Skip to comments.Wash-Post Ombudsman: We’re Too Disorganized To Uphold A Political Bias [drop conspiracy theories]
Posted on 03/09/2010 1:56:25 PM PST by Former Military Chick
The Washington Post seems to be under the impression that they are being attacked for some sort of editorial conspiracy involving Rahm Emanuel and his competence as White House Chief of Staff. After a week where Emanuel became the subject of three of the papers major storiestwo opinion pieces with opposing views and a front-page news item suggesting anonymous Washington insiders were upset Emanuels advice was not being takenthe Post has been taking fire from both sides for alternately undermining the President and attacking one of his top advisers. The confusion has brought about one of the more bizarre columns by ombudsman Andrew Alexander defending his paper: the Post is too disorganized and littered with unreliable quotes to have an agenda, so please drop the conspiracy theories.
The controversy surrounding Emanuels reputation in the paper began with a piece by Dana Milbank suggesting most of President Obamas troubles could have been avoided through his Chief of Staffs advice. A news story by Jason Horowitz several days later reinforced the notion, with a series of anonymous comments from insiders that seemed to form a consensus around the idea. David Broder disagreed vocally with both Milbank and Horowitz, and questioned the position of Horowitzs piece in the news section. And now its the ombudsmans job to settle the dispute between the colleagues and set the record straight publicly. Except, to do that, hes thrown the entire papers infrastructure under the bus.
Alexanders description of the Washington Post office does exonerate the paper of having any uniform bias, but it also reads like a logistical nightmare. He notes that the Post is not alone in lacking directionin reality, any large newsroom is so chaotic that there are days when you wonder if editors and reporters could organize a one-car caravan but later addresses the issue specifically, pointing out that Horowitz and Milbank were not aware of the content of each others pieces.
Horowitz told me that his story had already started taking shape before Milbanks column appeared and dismissed the notion of coordination.
Apparently neither one of the two writers nor any editors considered finding out the content of both pieces in case they were heading in the same direction. The explanation makes it seems as if all the Post writers work on whatever they want and often cover the same topics without realizing it, with some pieces ending up in the opinion section and some in news, depending on who happens upon the copy laying around on someones desk. Working together would have avoided the entire problem. Incorporating Horowitzs work into Milbanks opinion piece would have strengthened it considerably, but as it stands alone Horowitzs piece which Alexander admits is questionable for its overwhelming support of one side of the issue, especially from anonymous sources.
The strange thing is that Alexanders repudiation of anonymous comment journalism comes in a piece where he is attempting to defend the papers credibility. He explains the pitfalls of anonymous sources and proceeds to point out how rampant the practice of quoting them is at the Washington Post, including in the work of the storys apparent hero, the legendary Broder. Its an interesting approach to take if Alexander is attempting to restore a legitimacy he sees under threat. Sure, a newspaper needs some sort of organization to propagate a uniform agenda, but it also needs organization to collect accurate information and write worthwhile news pieces, and this does not make objectivity and credibility mutually exclusive.
What tangled webs we weave .....
So, to sum up: WaPo claims they’re too incompetent to be conspirators??? I have trouble buying that.
Was Rham dressed or naked in the shower when he leaked? Was he holding a fish?
Well, maybe incompetence is a pretty good excuse
We are disorganized. We don’t know if we are just left wing or far left wing. We cannot make up our minds so you cannot hold us responsible.
Al Gore feigned incontinence when the discussion of accepting illegal Chicom campaign donations came up...
So do I. Apparently though, the Wash. Post is organized enough to continually run hit pieces against any conservative politician or cause when they so desire. Wash. Post, hurry up and DIE!
/:) I agree that Algor would need to feign incontinence, in order to hide his chronic constipation.