Open letter to Washington Post Editor Martin Baron regarding headline of death of ISIS leader


Dear Mr. Baron,

I believe it is important that you understand that this letter is being written to you from someone who is openly left of center on political issues.  Although I pride myself in being a centrist, I primarily have voted Democrat in the past, defend attacks on liberals when I feel them unmerited, and criticize Donald Trump when I feel it appropriate.  All that being said, I find it impossible to be quiet when I see a headline bordering on showing respect to a known hater of western civilization and mass murderer.

I am referring to your recent article that refers to the recent death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in which your newspaper refers to him as an “austere religious scholar”.  To be clear, my problem is not in the accuracy of the statement.  Yes he was austere and although I do not have enough facts to speak to how scholarly he was I will accept that as being a true statement.  The problem with your headline is that you used those 2 facts to define the man, and that is neither sensitive nor true.

As a media outlet claiming to represent truth and justice, your paper needs to answer for this portrayal of a man who in his lifetime made it clear to the entire world that his ultimate goal was to conquer and kill.  If you were to be true to what you claim to be, rather than calling him an “austere religious scholar” you would have referred to him as an “ambitious fanatical killing machine”.  To focus on his austerity and religious knowledge is not only insensitive, it’s hypocritical.  The headline on your paper states the words “Democracy dies in darkness”.  I consider those words to be profound and true.  However, to use them as a means of attacking Donald Trump while choosing not to headline the death of someone as pro darkness and anti-democracy as the former leader of ISIS, is indeed hypocritical.

This is not about the American political situation or the current resident of the White House, both of which I am not always particularly thrilled with.  It’s about sincerity and agenda.  If you truly believe that “Democracy dies in darkness” you should require a headline indicating that with the death of al-Baghdadi a little more light shined through the darkness.  But if as a newspaper you are either so scared of going after the worst people or so focused on your own political agenda, you are doing a disservice to the American people.

Many funny posts have come out in response to your headline.  Some of them made me chuckle. but truth be told, nothing about this is funny.  We live in a democracy with freedom of the press, speech and religion.  You want things changed here?  I am all for you using your platform in the manner in which you choose.  However, if you claim to be a purveyor of Democracy and light, you lose credibility when ignoring the worst dictatorial hatred and darkness the world has to offer.


David Groen





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: