Intramural WaPo

Read this entire Bill Turque blog post from The Washington Post.  And then say…wow.

Update:  The blog post is gone, airbrushed away Kremlin style!  Did Larry King complain?  Stay tuned!

Update II:   I looked and couldn’t find it anywhere online but commenter Phillip Marlowe got his hands on one.

Update III:  An edited version is now back up via the original link.   Lesson…Don’t mess with Larry King!

12 Responses to “Intramural WaPo”

  1. GGW Says:

    ka-wow.

  2. Robert Pondiscio Says:

    Having spent far more of my adult life in print journalism than in education, I have to give props to Bill Turque. It takes a lot of guts to keep the people you cover honest — and your paper too. Good for Turque. Good for the Post. Great for Post readers.

  3. Praj Says:

    fyi, link’s no longer working.

  4. Robert Pondiscio Says:

    As of 9:18pm, the story’s down. Another piece is up. Watching very carefully.

  5. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Jo Ann Armao, shill for Michelle Rhee and all haters on teacher unions, must have gotten upset.

    “Ignore that man behind the curtain.”

  6. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Here’s the story:
    One newspaper, two stories

    Many of you may have noticed something more than a tad odd Tuesday morning in our coverage of Chancellor Rhee’s now immortal comments to “Fast Company.” My story, which appeared on the front of the Metro section, said that Rhee had yet to explain or elaborate, and that there would be no comment until later in the day. My Monday evening blog entry said pretty much the same thing.

    The editorial page told a different story. Citing “information released by the chancellor’s office on Monday,” it said that of the 266 teachers laid off in October, six had served suspensions for corporal punishment, two had been absent without leave on multiple occasions, and one was on administrative leave for allegedly having sex with a student.

    So, after asking DCPS about this since Friday–and being promised a response all day Monday–I read the answers in an editorial. Channel 4′s Tom Sherwood also had Rhee’s explanation on the air Monday.

    But it’s the disconnect between the editorial page and the news section that I feel requires some kind explanation. So let me try.

    The news and opinion columns of The Post are wholly separate and independent operations. This assertion frequently draws a torrent of skepticism, but if this episode does nothing else, it should give the lie to the notion that there is some sort of sinister linkage. I have little-to-no contact with Jo-Ann Armao, who writes The Post’s education editorials (full disclosure: Jo-Ann hired me in 2002 when she was the assistant managing editor for metro news; but we’re all allowed a lapse of judgment now and then). About the only time we cross paths is at news events involving District education. Jo-Ann is a dogged journalist who pursues her own information.

    That includes talking to Chancellor Rhee. And while I don’t have their call sheets in front of me, I would wager that the Chancellor talks to Jo-Ann more than she does to me. (After a well-documented period of silence, the Chancellor started taking my calls and e-mails again last summer)

    That’s fine. Chancellor Rhee can obviously talk to whoever she wants about whatever she wants. While some of my colleagues don’t agree, my view is that Jo-Ann isn’t responsible for watching my back journalistically any more than I would be expected to align my reporting with her points of view.

    The chancellor is clearly more comfortable speaking with Jo-Ann, which is wholly unsurprising. I’m a beat reporter charged with covering, as fully and fairly as I can, an often turbulent story about the chancellor’s attempts to fix the District’s public schools. The job involves chronicling messy and contentious debates based in both politics and policy, and sometimes publishing information she would rather not see in the public domain.

    Jo-Ann, on the other hand, sits on an editorial board whose support for the chancellor has been steadfast, protective and, at times, adoring.

    That’s what editorial boards do. They form opinions and write about them. People can buy in.

    Or not.

    Where this gets complicated is that board’s stance, and the chancellor’s obvious rapport with Jo-Ann, also means that DCPS has a guaranteed soft landing spot for uncomfortable or inconvenient disclosures–kind of a print version of the Larry King Show. This happened last September during the flap over the out-of-boundary admission of Mayor Fenty’s twin sons to Lafayette Elementary in Chevy Chase.

