Sunday, June 28, 2009

Washington Post and a Wall of Silence 
I don't buy the whacky conspiracy theories being passed around by libtards mourning the WaPo's decision to let Dan Froomkin go. It's not like he's the only journo to get a pink slip this year.

But if your own ombudsman tries to get some insight into an editorial decision at the newspaper - only to be met with a wall of silence - then what is the use of having an ombudsman?

The editor-in-chief and publisher should put the word out: This ombudsman works for my readers, and therefore works for me. If you stonewall my ombudsman, you're stonewalling me, and I won't have it.

nstitutionally, The Post is now responding by circling the wagons -- ironic for a news organization that insists on transparency from those it covers. Its initial statement on June 18 from spokeswoman Kris Coratti lacked substance (“Editors and our research teams are constantly reviewing our online content to ensure we bring readers the most value...while balancing the need to make the most of our resources”).

I was off much of this week with a minor medical problem. But when I was able to start querying editors yesterday, a wall of silence was erected. Raju Narisetti, the managing editor who oversees the Web site, declined to go beyond last week’s PR statement. Online Opinions Editor Marisa Katz, after talking Thursday with the Washington CityPaper, said she had been instructed not to respond to additional queries. And Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, who had previously responded to questions from me and other journalists (including the CityPaper on Thursday), today said he was unable to comment.

Readers should revolt until they have the publisher's attention.

Post Pulitzer-winning columnist Gene Weingarten, who expressed “respect” for Froomkin and regret that White House Watch was ending, said: “I don't know why Froomkin's column was dropped, but I can tell you that the diabolical conspiracy talk is nuts. Froomkin wasn’t dropped because he is too liberal; things just don’t work that way at the Post.”

Yeah, no shit. This is the same paper that syndicated Ted Rall for years.

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Froomkin's axing is a case of improvement by subtraction.

Except among hard core libs who are impervious to the idea, the truth is that the Post's brand was damaged by his unrepentant and disrespectful editorializing. So what if it was a opinion-based blog, -- it was a first and foremost a blog on the Washington Post web site, and objectivity is required once in awhile. Froomkin's quotes after the fact demonstrate that he just doesn't get it.

Froomkin's bile snd the way he delivered it was too much even for those at the Post who are inclined to agree with him, but who also know saving what remains of the newspaper's cross-partisan credibility is the way to (maybe) stay employed in the news biz.

It's not enough to get me to resubscribe, though. You'd have to destroy the place to save it.
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