Washington Post Defends Column Suggesting Some People 'Gag' After Seeing An Interracial Family

Richard Cohen, the Washington Post columnist who has
come under fire in recent months for a number of controversial columns, has another one Tuesday that already has Twitter abuzz.

Cohen’s column focuses on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s landslide re-election win last week, hedging on what it means for his chances to earn the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Somewhere along the line, Cohen ties what he sees as Christie’s problems in early primary and caucus states like Iowa with this (emphasis added):

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

Cohen has taken heat for some of his recent columns, most notably one back in July in which he wrote that he “understood” why George Zimmerman would have been suspicious of teenager Trayvon Martin, the teenager he shot and killed last year as a neighbourhood watch volunteer.

The Washington Post’s editorial editor, Fred Hiatt, told Business Insider in an email Tuesday that Cohen had been “misinterpreted.” He said he should have edited the bolded sentence above “more carefully.”

“Anyone reading Richard’s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage,” Hiatt said. “I erred in not editing that one sentence more carefully to make sure it could not be misinterpreted. “

This post has been updated. It was originally published at 10:24 a.m.

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