Monday, May 04, 2009

Politicians React to Boy King

Last week, we revealed that the Washington Post had hired an intern from Los Angeles and Emory University who knew nothing about our metro area to write local editorials. That post attracted MASSIVE attention from Maryland politicians. Here is a sample of the opinions we received from current elected office holders in the Free State.

Office Holder #1:

It is a sad comment on the state of print journalism today.

Office Holder #2:

I think it’s a sign of the direction the remaining newspapers are headed.

Office Holder #3:

This confirms what I have thought for a long time: Maryland, and specifically Montgomery County, is seen by the Post as a provincial back water.

Office Holder #4:

This is just one more nail in the coffin for how I perceive of the Post’s respect for Montgomery County. Most of the time, the Post ignores us and when it doesn’t it dumps an individual who lacks the maturity - and most importantly knowledge of the area - to editorialize about my county.

Office Holder #5:

It used to be that readers looked to the Post editorial page for mature institutional insight, thoughtful assessment and contextual history. Apparently clever writing has become a satisfactory substitute for wisdom and judgment derived from some modicum of community experience. Let’s hope he came cheap.

Office Holder #6:

I would like to have thought that the Washington Post held Montgomery County in higher regard by having someone with more experience and, as important, some greater connection to Montgomery County than Steven Stein. While I am not offended by “hard-hitting journalism” or “infuriating a high-ranking politician or the residents” if the facts back up such opinions or stories, I do have a problem with an editorial writer of a large metropolitan area of nearly 1 million residents who “writes things that anger people” as an “interest” for the sake of angering people. Based on your blog, I hope the Post considers replacing Steven Stein with someone who has a little more maturity - actually a lot more maturity! And where is Steven Stein’s or The Post’s response to your blog?

Office Holder #7:

I’m very glad that someone is pulling the curtain to reveal the real “Wizard of the Post.” When you consider the extraordinary influence that Washington Post editorials have demonstrated by a rather arbitrary selection of winners vs. losing candidates in past Montgomery County elections, it is appalling to discover the “little man pulling the levers.” How many people were fooled? The Post endorsement process appears to be no more rigorous, research-based, and comprehensive than tossing a coin up in the air. By hiring an inexperienced neophyte to deliver their editorial messages, Post editorial senior management did not show respect for its readers and for the diverse, changing communities their newspaper serves.

Office Holder #8:

I’m sure the young man is a very talented writer with promising career potential. But the Post’s putting a largely ignorant, totally inexperienced, right-leaning Virginia resident in the position of crafting their editorials on Montgomery County would be a bit like having Britney Spears hand out Pulitzer Prizes; not just absurd, but an act of contempt. It’s further evidence of the Post's growing disdain for local reporting and analysis, perhaps any newspaper’s most essential role.

Office Holder #9:

No wonder newspapers are collapsing and everyone is going to the blogs. If you are right about this, the Washington Post has turned over the political concerns of more than a million people in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties to a recent college grad who has never lived in our state. Why don’t they just outsource their election endorsements to free-lance contractors in India? You can get underage writers real cheap there and they’ll e-mail you anti-union propaganda within minutes. Seriously, we would be much better off if the editorials were written by editors of the Diamondback — at least those are college kids who know something about our community and have something at stake here in Maryland.

Office Holder #10:

Adam, I was troubled to read that an unqualified ideologue with an inflated sense of self-importance is writing the Post editorials for Montgomery County. Usually we call such people “elected officials.”