What Were They Thinking?

What Were They Thinking?

Washington Post editors offer platform for self-serving column from convicted felon Charles Kushner. Why?


Here is what I’ve learned in the past week: The best way to get ahead in life is to start several steps ahead of everyone else.

On some level I knew that, but the truth seems starker now. In the past week, we’ve learned about parents paying and scheming to get their already wealthy and well-connected kids into elite colleges, discovered that Deutsche Bank extended massive loans to Donald Trump when it was clear he would never pay them back, and learned that Ivanka Trump truly believes she might someday be president.

And then today, I stumbled across this column from Charles Kushner in the Washington Post. It’s basically a defense of the Kushner family business, a business that’s been under scrutiny for some bad and possibly shady practices. The business would likely not be in the news if it weren’t for Charles’s son Jared, who is trying to parlay his unsuccessful career in real estate and media into a disastrous turn as an advisor to his father-in-law president. Why, exactly, would the editors of the Washington Post give this man editorial space to defend his family’s business? I can see publishing a letter to the editor, perhaps, but to offer up space in the Opinions section alongside seasoned columnists? What qualifies Charles Kushner for this?

Imagine if the Washington Post reviewed one of my books and said it was terrible. Now imagine if I contacted the newspaper and insisted on writing a rebuttal to their review. What do you think their response would be? They would, rightly, not allow it.


Just a few of the “partners and lenders” of Kushner Companies. With this kind of support, why does Charles Kushner need to defend his business in the pages of the Washington Post?

So why does Charles Kushner get this sort of special treatment? I guess it’s because he’s already several steps ahead of the rest of us ordinary people. He has money, privilege, and name recognition. He is also a convicted felon. He spent more than a year in prison for tax fraud, witness tampering, and illegal campaign contributions. He famously took revenge on his brother-in-law, who cooperated with prosecutors in the case against him, by hiring a prostitute to seduce him, taping the encounter, and sending the tape to the man’s wife. That woman, of course, was Charles’s own sister. What a guy!

So of course the Washington Post would give him 800 words in the newspaper’s Opinion section and describe him thusly:

Charles Kushner is a founder and principal of the Kushner Companies, a diversified real estate company.

Suppose an ordinary felon asked to write a column in the Washington Post defending his misunderstood burglary spree or arson-related mishaps or drug empire. Would he be afforded the same consideration that Charles Kushner was afforded? Of course not.

Charles Kushner does not need editorial space in the Washington Post to make his voice heard. He is plenty wealthy and connected enough to speak out on his own. But it’s because he has such wealth and connections that he gets the privilege of writing for a major national newspaper. A person born and raised with lesser means would never get the same opportunity.

The editors of the Washington Post should know better than to publish a say-nothing column by someone like Charles Kushner. What’s next? Cellblock dispatches from Paul Manafort? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Do better, Washington Post. Your subscribers expect and deserve more.

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Tiffany Quay Tyson

THE PAST IS NEVER is the winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, the Mississippi Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, and the Mississippi Author Award for Adult Fiction (selected by the Mississippi Library Association). The novel is shortlisted for the prestigious Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. This southern gothic novel steeped in local lore was selected as an "Okra Pick" by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Tyson's debut novel THREE RIVERS was a finalist for both the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction. She was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and now lives, writes, and teaches in Denver, Colorado.
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