British media has taken its share of punishment, but no newspaper has been as battered lately as the Washington Post. This week, the Post defended itself after an eviscerating takedown by the New Republic, only then to come under fire from readers for hosting a chat about the Edwards divorce.
The latest imbroglio is internal. It began when metro eduction reporter Bill Turque wrote a scathing blog post claiming fellow reporter and Post editorial board member Jo-Ann Armao gave D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee too much of a platform--in his words, "a print version of the Larry King show." When word spread, managing editor Liz Spayd deleted the post entirely. The post was eventually put back up, in significantly altered form, with incendiary comments about the company removed.
A host of bloggers blasted the Post for censoring its own writers, but the Columbia Journalism Review's Clint Hendler goes a step further and points out a disturbing trend.
In a way, this reminds me of a similar ham-handed episode from this summer involving a Post decision to pull online content without initially telling its readers: the sudden disappearance of a Dana Milbank/Chris Cillizza online video suggesting Hillary Clinton ought to quaff "Mad Bitch" beer.
As of yet, the Post has no comment on how the spat will be resolved.