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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, December 12, 2002
12:16 PM

Hootie Johnson Remains Silent and in other news Dog Bites Man... Leonard Shapiro gets a huge display in the Post Sports section for a story, Trying to Master the Situation, whose apogee is that dreadful headline. It doesn't tell us much that's new about the Augusta membership issue. And unfortunately it continues a one-sided harangue against the club.

Here are the main problems with the story:

1. He cites polls that support Augusta critics but not those that don't.
2. He quotes people who believe Augusta's gender policy is similar to race discrimination, but not those who don't.
3. He quotes a local critic who charges that most people in the community are "afraid" to speak out against the policy. But he can't find any locals to dispute that allegation or defend Augusta. Not one.
4. He says Hootie Johnson "isn't sharing" his opinion on the issue, saying Johnson turned down an interview request. But he oddly doesn't mention Johnson's media blitz last month, including a Nov. 12 interview with Shapiro himself. How many times does he want Johnson to repeat himself?
5. He quotes an anonymous USGA official who disagrees with PGA chief Tim Finchem, but not anyone to defend him.
6. You'd never know from reading this story that women play at Augusta all the time.

There are other problems that I hope to blog in a bit more detail, but that's it for now. Shapiro strikes one true note when he says Augusta Chronicle publisher Billy Morrris III killed a Martha Burk Q&A, pushed a Burk profile off the front pages and has otherwise damaged his editors' attempts to cover the story as true journalists should. His bad. John Feinstein also noted this the other day and it's as bad for the Chronicle as it was for the NYT.

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