Jose Antonio Vargas gave his first cable interview to Howard Kurtz at “Reliable Sources,” and the host asked if the writer was worried about being deported.
“Of course I am. I’m worried,” he said. “And I think a lot of, millions of Americans living with this are worried every day. But this is the point. THe point is to face this issue squarely and to say, ‘What are we going to do?'”
They also attempted to parse why the Washington Post didn’t publish Vargas’ story despite spending weeks editing the tale.
The host asked his subject if he thought that the WaPo wanted to distance itself from the story.
“I can’t tell you what the Post thinks. I don’t want to assume what the Post thinks,” Vargas responded, later adding that he was “surprised” by the last-minute decision to spike the piece.
“We went through weeks of editing and everything they wanted in the story ended up being in the story. I don’t want to hatch on, hatch what happened there. At the end of the day, the story is the story.”
Kurtz also asked Vargas about the story’s genesis, and the author said it started when he called WaPo publisher Katharine Weymouth.
“The first thing that I told her was that I’m sorry,” he told Kurtz. “The first thing that I said to her on the phone, ‘I’m really, really sorry about this. The second thing I said was that I want to come forward with my story and I want to do it for the Post because I thought that was the right thing to do. I owe a lot of my professional identity to that paper.”
On Friday, the paper’s ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton wondered why they refused to print the story but also had some stern criticism for Vargas. He wrote about the journalists reputation as a “relentless self-promoter whom many colleagues didn’t trust.” Pexton also was “disturbed” by Vargas’ transition from journalist to advocate, symbolized by his creation of the nonprofit group, Define American.
Kurtz asked about statement, and Vargas said he intended to continue telling stories but that he would have “a view from somewhere.”
He sounds like a man who knows his brave decision to come out ended his journalism career but he’s ready to move on to the next chapter.
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