Monday, October 03, 2005

Diversity, WaPo sameness

The powers that be at The Washington Post have apparently been soliciting in-house critiques of the paper from it's own staff, and the Post's media reporter Howard Kurtz today gives us an interesting look into some of the staff comments. Most notable, although hardly a revelation, was this:
On Thursday, Book World Editor Marie Arana, noting that she had been "a Young Republican at 15, a marching SDSer at 20, and roundly disgusted by the blue-team, red-team political dialogue by the time I turned 30," criticized an article on what was called a "stealth evangelism" festival by saying: "The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear liberalism on our sleeve and are intolerant of other lifestyles and opinions. . . . We're not very subtle about it at this paper: If you work here, you must be one of us. You must be liberal, progressive, a Democrat. I've been in communal gatherings in The Post, watching election returns, and have been flabbergasted to see my colleagues cheer unabashedly for the Democrats."
Who would have guessed, huh? BTW, does this sound like an atmosphere that might prevail at any other media outlet you might know of, perhaps this side of the Atlantic? Nah. Impossible, right?

Particularly hilarious was the response of the Post's Executive Editor Leonard Downie to this revelation. According to Kurtz:
Downie says he is concerned if some staffers are openly displaying political references but that Arana's comments were valuable and "made clear that we do have a diverse staff when it comes to ideological backgrounds."
Now there is an interesting analysis. The fact that one person is able to recognize the lack of ideological diversity at the Post means that the Post does in fact have an ideologically diverse staff. Rarely has even a politician been heard to say such a plainly ludicrous thing.

(From The Corner)


Blogger biotourist said...

Hi - I like your blog. I am an Australian expat in NY and I find your perspective interesting.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous tired & excitable said...

Establishing that Downie is a fool or a liar or as dumb as a brick -- or some combination. Safe to assume the WaPo's London staff won't be rushed to Shepherd's Bush to add context for BBC viewers.

Pitiful though it is, this story pales against the SF Chronicle's attempt to defend its recent outing, the photo cropping that deliberately left the truth on the cutting room floor. For a summary, linked to pix (scroll down to A Picture Is Worth...):

Safe also to predict that Paul Reynolds won't be around to "analyse" for us plebs. If only Caroline Hawley's Baghdad palm tree could talk...

5:37 AM  

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