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Twitter Is Angry Over WaPo’s Decision To Label Contributors As ‘Left-Leaning’ And ‘Right-Leaning’

The Washington Post has created a new system for labeling its opinion columnists: They are now either “Left-Leaning” or “Right-Leaning.” It’s an odd move, and one that is drawing mixed reaction from many working in media.

After learning about the change, David Spett of the Center for American Progress wrote, “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Wired writer Steve Silberman called the decision “inane.”

Journalist and professor Adam Penenberg is concerned that the move is too restrictive, adding that “Many of us embrace positions that veer all over the political map.”

The folks at Media Matters are also less than pleased with the paper’s labeling system, bemoaning the fact that columnist Richard Cohen “is what passes for a ‘liberal’ at the Washington Post.” They add that it seems like “the difference between ‘right-leaning’ and ‘left-leaning’ columnists at the Washington Post is that the right-leaning list includes people who worked for Republican presidents while the left-leaning list merely includes a columnist who votes for Republican presidential candidates.”

Other than the fact that the columnists in each section might not be “left” or “right” enough for some readers’ tastes (Also: Are moderate thinkers not allowed to play?), there’s also the reality that not every issue – and certainly not every person’s beliefs – can be neatly labeled as belonging completely on one side of the aisle. And shouldn’t intelligent, productive discussion be more nuanced and complex than merely “right” or “left”? And even if the discussion is going to be so black and white, do WaPo readers really need the paper to tell them which end of the spectrum its columnists belong to?

Of course, some might applaud the paper’s commitment to transparency and we’re sure there will be readers who find it helpful to pick which op-ed pieces they’d like to read based on their own political leanings.

Personally, we find the move a little… strange? But what say you, readers?

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