So, my brother forwarded to me an email he sent to Washington Post writer Dana Milbank. We both enjoyed watching Milbank on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, so to say we are saddened by the recent questionable reporting of Milbank is putting it lightly. I'm not entirely sure if this 2a.m. email was sent because of my bro's passionate disappointment or his extreme boredom at work. Nevertheless, he expresses his feelings well so I have decided to post it here.
As a loyal viewer of Countdown, I was disappointed today to learn that you had quit the show. Your commentary and analysis of all things political was always both insightful and entertaining. Even more disappointing though was learning the reasons behind your departure, i.e. taking a section of a quote from Senator Obama out of context and using it as a baseline for writing an article criticizing the Senator for being presumptuous and prideful. The irony of this situation cannot escape a man of your wit and intelligence. You accuse Senator Obama of being prideful, find out the quote you based that claim on was taken out of context, then head for the hills rather than admit your mistake. To quote Phoebe Buffet, "Hello pot, this is kettle, your black."
Mr. Milbank, you have had long and successful journalistic career, both in print and visual media. No one would question your journalistic ethics or integrity; however, part of that integrity is admitting when you've made a mistake or used a piece of text or spoken phrase incorrectly. The Senator wasn't saying that he was THE symbol, but merely that he was A symbol, prefaced by a very humble statement speaking to the good in all of us and indeed our nation. However, by the same token that you should own up to your mistake, no one is asking you to retract the entire article if you truly feel Senator Obama is acting as if 300 electoral votes are sitting in his wallet like winning scratch-off tickets that he simply has to wait until November 4th to cash in. To paraphrase someone whose name escapes me at the moment, anyone who thinks that out of 300 million people, they are the most qualified to make the decisions that will affect the other 299, 999,999, is, by definition, a little full of themselves. Anyone who has watched this campaign in its entirety knows that Obama has definitely shown a tendency to have confidence to the third power. However, in this case, he did not. If you would simply admit this, those of us who looked forward to your daily commentary, both in print and media form, and even that warm and cuddly blogosphere ( insert joke here) would forgive and forget. But instead you run away, to retreat inside a blanket of pride and ego that you'll soon find much emptier and colder than the air in the room after Dick Cheney walks in.
I implore you Mr. Milbank, don't make the same mistake that you accused, rightly or wrongly, Senator Obama of performing - that of too much ego and not enough id. Remember, “Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them". Wise words for anyone, whether they be presidential nominees, journalists, or simply loyal fans with too much time on their hands. Have a good day Sir.
31 minutes ago