Inside the editorial page of The Washington Post are the words “An Independent Newspaper.”
According to The Washington Post its editorials “… represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the editorial board” and “… every editorial is based on original reporting.”
Throughout 2013 (and 2012 & 2011), as the editorial board of The Washington Post sought to promote its independence; it attempted to maneuver control over District politics and investigations by the Office of the U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Earlier this year when Ms. Weymouth announced her newspaper was jettisoning its independent ombudsman for an in-house reader representative, it was a clear signal of The Washington Post’s definition of independent and control, particularly regarding the editorial board.
Ms. Weymouth wrote the world had changed and the role of the newspaper ombudsman had evolved.
In response, Mr. Philip Seib (his father served as a Post ombudsman) wrote, this was a step backwards from newspaper public /reader accountability.
As Mr. Steven Pearlstein wrote in The Washington Post series on the insiders’ game – “Getting Rich In The New Washington,” today’s Washington is about “…celebrity, manipulation and the chance to make a big score.”
Free falling in financial instability, The Washington Post was given a financial parachute from Mr. Jeffrey "Jeff" Bezos. Apparently now Ms. Weymouth and Ms. Armao hope to revive, to restore, and to rejuvenate the influence of the editorial board on all aspects of District politics, culture, community identity, and public policy.
It seems Ms. Weymouth may have realized it is difficult even for a mighty newspaper to be independent without money.
While this lift of financial freedom helps Ms. Weymouth and Ms. Armao continue to march on in their quest to be overseers of District life, they continue to demonstrate an unwillingness to support principles of due process and fairness to all.
We can only hope 2014 brings more responsibility and accountability.
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