Jennifer Rubin, the hawkish blogger for the Washington Post with a long history of being wrong, felt compelled to pay homage over the weekend to people who she said “have been right about a lot of things lately.”
It was the inseparable trio of Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) — known, thanks in part to their own self-promotion, as the “three amigos” — who won the honor as Rubin’s “Distinguished pols of the week.”
They wanted a stay-behind force in Iraq. They challenged President Obama’s excuse that he wasn’t responsible for the failure to set up a status-of-forces agreement, as contemplated, to extend beyond 2011. They wanted early action to dislodge Bashar al-Assad. They were skeptical of the interim deal with Iran. They warned that the Russian reset was a mistake and Vladimir Putin was a threat to former Soviet states. They decried the foolishness of defense cuts and the failure to stand up to China. All three have argued that it is folly to dismantle anti-terrorist architecture, such as the National Security Agency’s data-mining programs. Given the collapse of the Obama foreign policy and the state of the Middle East, their foreign policy judgment over the last few years has been rock solid.
Naturally, McCain agreed with the assessment and reciprocated Rubin’s faux honor by labeling her post a “Must-read.”
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 30, 2014
Due to Twitter’s character limits, McCain was unable to elaborate on Rubin’s credibility and why her praise was so coveted.
Here’s a brief review of Rubin’s history.
In 2011, she breathlessly tried to tie the mass shooting in Norway to al-Qaeda.
Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, Rubin served as Mitt Romney’s number one ally in the press, dutifully repeating GOP talking points all while confidently predicting President Obama’s demise. After Romney’s loss, Rubin offered a post-mortem that ran counter to many of her pronouncements during the campaign.
Rubin doesn’t hesitate to brand her targets as “anti-Semites,” as she did in late 2012 when she viciously accused Chuck Hagel, then under consideration to serve as secretary of defense, of “rank prejudice against American Jews.”
It was for those reasons that Patrick B. Pexton, a former ombudsman at the Washington Post, wrote an open letter last year urging the paper’s new owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to fire Rubin.
“Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards,” Pexton wrote in the Washington City Paper. “She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits.”
“And she is often wrong, and rarely acknowledges it,” he added.
Pexton, who was an ombudsman from 2011 until 2013, later said that he wanted to “write a full column on [Rubin]” and had intended to do more reporting on the matter, but he “didn’t get around to it” before he parted with the paper.
“I had drafted a couple versions, but didn’t like what I had written. So I held off,” Pexton wrote in an email to The Wire.
But as Gawker’ J.K. Trotter noted last year, Pexton is at least partly to blame for Rubin’s continued employment, too. While he lightly reprimanded Rubin at times — like when he criticized her for tweeting a link to a story that described Palestinians as “death-worshiping, innocent-butchering, child-sacrificing savages” — Pexton also came to Rubin’s defense from time to time.
In a response to “the vociferous and voluminous amounts of e-mail” he received over Rubin’s take on the Norway shooting, Pexton ultimately backed Rubin.
“If your politics are liberal and you don’t generally read Rubin, but you read her Norway posts, you probably would be pretty offended,” Pexton wrote. “But if you are a conservative, or someone who reads Rubin regularly, you’ll know that this is what she does and who she is.”
In his open letter to Bezos last year, Pexton said “Rubin was the No. 1 source of complaint mail about any single Post staffer” during his time as ombudsman.