I Want To Be An Ombudsman
Look, I admit, I showed up at the wedding drunk. And I may have asked your 14-year-old niece to come play on the Slip N’ Slide in my bedroom. And then called her a tease. But really, you invited me. Let’s just call it even, okay?
This is also known as the Deborah Howell method of conflict resolution, on display at the Washington Post every Sunday. You see, after a reporter blatantly misquoted a presidential candidate and then mocked people who complained about it, it’s her job to break down what happened and assigned blame. To everyone.
Several lessons can be learned here. For reporters: Anonymous quotes should be used sparingly; this one wasn’t worth it. If you weren’t there, be careful about judging the context. Treat readers well; we need them.
Lessons for sources: Stand up and be named. Be sure reporters understand the context if they weren’t there. Lesson for Milbank’s editors: Label his column commentary. Lesson for the Obama campaign: Let the press in when your candidate speaks to a large gathering of elected officials.
Jim Beam, stop making your whiskey so delicious, you square-bottled succubus.