The Washington Post warmly remembered longtime Los Angeles Times reporter and Washington Bureau Chief Jack Nelson in a Thursday obituary headlined "L.A. Times reporter was driven by his conscience." Nelson was hailed by many for courageous reporting of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The Post’s Patricia Sullivan pulled this tribute from the Associated Press:
"He maintained that the main thing people want from newspapers is facts -- facts they didn't know before, and preferably facts that somebody didn't want them to know. Jack was tolerant of opinion writers; he respected analysis writers, and he even admired one or two feature writers. But he believed the only good reason to be a reporter was to reveal hidden facts and bring them to light."
But that’s not entirely true. Nelson didn’t support revealing hidden facts when his own newspaper dug into Bill Clinton’s use of Arkansas state troopers for sexual conquests. He suggested "right wingers" were wrong to suggest he was so opposed to it that he threatened to resign. But he clearly disliked the story, and had wanted to subject the troopers to polygraph tests: