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Candidates For Top Washington Times Position Share Bitter Past

First Posted: 03/28/08 03:45 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:15 PM ET

DC's right-leaning newpaper, the Washington Times, is in search of a new editor-in-chief. They're looking for someone who has "respect for the vision of the founder of News World Communications and The Washington Times, which aims to further the values of faith, family and freedom, while conveying a global awareness, urbanity and sensitivity."

Who will take the job? The only candidate mentioned by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post is Francis Coombs, whose "vision" has been relentlessly assailed by the Southern Poverty Law Center who describe Coombs as having a "long history of racism." (The SPLC also hit at Kurtz for being "soft" on this matter in his article.)

Interestingly, Mediabistro's FishbowlDC is reporting that they have obtained the application letter of another candidate for the job - George Archibald, a veteran Times investigative reporter who retired from the paper in 2005, and subsequently ran afoul of Times brass after he went on the record with Max Blumenthal for a piece that ran in the October 9, 2006 issue of The Nation. [Full disclosure: Mr. Archibald has provided numerous pieces for The Huffington Post, including ones that concern the Times.]

That piece, "Hell of a Times," documents "the nasty succession battle" at the Times, which Blumenthal says was "punctuated by allegations of racism, sexism and unprofessional conduct." One episode Blumenthal relates, in fact, took place between these two announced candidates:

George Archibald told me that when he showed Coombs a photo of his nephew's African-American girlfriend, Coombs "went off like a rocket about interracial marriage and how terrible it was. He actually used the phrase 'the niggerfication of America.' He said, 'Not in my lifetime. If my daughter went out with a black, I would cut her throat.'"

That's certainly an interesting glimpse into what the Times might define as "urbane sensitivity."

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