TPM Reader RP shares his thoughts on the Froomkin trial …
I am a regular reader of Dan Froomkin’s column. Since the begining of this debate, I had two things come to my mind:
1. If this whole thing is only about having differences over the name of the column, why is then this not being talked over internally? WHy do they have to discuss this so public? I have a feeling that it is partly to show the white house that they are trying, responding to their possible hand- twisting. THis way, even if the name does not change, they have shown that they at least tried very hard and labelled Dan a liberal + appeal to conservatives along the way.
2. The website editor has done the appropriate thing already. Dan’s column is listed on the Wash Po main website, under the subheading “blogs” within the pull down titled “today’s editorial, opinions, columns”. So any person who understands English and is sensible, would know that Dan is not a reporter writing a newstory.
The first point is a good one. And it’s one that hadn’t occurred to me. Transparency is a good thing. That’s one reason for having an ombudsman. But assuming there’s been no vast public outcry, why exactly hasn’t this just been dealt with internally? For that matter, as silly as it is, why is it being dealt with at all?
As near as I can tell, at least three people from the print edition — Downie, Harris, and Howell — have publicly pressed the head of the online edition to change the name of Froomkin’s column. I guess we have to assume that in one fashion or another the online editor has told them all to go jump in a lake.
I’d say, send Froomkin back to his holding cell while we get an answer to this latest question.
Late Update: Actually, keep Froomkin in the holding cell for a bit longer. Who’s the Executive Editor of the Post Online edition? If the title isn’t executive editor, who’s the top editorial decision maker over there? This must be the person to whom Froomkin has to make an appeal for clemency. And no, this isn’t just a question for effect. If you know, drop me a note and let me know who the person is.
Even Later Update: Alas, my cup runneth over with information. At Jay Rosen’s PressThink website, Jay has a lengthy discussion of the subject along with interviews of Harris and Jim Brady, who’s the executive editor of the Post online.