And not to get too bogged down in the race to the bottom at a place where I was glad to have worked twice (seeing sausage made does give you insight), but I almost wonder if Dash wasn’t just providing cover for the public editor’s WTF. His smashed beans and lard definition were forgotten once the ugly truth was revealed: Reporters no longer put the truth first. The best reaction I’ve seen so far reaches farther back in time than I understood, since I trace the rot to the Reagan years (“first they came for the air traffic controllers and we said nothing”). That was back when Pinch padded the newsroom in stocking feet, treating us as if we were serfs hunched over keyboards in his den. I know I’ve recounted this many times, but one of the tipping points that tilted me out of that newsroom and into restaurant school* was having an editor storm the desk on deadline and bellow: “We can’t run this. It makes Washington sound like Calcutta.” Up until that very late night, I had always believed journalists operated without considering fear or favor. But if a story about soft-hearted Capitol Hill staffers passing out sandwiches to the homeless in the nation’s seat of power was so dangerous, what else had to be skewed? Whitewater/Coke Can/Yellowcake, here we come . . .