If you didn’t know better, you might not know that Margaret Sullivan was once a public editor for the New York Times, an unbiased figure, an ombudsman who largely covered reader complaints that came into the newspaper in an unbiased way.
Now you know how she really feels.
“Female interviewer, check,” Sullivan tweeted in reference to Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh appearing Monday night on Fox News for an interview with Martha MacCallum. “Fox News, check. Bill Shine approved, check. When an ‘exclusive interview’ promises to be a challenge-free infomercial. Wife at your side, check. Unquestioning adoration would probably be the right look.”
The interview had its share of cringeworthy moments. One was when Kavanaugh jarringly told MacCallum that he had been a virgin in high school and “for many years after.”
A “media columnist” at The Washington Post since the spring of 2016, Sullivan is now quite free to say whatever she wants. When she first arrived, a PR announcement said she’d be given a “broad mandate” to cover the media through a “variety of formats” — columns, blog posts, and deeply reported stories.
On Sunday, Sullivan seemed to take a more detached view of the whole Kavanaugh saga, with a guide to help readers emotionally survive news cycles that feel more like cyclones. As she put it, a “Category 4 hurricane” and “blazing fireballs.”
At one point in her piece she suggests taking a break: “Cook a meal, take a walk, go to a yoga class, read a 19th-century novel.”
A Washington media writer questioned Sullivan’s intelligence about her demeaning remarks toward Ashley Kavanaugh.
“I’m willing to bet that you would have speculated why she wasn’t there if she was not part of the interview,” wrote Washington Free Beacon‘s media writer Cameron Cawthorne. “Such a stupid take hence why this tweet has been ratio’d.”
Fox News correspondent Brit Hume also had a problem with Sullivan’s commentary.
“This is the former ‘public editor’ of the NY Times (now w/Washington Post) opining in advance on how Martha MacCallum would interview Brett Kavanaugh,” he wrote. “How utterly ignorant and biased.”
Trumpland’s Arthur Schwartz, a Anthony Scaramucci pal, got a dig in at Sullivan, writing, “From a WaPo ‘reporter.’ Outrageous.”
Sullivan tried to explain her views when she retweeted ex-Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson‘s attorney who explained that MacCollum was among the first journalists at Fox News to try to discredit Carlson and defend then-Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. Carlson claimed Ailes sexually harassed her. She won $20 million and an apology in a lawsuit against Fox News.
No matter all that. The online mob quickly came for her.
“OldLineTexas” asked, “Misogyny much?”
Other reactions toward her included: “Partisan journalist — check,” “Desperate ‘columnist’ — check.” And this from a pastor: “Got your hypocrisy by your side, check.”
Other reactions quickly turned into jealousy, which is absurd, but this is what happens.
“JesusChick125” wrote, “Where else do you think a good wife who believes in her husband is supposed to be? I’m sorry if you’re jealous about their relationship.”
A female Trump supporter added, “If your referring to Kavanaugh’s wife being classier than you’ll ever be- then [Emoji Check Mark].”
On and on the complaints rolled in — they called her bitter, jealous and biased. They said she was intolerant, closed-minded and had an inflated sense of self-importance. They said she had children but probably no husband.
Her ombudsman days are officially over.