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Columnist: Heal Thyself!

It's strange to watch op-ed columnists using their valuable and finite real estate to complain that the real problem with Barack Obama accepting is that there were more deserving recipients. One might say the same about these op-ed columns, which could surely be about something more useful.

Ross Douthat, for instance, says it will be "offensive when Obama takes the stage in Oslo this November instead of Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s heroic opposition leader." By that same logic, it seems a bit offensive for Douthat to spend his column arguing that Obama should give back the Nobel rather than devoting his column to the struggles of Tsvangirai, who has never before been mentioned in one of Douthat's op-eds. That's all the more true given that Douthat chooses the subject of his columns, while Obama does not choose the recipients of the Nobel.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 12, 2009; 12:05 PM ET
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I am willing to take Douthat's arguments on this issue seriously because I suspect he might know a thing or two about receiving things that aren't deserved while more qualified people are passed over.

Posted by: constans | October 12, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: sfmandrew | October 12, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

True-ish. Douthat was criticizing Obama for not returning the prize, and many on the left said the same. The point about Tsvangirai was that the Nobel committee had made the mistake, which Obama ought to have acknowledged properly by declining the prize. Douthat would say his mission is not to draw attention to worthy causes in Zimbabwe but to hold Obama to account, which isn't unreasonable.

Posted by: CorkExaminer | October 12, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I love how the outrage has steadily receded since Friday morning. First it was an embarassment and potentially damaging to Obama's presidency and completely undeserved. Then people found a way to be happy for the president and the country. Then people acknowledged that this is, at a minimum, a huge statement of support for what this committee perceives as a new direction for the U.S. Now we are at the last phase of the outrage, where we acknolwedge that the prize is good for America and that the world has clearly spoken of its approval for Obama's engagement policies but gosh it could have gone to Morgan Tsvangerai or someone else that the outraged normally don't care about. Lesson of the day: The DC opinion-makers often don't think before making their opinions. They just listen to what's being said around them and then just join in the chorus. This is why DC is not an international intellectual center. People refuse to think on their own.

Posted by: phillycomment | October 12, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Douthat seems to be in the running for the Washington Post Prize for Fact Checking in honor of George Will, inasmuch as the ceremony for the Nobel Prize for Peace takes place annually on December 10.

Posted by: andrewlong | October 12, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, your words into Fred Hiatt's ears...

Posted by: GCReptile | October 12, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

There's plenty to write about if you're a conservative columnist with a liberal President in office or vice versa, but the truly silliest ones are the pompous thumb-sucking columns from some of these people like Douthat and the rest who portend to be offering advice to the President.

Its a ridiculous device, and fortunately I dont buy newspapers anymore to put up with it!

Posted by: zeppelin003 | October 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I read each Douthat column aloud, jaws slack, marveling at how someone so mediocre and smug in his hermetically sealed right-wing Catholicism could land a gig on the op-ed page of the Grey Lady. If I recall correctly, though, when Rosenthal hired Douthat, the announcement was cheered by Ezra, Yglesias and the rest of the boyz as a sensible move.

Posted by: scarlota | October 12, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

oh, here it is. ahem.. Is Douthat taking a run at whatever Maureen Dowd's niche is?

Posted by: bdballard | October 12, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, your words into Fred Hiatt's ears...

Posted by: GCReptile | October 12, 2009 1:08 PM


In one ear and out the other. Fred's job is to play to the Graham Family. It isn't to publish the truth. It really isn't even to sell papers or get internet traffic. It's simply to turn the WaPo Editorial Page into churning out the propoganda that the Graham Family wants published.

And we must admit that Fred does an exceptional job at doing what he's told to do.

First Rule Of Employment: Keep The Boss/Owner Happy

Second Rule Of Employment: Slow Down And Read #1 Again

Sad reality of the WaPo editorial pages. While it's very worthwhile to point out the lies, ommissions, propaganda, intellectual dishonesty and sheer stupidity on the Editorial Pages, we need to stop knocking Fred for it being his "fault" and instead point out that he's little more than a trained seal honking the horn to get more fish.


Posted by: toshiaki | October 12, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Scotty Reston must be spinning in his grave...

Posted by: slowpoke132 | October 12, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

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