A story from Fox News says a conservative columnist was suspended from her position at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after she defended the National Rifle Association from comparisons to ISIS. Stacy Washington fired back with her resignation and a series of targeted tweets, the story says.
The daily newspaper suspended Washington after her column entitled “Guns and the Media” disputed an anti-NRA article that made the infantile argument that, since more Americans die from guns than from ISIS, the NRA is a greater danger.
“(W)hen has a member of the NRA ever decapitated, set on fire, tossed from a rooftop or otherwise terrorized another American? The linkage is not only rife with improper context; it is false on its face,” Washing wrote. “This failure to represent the opposing, especially conservative, view is increasingly apparent deficit in the news reporting apparatus of our country.”
The paper claims it didn’t suspend her for the views in her column, but for “failing to disclose her promotional work and professional affiliation with the NRA.”
The story says Washington has appeared several times as a co-host and commentator on Cam & Company on NRA TV, and contributed to an NRA documentary in 2016. She has never been paid by the NRA, however.
“Her active promotional activities and professional association with the National Rifle Association represented an unacceptable conflict of interest in her most recent column, which resulted in our suspension of her work,” Tod Robberson, the Post-Dispatch‘s editorial page editor, wrote in a response to Washington’s suspension and quitting.
Robberson added: “Columnists are expected to fully disclose conflicts of interest when writing about topics where such a conflict might arise. We apply this standard regardless of the lobbying or advocacy group being written about in a column.”
The story says Washington mounted a Twitter campaign against her former editors, insisting she ins’t a “paid shill” for the NRA and noting that it is ironic that a column calling out the lack of conservatives in the mainstream media got her, a conservative, suspended from a major newspaper.
In her tweets she said, “@stltoday published a letter to the editor calling me a paid @NRA shill. I informed Tod Robberson on Saturday that I am not paid by the NRA. I’m not ashamed to support the NRA. The fact that @stltoday thinks I am shows how skewed their view of conservatives is.”
“What they’re losing, according to their own readers, is the juxtaposition between what their current editorial side is putting out, which is coming from the Democratic side, from the left, and then someone on the right,” Washington told the Riverfront Times.
According to Washington’s column, only 7 percent of journalists identified as Republican when polled on their political affiliations in 2013 in a study done by Indiana University professors.
The same poll revealed about half of participating journalists stated no party affiliation.