Greg Sargent's The Plum Line blog on WhoRunsGov.com, a Washington Post site that runs online biographies of D.C. "players and personalities," has an interesting post on Bush White House torture memo writer John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor finishing up his spring semester visiting professor gig at Chapman University in Orange.
In addition to those jobs, Yoo has been contracted since 2008 to write a monthly column for the Philadelphia Inquirer. There's nothing too odd about that as newspapers long have wrangled newsmakers to opine regularly about this and that--although the Inquirer was forced to defend the decision amid criticism, something Yoo generates in loads.
"But there's another dimension to the story that's also worth noting," Sargent writes. "Yoo is using his platform for more than just writing opinion columns." He then accuses Yoo of parlaying his newspaper gig into attacks on his political opponents--those who are pushing for a torture probe--at a time when government officials were mulling whether to investigate those who created the torture program, including Yoo.
Sargent links to a March 15 broadside against "civil libertarians" who have criticized the Bush administration's expansion of executive powers amid the war on terror--expansions that Yoo helped author. "You'd think the paper would ask Yoo to recuse himself from writing about such stuff," writes the blogger.
Reader comments to The Plum Line post were uniformly against Yoo and the Inquirer. "And they wonder why newspapers are dying," wrote sgwhiteinfla. The paper has drifted "far to the right" since an ownership change five years ago, claimed Carter, who noted Rick Santorum also filled an Inquirer opinion-writing slot. But a TheraP seized the opportunity to correct a commenter who claimed UC Bekeley recently "hired" Yoo back: "He had tenure--was on leave. But right now he's teaching at [sic] teensy joke of a college in Southern CA. But there's a movement afoot to get his tenure yanked."
Teensy joke of a college in Southern CA. Wonder what that's a reference to?
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before "graduating" to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper's first calendar editor. He has contributed as a freelance editor and writer to several publications and been the subject of or featured in several reports online, in print and on the radio and television. One of countless times he returned to his Costa Mesa, CA, home with a bounty of awards from a journalism competition, his wife told him to take out the trash.