WaPo Redeems

Just when you thought the Washington Post jumped the shark* with its recent front-page, Sunday edition, above-the-fold story on romance in the Occupy Wall Street camps, the paper redeems itself with two very good pieces. One is what the Post does best: human interest stories with a policy/political/national security bent. It focuses on Jennifer Matthews, a key CIA agent and mother of three, who was among the seven Americans killed in the December 2009 suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Another article was the type of article you don’t find very much in the Washington Post (apart from regular columnists like Krauthammer and Will): a grown-up’s piece on the topic of income inequality, titled “Angry about inequality? Don’t blame the rich,” by James Q. Wilson.

True, the OWS romance piece was a human interest story with a political bent, but its corniness should have relegated it to the Style section. It belonged nowhere near the front page.

One other observation. The Post’s ombudsman showed that the paper’s coverage of the annual Pro-Life March was rather biased, with its absence of photos indicating the large size of the crowd and its use of the term “antiabortion ideology.” That begs the question: why isn’t the ombudsman catching these things before they go to print? Surely the Post employs copyeditors to proofread for typos before putting each issue to bed. Why not the same to proofread for bias?

* A phrase describing the moment in the evolution of a television show or other entity (in this case newspaper) when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. The phrase originated from the Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumps a shark while water skiing.

(Also see previous post on Washington Post quality control issues.)