Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fall of the Boy King

The reign of the Washington Post’s Boy King has come to an end. Let the peasants of his Maryland fiefdoms raid the castle and plunder the royal pantry!

Multiple spies report that local editorial intern Steven Stein, forever to be remembered as the Post’s blithering Boy King, is leaving with the return of editorial writer Lee Hockstader. It was Hockstader’s sabbatical last year that opened the local editorial seat for intern Stein, who abused that authority with the colicky caprice of a Dark Ages adolescent monarch.

And oh, what memories we shall cherish from the Boy King’s reign! Let’s see... there was his branding collective bargaining a “ruse,” his designation of the Fire Fighters Union as “the worst offender” for offering to give up a mere $7 million in compensation and his libelous allegation that unions had “funneled contributions” to Nancy Navarro’s campaign. And that’s just the worst of his many anti-union ravings.

Want more? How about his advocacy that the state government should pass down teacher pensions to the counties despite his admission that it would be “crippling to local governments?” Or how about his virtual rewriting of a county press release on public schools Maintenance of Effort? Does any of that beat his multiple endorsements of Ben Kramer in the County Council District 4 special election?

What more should we expect from a neophyte who grew up in Los Angeles, went to school at Emory College in Atlanta, landed his first job out of college as a Post intern and was soon handed the local editorial pen by the Post despite the fact that he had never before lived in the D.C. area? Indeed, the Boy King was so ignorant of Montgomery County politics that he called multiple people after the release of Nancy Navarro’s negative mailers asking how they felt about the first negative campaign tactic in the county’s history. (News flash – our politicians have been doing that for a long time.) But what truly attracted the ire of our elected leaders was his gleeful delight on the Post’s website about “infuriating a high-ranking politician or the residents of a major city” and in “writing things that anger people.”

Soon after this blog outed Stein, MCGEO distributed an open letter at the Democrats’ spring ball criticizing him for his anti-union screeds. That caused the Boy King to dispatch an old college friend to defend him on this blog under a false name. When we traced the minion back to Stein, his credibility was destroyed. Any other journalistic outlet would have fired him, but Stein was lucky enough to work for an employer that is remarkably tolerant of ethical failures.

The Washington Post Company is one of this blog’s most frequent readers. Their bosses knew full well of the monumental embarrassment caused by their decision to let an intern with no local experience write local editorials. Hockstader’s return created a ready opportunity for them to quietly kiss good-bye to the Boy King.

Too bad for them that we found out!