    The chancellor repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether policies and procedures had been followed to place the kids in the coveted school. A few days after the dust settled, an editorial offered, without attribution, an “innocent explanation”: the Fentys neighborhood school, West Elementary, had only one fourth grade class. Lafayette’s multiple fourth-grade sections made it possible to separate the twins, which studies show is developmentally desirable.

    Are Fenty and Rhee gaming the system by using the editorial page this way? Of course. Is this a healthy thing for readers of The Post? Probably not. Is it going to keep me from doing my job effectively?

    Nope.

    Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at http://washingtonpost.com/dcschoolsinsider.
    For all the Post’s Education coverage, please see http://washingtonpost.com/education. Or follow us on our Facebook fan page, or on our Twitter feed “PostSchools”.

    POOR JO_ANN

  7. Linda/Retired Teacher Says:

    When a newspaper silences its reporters, that’s more ominous for our country than almost anything else. Equally frightening is the Post’s strange defense of Michelle Rhee. There’s a huge story here, maybe for the New York Times.

  8. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Perestroika verison:
    Jo-Ann, on the other hand, sits on an editorial board whose support for the chancellor has been steadfast, protective and, at times, adoring.

    Kremlin version:
    Jo-Ann, on the other hand, sits on an editorial board whose support for the chancellor has been steadfast.

  9. Robert Pondiscio Says:

    Good God. You would think if anyone understands that it’s not the crime, it’s the cover up, it would be the Washington Post.

  10. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Google didn’t have a cached version (maybe hanging around the Chinese too much ;} ), but Bing does:

    http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=%22many+of+you+may+have+noticed+something+more+than+a+tad+odd+tuesday+morning+in+our+coverage%22&d=233061417197&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=679b813e,7f3746c2

  11. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Some more differences:
    The other area that’s been excessively edited is the part about Rhee and Fenty:

    Original:
    **********************’

    “Where this gets complicated is that board’s stance, and the chancellor’s obvious rapport with Jo-Ann, also means that DCPS has a guaranteed soft landing spot for uncomfortable or inconvenient disclosures–kind of a print version of the Larry King Show. This happened last September during the flap over the out-of-boundary admission of Mayor Fenty’s twin sons to Lafayette Elementary in Chevy Chase.

    The chancellor repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether policies and procedures had been followed to place the kids in the coveted school. A few days after the dust settled, an editorial offered, without attribution, an “innocent explanation”: the Fentys neighborhood school, West Elementary, had only one fourth grade class. Lafayette’s multiple fourth-grade sections made it possible to separate the twins, which studies show is developmentally desirable.

    Are Fenty and Rhee gaming the system by using the editorial page this way? Of course. Is this a healthy thing for readers of The Post? Probably not. Is it going to keep me from doing my job effectively?

    Nope.

    *******************
    Revised:

    *****************
    Where this gets complicated is that board’s stance, and the chancellor’s rapport with Jo-Ann, means that DCPS may prefer to talk to her than me. This could be what happened last September during the flap over the out-of-boundary admission of Mayor Fenty’s twin sons to Lafayette Elementary in Chevy Chase.

    The chancellor avoided questions about whether policies and procedures had been followed to place the kids in the coveted school. A few days after the dust settled, an editorial offered an explanation: the Fenty’s neighborhood school, West Elementary, had only one fourth grade class. Lafayette’s multiple fourth-grade sections made it possible to separate the twins, which studies show is developmentally desirable.

    Is this kind of thing going to keep me from doing my job well?

    Nope.

    **********************

    The other changes are minor.

    Original: “And while I don’t have their call sheets in front of me, I would wager that the Chancellor talks to Jo-Ann more than she does to me. ”

    Revised: “And I would wager that the Chancellor talks to Jo-Ann more than she does to me.”

    Original: “The chancellor is clearly more comfortable speaking with Jo-Ann, which is wholly unsurprising.”

    Revised: drops “wholly”

    Posted by: Cal_Lanier | January 28, 2010 12:22 AM

  12. John Says:

    you still got it, phil

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