Defective

Call it a defection by a force.

Jose Vargas is a former reporter for the Washington Post who left for HuffPost and later wrote a fantastic profile of Mark Zuckerberg for the New Yorker. Last week, he revealed his undocumented status in a 4500-word confession.

Vargas was a Pulitzer Prize winner with the Post. His story was published in the New York Times Sunday magazine.

If it hasn’t clicked yet, reread the last sentence.

The Washington Post, his former employer, passed. And by passed, I mean it  killed the story after working with him for months on the piece.

The Times published it within 48 hours. 

From the Post’s comments, it seems the decision might not have been unanimous:

• “I’m delighted that the author found such a great home for the piece … certainly a fine second choice after The Washington Post Outlook section.”

• “It may be the first [article] published by the New York Times that was developed, fact-checked and substantially edited by editors at The Washington Post.”

Smacks of a publication trying to save face on a topic that might prompt readers to question the company motivations.

Is is not one of journalism’s core tenets to lend a voice to the voiceless, to faithfully lead a public discussion concerning issues that matter?

Sure, Vargas’ story is interesting, but more importantly, it lends a perspective to immigration, an issue of national contention.

The Post got this one wrong, and it’s disingenuous to take shots at the Times, rival or not. The comments read like a love gone sour, where the person who breaks off a relationship later claims to be the victim.

Live and learn?

The Post will live, but it should consider itself lucky to ever have the chance to learn, vis-a-vis another article of this significance.

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