Apparently, some uptight Washington Post reporters don't like that Dan Froomkin (easily the one columnist at the Washington Post we read frequently) notices how closely certain Washington bureau reporters suck up to the White House, and are trying to stir up trouble.

One thought, Froomkin rocks. We subscribe to his blog, via our RSS reader, which is a sign that we don't want to miss anything important.

Tim Grieve of Salon agrees - News & Politics | War Room
Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell. In her column over the weekend, Howell lamented the fact that readers don't always make a distinction between what's in the printed version of the Washington Post and what appears on, a semi-separate entity owned by Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive.

And Exhibit A, Howell says, is Dan Froomkin's “White House Briefing” column at “Political reporters at the Post don't like” the “highly opinionated and liberal” column, Howell says, and they're “afraid some readers think that Froomkin is a Post White House reporter.” Howell quotes the Post's national political editor, John Harris, as worrying that the title of Froomkin's column “dilutes our only asset -- our credibility.”...

That's why the “readers” we know consider Froomkin's column an essential part of their day. But in an interview with Editor & Publisher today, Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. seems to suggest that the Post is concerned about what certain other “readers” think. “We want to make sure people in the [Bush] administration know that our news coverage by White House reporters is separate from what appears in Froomkin's column because it contains opinion,” Downie said. “And that readers of the Web site understand that, too.”

There's probably no harm in labeling Froomkin's column as “opinion,” even if it's only White House staffers who find themselves confused, but it's ridiculous to dismiss it as “liberal.” As Froomkin himself explains, his only agenda is accountability. “I believe that the president of the United States, no matter what his party, should be subject to the most intense journalistic scrutiny imaginable,” he writes in a response to Howell's column posted at “The journalists who cover Washington and the White House should be holding the president accountable. When they do, I bear witness to their work. And the answer is for more of them to do so -- not for me to be dismissed as highly opinionated and liberal because I do.”

Howell's solution? She says that should change the name of Froomkin's column. The site's executive editor, Jim Brady, tells E&P that he's not going to do that, but he tells Howell that he's thinking about adding a conservative blogger for balance.

We've got a different idea. If reporters and editors at the Post are truly concerned that is undermining their credibility -- and really, given the recent revelations about Bob Woodward, isn't it the other way around? -- then perhaps it's time to change something other than the name of “White House Briefing.” Call us crazy, but if the owners of the Washington Post don't want people thinking that a Web site represents the work of the Washington Post, then maybe they shouldn't call that Web site

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on December 13, 2005 3:07 PM.

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