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An interesting perspective from TPM Reader CB on the unfolding Post drama …

We moved to the DC area – Maryland suburbs – straight from Northwestern Law in 1968 and have subscribed to the Post daily and Sunday ever since. From the elixir of the morning Woodward and Bernstein exclusives that chronicled  the unraveling of the Nixon presidency, to a daily paper thinner than a half used yellow legal pad in the dying days of the Graham family ownership, we have stuck with the Post. 

We were thrilled when Bezos bought the paper, and still think it was the only good option for the Graham family.  But I thought the Buzbee hiring was a bad idea from the beginning; the very last thing that the Post needed to be was an offshoot of the AP. I’m glad she is leaving, because it gives the Post an opportunity to come back alive in what will be the most crucial election since 1860. Will the Republic stand?

However, if the new management thinks “swagger” — or the lack thereof — has been the problem, they have sorely misread their audience. Swagger for Swagger sake is the New York Post. It will fail in this country’s capital. 

The problem with the Post is precisely that it has not understood that the urgency of the moment requires a crusading newspaper, not a newspaper that trims its sails and insists on equal time for blowhards and insurrectionists. When I read the Post (and the Times as well— Sunday home delivery) I see the failure of nerve. The failure to decide what side they are on and cover everything from that perspective. This is a time to be for Biden and democracy, and against Trump and the dictatorship of a Trump SS. My instruction to my reporters would be simple; if you read your copy and it’s not how Ed Murrow would have written it, tear it up. If you can’t do that, leave. 

Among the great national newspapers, not one has crusading DNA. It’s an opening for the Post  that no one else is even trying fill. Oh, and also, it’s the only way to turbocharge its circulation. 

I don’t know enough about Buzbee, or the Post as a paper for that matter, to know if this is right. (I read many Post articles but I don’t read it as a daily paper.) But I can see various reasons why someone out of the AP world wouldn’t be a fit for a paper like the Post. Marty Baron was about as crusading an editor as you get in top national dailies these days. But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that he retired in February 2021, basically when the getting was good, if you wanted all the good stuff from the Trump surge in journalism interest and none of the aftermath. The timing of that hand-off couldn’t help but make Buzbee suffer by comparison, no matter what her talents were.

We are still mostly in the era of the one-paper towns, even though with the Times and the Post and the Journal we’re really talking about national papers, of which only a very, very few can succeed. That crusading posture is very tough to match with the business model of those papers.

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