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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

WaPo Revokes DoD Event Sponsorship

The Post has dropped its sponsorship of the September 11th event in DC that I denounced last week, and Glenn Reynolds isn't pleased, tying the removal of sponsor from what is ostensiby a 9/11 memorial event to negative press coverage of the Iraq war. Invoking World War II, he writes, "back then the press wanted us to win."

In stark contrast, Kos titles a post "WaPo pulls out of creepy 9/11 propaganda event," calling the decision "obviously the right thing to do." Sounds like he and Prof. Reynolds don't quite agree on this one.

As I learned in this space last week, next month's event is one very divisive topic. I wrote on it with unusual vehemence for me, and a few commenters responded in kind. I broke one of my personal blogging rules, which is "don't blog angry" (a variation on Bill Murray's "don't drive angry" from Groundhog Day, but that is neither here nor there).

I do wonder, though, why the WaPo decision should be controversial at all. It is pretty unseemly for a private press organ to be co-sponsoring a DoD event like this one; as the paper said in its statement, the sponsorship looks like something that could bias coverage, so they scrapped it. Does anyone care to offer a (calm, restrained) argument for why having a Washington Post do something like this would be appropriate (and preferably not an argument for state-run media)? Thanks.

I'll add, via Atrios that DoD itself is changing the way it is describing the event itself, so maybe it's not just those anti-war ninnies in the press Reynolds criticizes who are to blame for everything. This seems a tacit admission by the administration that they initially made some missteps here. (If the Post were sponsoring an antiwar march, Reynolds might then have a point.)