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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Washington Times gone wild

As the first reporter hired by The Washington Times outside the founding group, on the newspaper's national desk for 21 years, I’m saddened by recent attacks by managing editor Francis B. Coombs Jr. against foreign desk editor David Jones and veteran foreign reporter Tom Carter.

Something has gone badly awry at The Washington Times since editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden Jr. announced his retirement and went on C-SPAN to announce managing editor Fran Coombs as his successor.

Coombs has gone power-crazy.

Last week. I received first-hand reports that during the newspaper's morning news meeting on Thursday, February 22, Coombs threatened foreign editor Jones with physical assault because Coombs wanted a particular story angle attacking the United Nations' investigation of Iran's nuclear weapons program, but Jones corrected Coombs on certain factual errors.

Coombs told Jones and other editors in the meeting that he wanted a very anti-UN and anti-Iran story, but Jones questioned many of Coombs' suppositions with factual corrections.

Then, I'm told by people present, Coombs went ballistic, slammed his hands on the table and shouted at Jones to do the story the way Coombs demanded, "before I jump up on this table and smack you down." Coombs angrily erupted against Jones in front of national, business, metro, photo, graphics, and library editors or their representatives.

Then, five days later, on Tuesday, February 27, according to many witnesses in The Washington Times newsroom, Coombs walked over to the cubicle of veteran foreign desk reporter Tom Carter and attacked him with a barrage of epithets and threats in front of all newsroom employees present.

The day before, there was a brief discussion on the foreign desk about a pending series by religion writer Julia Duin on the abortion of girls in India. The Times had expended a lot of money for Julia Duin and photographer Mary Calvert to travel to India to produce this series.

In the discussion with colleagues on The Washington Times foreign desk, editor Jones said: "The reason we are running this story is that Coombs thinks all the aborted girls means that Indian men will be immigrating to the United States to marry our girls." That is an exact quote, what Jones told his colleagues on the foreign desk.

Coombs has told me and others repeatedly that he favors abortion because he sees it as a way to eliminate black and other minority babies.
Just anohter day in Mooniesland.