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Dan Froomkin spoke the truth, shined the light in the MSM darkness to win Wings of Justice

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Originally published on WingsofJustice.com on June 24, 2009

Dan Froomkin

There is this fear that in certain circumstances, someone will speak the truth and get fired for it.

Though we may never know or understand the real reason why The Washington Post fired Dan Froomkin late last week, we do feel deep down that he was fired for speaking the truth.

There was the recent exchange between Froomkin and columnist Charles Krauthammer over the use of torture. Froomkin criticized Krauthammer for his outright endorsement of torture; Krauthammer used the word “stupid” in responding to Froomkin’s criticisms.

In a recent chat as part of his regular White House Watch duties, Froomkin was asked about Post reporters dancing around the word “torture.” Froomkin pointed out that he has always called it torture. (Here is the original link.)

The truth that Froomkin spoke of for a long time was his diligence in chasing down the horrors of the Bush Administration. Where the Beltway is known for inside-baseball, incestuous relations between the Washington press core and politicians, Froomkin was one of the few journalists in that realm who bypassed the cocktail party circuit, and opportunities to dance and rap with Karl Rove, to focus on the intracities of what those in power were doing.

Unlike most in the MSM, Froomkin always had one foot in the other world: his day job with NiemanWatchdog.org. And that dual citizenship gave Froomkin the power to weave in and out of both worlds. The WaPo.com readership got strong reporting it otherwise wouldn’t have had while giving Froomkin an audience he might not normally have had.

As we are learning in the last few days, The Washington Post didn’t always appreciate what a treasure it had. There was a feeling in prominent circles that Froomkin wasn’t a “reporter.”

If you read the White House Watch, the one thing Froomkin did was report. He didn’t rant or scream; he reported and presented. Often times, his pieces were boring but in a good informative way. In a media landscape as dark as a Swedish midnight in December, Froomkin took a lamp and said, “Over here.”

And when Barack Obama took over in the White House, Froomkin didn’t stop the fire being held to the feet of those in charge. When most MSM members have been chasing distracting fluff stories, Froomkin was actually concerned about whether Obama was keeping his promises. For all the cries of “liberal” against Froomkin, once again, he was still one of the few journalists who was calling out the president, regardless of party, and making sure promises were kept or broken.

Last month, Froomkin weighed in on how “playing it safe” is killing American newspapers. There was one passage that spoke not only to the future of journalism, but also summed up what he did for washingtonpost.com and what made him a great asset.

The right way to reinvent ourselves online would be to do precisely what journalists were put on this green earth to do: Seek the truth, hold the powerful accountable, expose the B.S., explain how things really work, introduce people to each other, and tell compelling stories. And we should do all those things passionately and courageously — not hiding who we are, but rather engaging in a very public expression of our journalistic values.

For doing just that in an otherwise laid-back MSM environment, for doing what journalists are supposed to do, and for speaking the truth when it wasn’t fashionable, we award Dan Froomkin the Wings of Justice award. Some smart news organization would be smart to grab him while they can.

Picture credit

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Written by democracysoup

June 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

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