Washington Post removes opinion piece: ‘we can’t verify the byline’

The Washington Post was unable to verify the identity of the author of a Jan. 17 opinion piece called “D.C., you’re depressing.” The author of the piece, which trashed Washington, D.C. and its public transportation system, was listed as Jason Huntmann.

“Basically, we can’t verify the byline,” said Post Local Letters and Opinions Editor Michael Larabee in an email. “The writer has not responded to repeated phone and e-mail messages since Saturday afternoon. Also, early this week, the e-mail account he had been using was closed.”

The Post pulled down the piece on Saturday, Jan. 18 following an email I sent inquiring about Huntmann. A thorough search turned up no online footprint for him, besides the Post piece.

In an effort to obtain additional verification of his identity, Larabee unsuccessfully attempted to reach Huntmann by email this week.

The Post had originally requested a copy of Huntmann’s cell phone bill after it, too, noticed his nonexistent Web presence.

An editor’s note on the piece now says:

The commentary posted here on Jan. 17, “D.C., you’re depressing,” was removed a day later because of questions about whether the author was using his real name, as Post policy requires. Subsequent efforts to reach the writer to verify authorship have been unsuccessful.

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  • danbloom

    No, Rod, not ”because everything else is exactly like is was in the 1970s, so this must be too.” But one cannot just get an oped in the POST, even the online edition only, unless one has a pass to get in, and only inhouse staffers could either write this piece themselves or let a friend get it on over the shoulders with a wink and a nod. The Post oped pages, like the NYT, are the most verified and fact checked oped pages anywhere in print real estate. So only inhouse staffers could have done this. as a favor to someone, a drinking buddy or someone. IF in fact the Post says they asked the ghost for a copy of his phone bill adn he sent it to them, then it would be easy, Rod, to find out frm the bill his real name and real address and go check him out or even ask the phone company to look into this fraudster. But no, they didn’t even check the phone bill out. This story has legs. it was an inside job. watch. the truth will come out later.

  • Rod Downburst Johnson

    Because everything else is exactly like is was in the 1970s, so this must be too.

  • danbloom

    But wait a minute, that must have been an inside job of staffers at the Post because there is NO WAY that an oped can be sent it, read, accepted if the editors do not call the writer by phone for voice contact. I worked at the Post in the 1970s and every oped had to be verified. This must have been an inside job, and the oped page interns or eds let it pass. WTF?