Columnist suspended for backing NRA quits, criticizes newspaper
A columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been suspended for...supporting the NRA and Second Amendment rights. The newspaper insists it's not because of those views, of course. But that justification just doesn't hold up under scrutiny:
The newspaper on Friday suspended Stacy Washington after a column entitled “Guns and the Media” disputed an anti-NRA article that argued since more Americans die from guns than from ISIS, the Second Amendment advocacy group is the greater danger.
“[W]hen has a member of the NRA ever decapitated, set on fire, tossed from a rooftop or otherwise terrorized another American? The linkage is not only rife with improper context; it is false on its face,” Washington wrote in her column, which also decried the lack of conservatives in U.S. newsrooms. “This failure to represent the opposing, especially conservative, view is an increasingly apparent deficit in the news reporting apparatus in our country.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asserts that Washington was not suspended for the views expressed in her column, but for failing to disclose her promotional work and professional affiliation with the NRA. Washington has appeared several times as a co-host and commentator on “Cam & Company” on NRA TV and contributed to an NRA documentary in August 2016. However, she has never been paid by the NRA.
“Her active promotional activities and professional association with the National Rifle Association represented an unacceptable conflict of interest in her most recent column, which resulted in our suspension of her work,” Tod Robberson, the Post-Dispatch’s editorial page editor, wrote in a response to Washington’s suspension and quitting.
Robberson added: “Columnists are expected to fully disclose conflicts of interest when writing about topics where such a conflict might arise. We apply this standard regardless of the lobbying or advocacy group being written about in a column.”
Following her suspension last Friday, Washington mounted a Twitter broadside at her Post-Dispatch editors, insisting she is not a paid “shill” for the NRA and noting the irony of a column calling out the lack of conservatives in the mainstream media getting a conservative suspended from a mainstream newspaper.
Washington quit the Post-Dispatch -- and good for her.
To follow the newspaper's logic, even someone who volunteers for a Second Amendment organization would face a similar penalty. We are confident the same would not apply to a reporter or columnist who gave their time and talent to support a favored leftist cause.