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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, January 20, 2003
8:36 PM

Let's just say it's a bad month for Leonard Shapiro and leave it at that. Reader Barry Molefsky of A City Slicker emailed me about a City Paper column criticizing Shapiro about how he manages his sports media column. According to City Paper writer Dave McKenna, Shapiro praises fellow sports figures who help him and pan those who don't, without disclosing key relationships to his readers. It includes this from Post Ombudsman Michael Getler:

Post ombudsman Michael Getler says he was unfamiliar with Shapiro's outside interests. But Getler knows that the number of journalists forming professional bonds with people or organizations they cover is growing, and he's not real happy about it. "I think that's a bad idea, for anybody, for a newspaper or any other news organization," Getler says. "If editors are convinced of the professionalism of their people, they're more inclined to give them a little extra rope. But when conflicts are apparent, they need to be called out and questioned."

And here's part of Shapiro's response to specific charges of back-scratching WTEM:

Shapiro says any hint that he's in too tight with WTEM management is "absurd" and points to the awards column as proof of his independence. "I took shots at 'TEM's hockey guy [Steve Kolbe, who Shapiro wrote ‘yells far too often'] and a semishot at their basketball guy [Dave Johnson, who ‘gets bogged down in minutiae']. And I took a big shot at the lead talk-show host [John Thompson, named ‘Worst Local Radio Broadcaster']. So no matter what I said about Andy Pollin, you could also make the point that I came out 3-to-1 against 'TEM."

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