In some future journalism school class, perhaps someone will explain what national importance Tom Toles’ Halloween parties have. It must have some, because the Washington Post published an investigative report into their cartoonist’s 2018 event that runs nearly three thousand words. Did someone get assassinated at it? In a way, yes — and the assassin is the Washington Post itself.
For some reason, a friend of Toles showed up to his Halloween party in blackface, a very-poor-taste attempt to satirize Megan Kelly’s brief defense of the practice. Other attendees confronted the woman and essentially scolded her out of the party. And who is this woman, whose racial peccadillo must now be told to the world twenty months later? Sue Schaefer, that’s who.
Sue … Schaefer? Who’s that? A high-ranking MAGA-cheering political appointee high up in the Trump administration? The GOP’s next Senate candidate in Alabama? Donald Trump’s niece?
Don’t bother Googling the name. She’s actually a Trump-opposing rando who just happens to be one of Toles’ friends. Schaefer tried apologizing to Toles the next day, and wishes that the women she offended — who recently e-mailed Toles — would allow her to apologize to them directly. She spent some time in therapy after her (deserved) humiliation at the party, and admits she made a big mistake in her choice of costume. Oh, and Schaefer is one other thing too: she’s now unemployed, thanks to this exposé published by the Post, fired for her bungled attempt to satirize Kelly from almost two years ago.
Why would the Washington Post go this far to doxx a rando? In part, it looks like an attempt to humiliate Toles, who tried at first to prevent Schaefer from this doxxing. According to the story — which I will not directly link or excerpt — one of the offended guests very recently demanded to know her name and sent Toles a picture of the woman, which the Post helpfully published as part of the story. Toles professed not to recognize her, but then brought the issue to the attention of the paper. He would have been better off just passing Schaefer’s name to the inquisitor.
In larger part, though, the intent seems to be the same kind of woke corporate virtue signaling that has become its own epidemic in 2020. Schaefer’s value to the Post is as a sacrificial goat to make themselves look Very Concerned and also Highly Offended over some rando’s choice of Halloween costume in 2018. Look how sophisticated and woke we are, the piece practically screams from every one of its 2,960 words.
Jonathan Chait says it “seems disproportionate,” which is perhaps the understatement of the year:
Not-famous woman wore a tasteless Halloween costume in 2018 trying to make fun of Megyn Kelly.
1) She apologizes the next day
2) Cries in shame, goes in therapy
3) Washington Post story runs 3,000 word reconstruction of event
4) She is fired from job
Seems disproportionate? https://t.co/GUFvU60unu
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) June 18, 2020
Interestingly, Toles apparently still has a job. I wonder why?
Everyone involved in writing and publishing this story should be ashamed of themselves, from Jeff Bezos right down to the paperboy. Humiliating a private person over something like a Halloween costume from two years ago has zero “news” value, but was concocted only to preen about the paper’s own moral pretensions. The Washington Post has fully descended into muckery, and it will take a very long time to remove the stains from its reputation as a result.