Today is Dan Froomkin's last day at the Washington Post. For reasons I will never understand the Post has fired Dan, and I for one will sorely miss him. I was going to send Dan an e-mail, just to say how much I have appreciated his work, but chose to do this instead. He was one of only a few writers for any major paper that truly seemed committed to being an honest broker of both news and analysis. I felt he did not get the respect he deserved because he was critical of the Bush administration. He, like so many, seemed to be dismissed as a Bush-hater or seeking to appeal to that "narrow" audience. In reality he was seeing and speaking the truth, and he had the temerity to offer his analysis based on facts versus the alternative reality followed by most in the media. Perhaps most egregious of all, time has proved him right.
As I lived through Bush's run through the republican primary in '99/'00 I was dumbfounded by two things: that the media went along with the fictional narrative of who Bush was, and the ease with which the entire field was cleared for him (except McCain). And then came years of watching a mainstream media that had done all it could to tear down Clinton, Gore and democrats, the serious media, which would dismiss reality and run with the talking points.
I was weaned on real journalism: Selma, Vietnam, Watergate. Then came Clinton, Whitewater, Lewinski. Then Bush. I was going out of my mind. Then I founds the blogs, this site, and others. And then came Dan:
I started my column in January 2004, and one dominant theme quickly emerged: That George W. Bush was truly the proverbial emperor with no clothes. In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve.
Dan was my kindred spirit in the real media, making some amends for the likes of Russert, Woodward, Judith Miller, and on and on. Reading Dan's column let me know I was not crazy, and reminded me of what real journalism is supposed to do. And for this the Post fires him.
When I look back on the Bush years, I think of the lies. There were so many. Lies about the war and lies to cover up the lies about the war. Lies about torture and surveillance. Lies about Valerie Plame. Vice President Dick Cheney's lies, criminally prosecutable but for his chief of staff Scooter Libby's lies. I also think about the extraordinary and fundamentally cancerous expansion of executive power that led to violations of our laws and our principles.
And so Bush is gone, but as Dan points out: there is so much about the Bush era will still don't know. Like me, I know Dan cares about this. But I wonder if anyone else at the Post does.
Thank you Dan, and best wishes my friend.