaPo is also home to Mr. Torture Marc Thiessen, perhaps the most bitter pundit in America Charles Krauthammer, Science hater George Will and Charles Lane. No one reads Lane or ever quotes him, so he may not count. I’ve posted several times about the psychology of challenging these kinds of people. They are not just professional fact deniers, once challenged they dig in even harder on their beloved theories. It is not about advancing the truth regardless of political persuasion – a noble endeavor. These theories are almost always, could have been plagiarized from newspapers on the planet Bizarro. Rubin’s strange reportage of the DOJ’s handling of the New Black Panthers voting rights case was wrong in 2011. It is still wrong. The facts about that case have been out for a while. With the release of a new report by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) entitled, A Review of the Operations of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division (pdf). Rubin writes in today’s drool, Justice Department’s civil rights division disaster: What will Holder do now?
Since August 2009, I have been writing about the politicization of the Justice Department. Less than a handful of conservative journalists pursued this, and mainstream media outlets almost entirely ignored all the aspects of this story, including the infamous New Black Panther case. It turns out that, at least in the Civil Rights Division, things were much worse than most imagined.
…John Fund cites some of the key findings of the IG report, as does former DOJ employee Christian Adams. The IG declined to find a racial or political motive for dismissing the New Black Panther case but found actions surrounding that action “risked undermining confidence in the non-ideological enforcement of the voting rights laws.” In other words, it sure looked partisan.
Rubin and i might agree that the New Black panthers are assclowns and at least two of the Panthers outside that polling place were master assclowns. That said let’s get to the report. The report that Rubin uses as her authoritative source,
On November 4, 2008 (Election Day), two African-American men stood outside of the entrance to a polling site on Fairmount Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The men were members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and wore matching paramilitary clothing, such as trousers tucked into their boots and berets adorned with the NBPP insignia. One of the men carried a nightstick. Witnesses videotaped the men standing outside the polling place and uploaded the videos to the Internet.
Shortly thereafter, the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (the Division or CRT) initiated an investigation into the matter. On January 7, 2009, days before the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the Division filed a civil action against the two NBPP members in the videos, the NBPP’s national chairman, and the organization itself. The complaint filed by the Division alleged violations of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which in general terms prohibits intimidation or attempted intimidation of voters or other individuals assisting voters.
On May 15, 2009, the Division moved the court to dismiss the complaint against three of the four defendants – namely, the NBPP, its chairman, and one of the two members that were present at the polling station in Philadelphia on Election Day. The Division continued the action against the fourth defendant, the individual who stood outside the polling site holding a nightstick, and sought a default judgment and an injunction prohibiting him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in Philadelphia through 2013. The court granted the Division’s requested relief on May 18, 2009.
Nothing in the report validates Rubin’s claim that any inappropriate action or lack of action took place. basic journalism. This is where Rubin gets her quote from, “risked undermining confidence in the non-ideological enforcement of the voting rights laws.”
In the highly controversial NBPP matter, we found that the decisions that were reached by both administrations were ultimately supportable on nonracial and non-partisan grounds. However, we also found that the manner in which the outgoing administration filed the case without following usual practice and the new administration’s dismissal of Jackson as a defendant at the eleventh hour, particularly viewing the latter in the context of the contemporaneous discussions about removing Coates as Section Chief, both risked undermining confidence in the non-ideological enforcement of the voting rights laws. (Page 257)
Though for the sake of appearances, because some people could take these actions out of context, could see them as maybe not appearing as something they were not. Which is exactly what Rubin and other conservative analyst have done. Rubin, for some reason, puts up part of that section’s findings, with the bold I have above and still concludes that Attorney General Holder is running a wildly corrupt operation. The Bush administration started the NBPP investigations and decided not to file criminal charges. One of the biggest reason for that is that not one voter came forward to say they felt intimated from voting because of their presence. Rubin also writes,
What we do know is that the man currently presiding over the division allowed extreme and rampant misbehavior to occur or was simply clueless about what was happening in his own division.
Did she come to that after reading several findings scattered through a report that runs 251 pages, not including the index. Here are some more excerpts from a report where she finds that the DOJ’s civil rights division is a “disaster”.
On March 17, 2011, OPR issued a report concerning its investigation into the NBPP matter. A redacted version of the OPR report was subsequently released publicly on the House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic website. OPR concluded that Department officials did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment in connection with the NBPP matter, but rather acted appropriately in the exercise of their supervisory duties. OPR further found that the Department’s decision to dismiss three of the four defendants and to seek more narrowly tailored injunctive relief against the fourth defendant was based on a good-faith assessment of the law and facts of the case and had a reasonable basis. According to its report, OPR found no evidence that partisan politics was a motivating factor in reaching the Department’s decision or that the decision-makers were influenced by the race of the defendants or any considerations other than an assessment of the available evidence and the applicable law. OPR also stated that it had concluded that the decision to initiate the NBPP case was based upon a good-faith assessment of the facts and the law, that it found no evidence that partisan politics was a motivating factor in authorizing the suit against the four defendants.
