What the WaPo’s Ombud Wrote about Today*

*hint: It doesn’t rhyme with “bad witch”…

On Friday, two Washington Post political reporters caused a firestorm when they aired the latest of their spectacularly inane Web series, “Mouthpiece Theater”—a mockery of “Masterpiece Theater” that is meant to exhibit political satire, but that seems to amuse precisely nobody. While, however, it angers many. (“personally,” the blogger Atrios Twittered earlier today, “i think mouthpiece theater is killing journalism.”) The series angered many more people than usual this past week when its star, Dana Milbank, used the series’s video platform to suggest, superverbally, that Hillary Clinton is a “mad bitch.”


So. Given the facts that: 1). “Mouthpiece Theater” caused such anger on Friday, and previously; 2). that anger was justified; 3). that justified anger caused the Post to remove the offending video from its Web site; 4). the cause of the justified anger was a political reporter who has already been in hot water recently for making an inappropriate remark; and 5). the ideas in question in the “Mouthpiece Theater” controversy—how far is too far? what are the limits of satire? do the rules for text apply just as readily to video? etc.—are not only topical and journalistically relevant, but also substantial and interesting…then, given all that, what would you write about in today’s column if you were Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander?

“The Flourishing Life of the Obit Desk”? Correct!

But in nearly every other way: Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.