The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has announced it will no longer carry George Will’s syndicated column:
“Starting today, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson replaces George Will on Thursdays and Sundays.”
The editor, Tony Messenger added:
“The change has been under consideration for several months, but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.”
I think this is evidence that the continued attention devoted to that misogynistic spew from George Will is helpful, somewhat ironic considering Mr. Will has looked down on hashtag activism. Note to Mr. Will, people who use hashtags such as #survivorprivilege also buy newspapers and pay attention to who exactly is advertising where.
What bothers me more than Mr. Will’s original column is that it ran in so many newspapers. His column apparently runs in over 460 newspapers (as of June 18, 2014) meaning hundreds of editors thought it was o.k. to print. These editors did one of the following:
- Didn’t read the column (I really doubt this one)
- Read it but didn’t think it was offensive at all
- Read it and found it provocative (I’m looking at you Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post)
- Read it and thought is was offensive, but had nothing else to fill the spot and the deadline was tight and so thought I’ll print it and hold my breath
In case the editors of American newspapers need an etiquette lesson on how to respond to opinion pieces by rape apologists (because I’m sorry, writing that rape victimhood is a coveted status is the very definition), the correct action is to not print the column and instead run a piece about why you didn’t. Don’t have time to crack out out 1,000 or so words yourself? Ask any woman on your staff. Or a local freelancer. Or a journalism professor.
Why that didn’t happen, well, to me it is really a bigger problem than the opinions of Mr. George Will.
By printing the George Will’s column hundreds of newspaper editors revealed that Mr. Will isn’t the only one who trivializes sexual assault.