Philly Inquirer quietly hires John Yoo as columnist

The paper managed to slip the news past even its own employees for months.

By Alex Koppelman
Published May 12, 2009 2:25PM (EDT)

Very few people are going to defend the Philadelphia Inquirer's choice of columnists these days, so let's get one possible defense out there, for their sake: Hey, if you hired former Bush administration official John Yoo, the man responsible for the initial torture memos, to write a monthly column, you'd probably try to keep it a secret too.

True story.

According to Will Bunch, who writes for the Philadelphia Daily News, the Inquirer's sister paper, the Inquirer hired Yoo to pen a monthly column in late 2008, but even employees of both publications were unaware of the deal. And until this past Sunday, Yoo wasn't identified as an Inquirer columnist in the bio that accompanied his pieces.

Yoo's not the only controversial conservative writing for the Inky; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is paid $1,750 for each of his biweekly columns. Santorum has his own issues, of course, but say this for him -- at least he's never suggested that the president might legally have the power to order that the child of a terror suspect have their testicles crushed in order to get information from that suspect.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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