Green Room

WaPo civil war going public?

posted at 12:55 pm on January 31, 2013 by

Normally when a newspaper gets a friendly cite during a public event, they’re pretty happy about it. When the Washington Post gets praise from a conservative like Senator Jim Inhofe, they should be delighted about it.  Rosie Gray reports at Buzzfeed that instead of popping the bubbly, the Post is breaking out into open civil war:

Senator Jim Inhofe cited a blog post by conservative Washington PostbloggerJennifer Rubin during the confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel on Thursday, setting in motion a public argument on Twitter.

Inhofe, who called Rubin a reporter, cited a blog post of her’s about Hagel. Shortly thereafter, Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran took issue with Rubin’s work on Twitter, saying that Rubin “is NOT a WaPo reporter.”

His words brought into sharp relief something that has divided the Post newsroom for several years: Late to the internet and struggling to maintain its status as a top-tier news outlet, the Post turned to high-profile, often partisan bloggers, led by the liberal policy wonk Ezra Klein, to generate traffic and buzz. But the outlet’s unfamiliarity with the online news environment quickly showed: Their first conservative blogger was fired in a plagiarism flap, and the second, Dave Weigel, was let go after Post management learned — apparently to their surprise, if not to his actual readers’ — that he wasn’t a movement conservative.

Here are the tweets cited by Gray:

Greg Sargent comes to Jen’s defense:

https://twitter.com/ThePlumLineGS/status/297011190696116225

One can be a blogger and a reporter, even in traditional media outlets.  Jen manages to do both, as does Greg, as Gray points out later with links to some of their work.  It sounds like Rajiv might have a case of sour grapes.  If so, then so does the paper itself:

“Jennifer Rubin is an opinion writer on the editorial page. She is not a reporter in the newsroom,” said Kristine Coratti, a spokesperson for the Washington Post.

Way to stand up for your writers, WaPo!

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Take note Meghan McCain, this could very well be you.

Flange on January 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Wait, I thought Jennifer Rubin was writer for IHeartRomney.com, she actually works for the WashPo?

portlandon on January 31, 2013 at 1:05 PM

“Jennifer Rubin is an opinion writer on the editorial page. She is not a reporter in the newsroom,” said Kristine Coratti, a spokesperson for the Washington Post.

That’s not back pain, Jennifer, it’s a knife.

rbj on January 31, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Isn’t that precious. A newspaper is trying to make a distinction between it’s “news” and “opinion” divisions.

gwelf on January 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM

So partisans posing as journalists get irritated when someone calls another partisan a journalist? Hmmm…

changer1701 on January 31, 2013 at 1:14 PM

The more interesting question, of course, is whether Chandrasekaran would have gotten his knickers twisted if a Democratic U.S. Senator has cited a liberal Washington Post blogger as their source of information, and called that blogger a reporter. My guess is the outrageously outrageous outrage Rajiv is exhibiting here would be nowhere to be seen in that situation

jon1979 on January 31, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Where’s Juan Williams to look down his nose?

John the Libertarian on January 31, 2013 at 1:23 PM

The only substantive difference between an opinion writer and a reporter is the level of honesty about one’s agenda.

John the Libertarian on January 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Blogging is still “unserious journalism” too, eh Rajiv?

Jeddite on January 31, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The only substantive difference between an opinion writer and a reporter is the level of honesty about one’s agenda.

John the Libertarian on January 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Actually, here’s the main difference between an opinion writer and reporter.

An opinion writer expresses the opinion writer’s opinion.

A reporter finds a source who is willing to express the reporter’s opinion.

The Rogue Tomato on January 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

A reporter finds a source who is willing to express the reporter’s opinion.

The Rogue Tomato on January 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

And if that’s too hard, they’ll cite a “source who wishes to remain anonymous.”

John the Libertarian on January 31, 2013 at 1:49 PM

A reporter finds a source who is willing to express the reporter’s opinion.

And if a source is not available, selectively splices some video to create one!

drunyan8315 on January 31, 2013 at 1:51 PM

You would not have heard a peep out of that tool Rajiv if Sen. Franken had called Ezra Klein a reporter.

Mr. Arkadin on January 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Blogger? Reporter?
What difference, at this point, does it make??

stevezilla on January 31, 2013 at 4:04 PM

I’m sure the WaPo holds Rubin to a much higher professional and ethical standards than they do their mere reporters. Maybe they were defending her.

malclave on January 31, 2013 at 6:33 PM