This is relatively clear even in bureaucratic speak – no professional misconduct occurred, but they did fail to dot some i’s. Officials were not guilty of using race as a special consideration in favor of the defendants. This is the far Right’s major complaint. Holder is an African-American. The NBPP are African-Americans. They were not prosecuted because of what had to be racial favoritism. Did not happen according to the report Rubin is using as her authority. based on that fact alone, why isn’t WaPo management telling Rubin to pack her stuff right now based on grave journalistic misconduct. There is more,
Our earlier investigation of politicized hiring in CRT, which examined all Sections in CRT from 2001 to 2007, found that political and ideological considerations did not influence hiring and personnel decisions except in those sections that Schlozman supervised. Our report found that Schlozman relied upon political and ideological considerations when making hiring and other personnel decisions in the Voting Section and the four other sections he supervised.171 The evidence developed during our earlier investigation also showed that the AAGs and Principal DAAGs who supervised Schlozman failed to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that Schlozman did not engage in inappropriate hiring and personnel practices.
Why didn’t Rubin mention Bradley Schlozman. He supervised the Voting Section in his capacity as Principal DAAG and Acting AAG. he is a conservative who based his hiring practices on ideology – a very strong anti-liberal ideology. Though it does seem that Bradley hated most people, not just liberals. The Perez Rubin referes to is the one that fixed the system to make it more diffuclt for people like Bradley to rig the system to either conservative or Democrat.
AAG Perez also issued guidance to the Division on December 10, 2009, and July 13, 2010, on the need to follow merit system principles in hiring and avoid “prohibited personnel practices.”176 We found that comparable guidance was issued by AAG Wan Kim in June 2007, by Acting AAG Grace Chung Becker in August 2008, and by Acting AAG Loretta King in early 2009.
In our interview of AAG Perez, he said that his main concern with hiring when he returned to the Department in October 2009 was to reestablish the role of career staff.177 In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2011, Perez said that he was “quite confident” that merit-based hiring had been restored in CRT, and that the Division hires attorneys with civil rights backgrounds because relevant experience is very helpful. P.192
Rubin also conveniently ignores,
Other hiring committee members unanimously stated the same belief and that the resumes of Republicans or conservatives were treated fairly. The sole self-identified Republican on the hiring committee told the OIG that in this person’s view, the hiring committee functioned in an ideologically neutral way and that politics and ideology were not part of the hiring committee’s deliberations.
The Civil Rights Division did go through a staffing phase where they hired more litigators. Since the DOJ did not want to hire unqualified lawyers and did not practice affirmative action for conservatives, few conservatives applied and the ones that did were not as qualified as Democratic attorneys,
As Table 5.1 demonstrates, the new hires as a group had significantly more litigation experience than the candidates who were not hired. For example, 56 percent (5 of 9) of the new hires had 8 or more years of litigation experience. By comparison, only 23 percent (107 of 473) of the rejected applicants as a whole had this much experience. The differences are even greater with respect to voting litigation experience: 78 percent of the new hires (7 of 9) had 2 or more years of voting litigation experience, compared to 3 percent of all rejected candidates (15 of 473). In addition, 33 percent of the new hires (3 of 9) previously worked as trial attorneys in the Voting Section.
In connection with our review of the hiring of career attorneys in the Voting Section since 2009, we did not identify any e-mails, documents, or testimony indicating that CRT staff purposely considered political or ideological affiliations when hiring experienced trial attorneys for the Voting Section. The overall applicant pool was evenly split between those with Democratic or liberal affiliations and those with unknown affiliations, but that there were only 10 applicants with identifiably Republican affiliations out of 482 total applicants. Our evaluation of CRT documents and witness statements and assessment of hiring statistics showed that CRT staff focused primarily on litigation experience related to voting rights when making hiring selection decisions, and that the subset of applicants with such experience was characterized by a high concentration of applicants with Democratic Party or liberal affiliations.
We determined that since publication of our earlier report on politicized hiring in CRT, the Division implemented numerous reforms to address the issues in the hiring process that our report described. CRT established new policies that limit the role of political appointees in the hiring process and that require mandatory training on merit system principles for members of CRT hiring committees.
If Rubin is trying to make Salons’ hack list for 2013, she is off to a very good start. Rubin is an opinion columnist and we seem to live in a Rupert Murdoch world where there is no truth, only differences of opinion. Yet some old fashioned Americans remember ideals, like facts and integrity count in journalism, even when giving an opinion.