Troubled Inquirer Hires…John Yoo?

by Brien Jackson

The Philadelphia Inquirer is a newspaper looking at serious financial problems. But that’s ok, because for the bargain basement price about 4 times the going rate of $1,750 a column, the Inquirer has retained the writing services of noted legal scholar soon to be disbarred war criminal and chief architech of the Bush administration torture regime John Yoo. Championship!

Now, there is a potential civic value to printing an op-ed from Yoo in a major newspaper, as Tommy pointed out over in the forum. Had the Inquirer landed a column from Yoo outlining his “thinking” on the legality of what he was authorizing, making the case for his position, or just providing a glimpse into the mind of an institutional sadist, there would have been real news value there, and the Inquirer would have landed a real coup. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the Inquirer has contracted Yoo to write a regular column for them, and his first effort (giving Obama advice on selecting judicial nominees) had nothing to do with torture whatsoever. The Inquirer just seems to think that Yoo is a valuable voice its readers are better for being exposed to. Or, conversely, they realize that hiring Yoo would generate the most amount of links they’ve ever gotten (which is why there are no links in this post, ftr), and could be good for business at the margins. Which isn’t wrong, per se, but if that’s true, it’s just more proof that journalists should really stop pretending that they’re quasi-civil servants, and that the country just can’t survive without them.

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