Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Michael Getler and the Washington Post

Funny, I was just talking about the Washington Post and how it seemed to eminate this aura of smugness (from the Sunday Source to Howard Kurtz) and I recently wrote a letter to the Post's ombudsman, Michael Getler, expressing to him my dissatisfaction with the Post, and how I thought it had been steadily declining in quality. Here are some excerpts from his letter to me:
As for the other stuff, I've written many times about the general failure of the press pre-war. But the Post did better than most, even though it fell short. It has covered the war itself and post-invasion better than anyone else.
The problem is that even though Getler is correct in saying that he has written many times about the general failure of the press pre-war, his conclusion is consistently that which he states above: the Post did better than others. Well excuse me if I don't want a newspaper that simply strives to be "better than most" when it comes to reporting on the most important issue in the world. It is reminiscent of the argument about US torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib that it is really nothing compared to what Saddam Hussein did at Abu Ghraib. Also, to say that the Post's coverage of the war itself and post-invasion is better than anyone else's is pretty gutsy. There seems to be much better coverage in the foreign press. Hell, there's better coverage on Informed Comment than in the Washington Post. Smugness, my friend, smugness.

Finally, Getler writes of the Post: "I frankly do not see how any educated and engaged person living in this region chooses to live without the paper for 35 cents a day, or less with a subscription." Smuggity smuggity smuggity. How in the world do I get by each day without buying the Washington Post? Heaven forbid. I think really Getler just does not consider me educated or engaged (and maybe he's right) - but in fact, this really seems to be his attitude about any criticism of the Washington Post: "What the hell do you know, anyway?" Smug.

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