WaPo Ends Garrison Keillor Column For Violating ‘Transparency Standards’

In this July 26, 2017 photo, “A Prairie Home Companion” creator and former host Garrison Keillor talks at his St. Paul, Minn., office. Keillor is not spending his time in retirement baking Powdermilk Biscuits or drinking coffee down at the Chatterbox Cafe now that he has hung up his microphone as host of his popular public radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.” He turns 75 on Aug. 7 and boards a bus the next day for a 28-city “Prairie Home Love & Comedy Tour _ 2017,” which he vows will be his last. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)
Jeff Baenen/AP

The Washington Post will no longer publish former public radio broadcaster Garrison Keillor’s column following his firing from Minnesota Public Radio over workplace misconduct allegations, Politico reported Thursday.

Just a day before he was fired, Keillor wrote a column for the Post defending Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), saying the senator shouldn’t resign from Congress despite the mounting allegations that he inappropriately touched at least five women.

The Post told Politico that Keillor violated the newspaper’s transparency policies for opinion writers because he knew he was “under investigation for his workplace behavior” and “should not have written a column on that subject,” editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement given to Politico.

“Or, if he was going to write, he should have told his editors and readers that he was under investigation. Instead he wrote a column defending Sen. Al Franken without any discourse of his own situation,” Hiatt said. “Readers are entitled to a basic level of transparency from the columnist they read in the The Washington Post. … Garrison Keillor failed to meet that standard this week.”

A Washington Post spokesperson did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

In the column published in the Post on Tuesday, Keillor said calls for Franken to resign were “pure absurdity.”

On the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken,” he wrote. “Eleven years later, a talk show host in LA, she goes public, and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding.”

Keillor, the longtime host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” was fired on Wednesday for workplace misconduct, after a former coworker accused him of improper behavior. In an email to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Keillor said: “I put my hand on a woman’s bare back. I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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