The Post Responds to TNR

Today in media world gossip: Donald Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Company, responds to The New Republic’s recent critical look at WaPo. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t like it very much:

Having read these stories for 40 years, I found Gabriel Sherman’s piece particularly lazy. Not much new here. His endless lead rehashes an episode now seven months old in which a screamingly obvious decision to enter the conference business was betrayed by poor execution. Respected news organizations sponsor dozens of conferences.

Your reporter tries to build this into a mountain. Having lived through the Janet Cooke episode in my second year as publisher, I do not see in this months-old issue even a respectable-sized molehill.

This is not entirely persuasive—whether or not Sherman’s article added much news, “salongate” was more than a molehill, and it continues to be of interest because of a sense that the Post hasn’t fully explained the episode. Still, it’s good to see paper sticking up for itself.

(For readers who don’t immediately get the Janet Cooke reference, the Wikipedia entry, with a link to contemporaneous coverage in the Post, is here.)

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.