Washington Post removes opinion piece after inquiry about author's identity
The Washington Post removed an opinion piece Saturday evening. I inquired about the author's identity after I couldn't find any evidence of him online.
The story, "D.C., you're depressing," was published online Friday. The author of the piece was listed as Jason Huntmann, who said he was a recent transplant from California.
In it, Huntmann described a negative recent experience on the city's public transportation system Metro, using it as an illustration of all that is wrong with Washington, D.C., and its people.
"The capital of America the Beautiful is, in fact, ugly and uninspiring," he wrote. "The city houses elected officials cheering the bright and shining American Dream, but the citizens who work around them appear to be enduring unspeakable oppression."
Some people on Twitter, including Washington Post writer Dan Zak, suggested Huntmann's critique was unfair.
After being unable to find any other information about Huntmann online, I emailed the Post this afternoon to confirm the veracity of the account -- or to at least confirm the spelling of the author's name.
The Post's Letters and Local Opinions Editor, Michael Larabee, wrote the following in response:
"We also noticed the absence of a Web presence, so we asked the author to send a copy of his cell phone bill to verify his name—which he did. However, your question has prompted us to make further inquiries, which are pending.
"While we wait to learn more, we are taking the piece down from the site."
The URL now leads to an editor's note that says simply: "This article is no longer available."
Hey @postopinions why'd you take down Huntmann's piece?
— Alejandra Owens (@frijolita) January 19, 2014
Come clean, @postlocal. There's no "Jason Huntmann."
— austin 3000 (@popespeed) January 18, 2014
Hey Jason Huntmann - If you hate DC so much, just leave. http://t.co/GAco7HTkwb
— Courtney (@CourtCourt510) January 18, 2014