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.