Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Reuters' article on The Post withdrawing from right-wing march and concert

This event is scheduled for two weeks before Operation Ceasefire. Clearly it looks like The Washington Post is finally beginning to come to its senses. But there's a long road to travel to reclaim the credibility it had during the Watergate era... This event is disgusting and Clint Black should be ashamed. I am sure the 9/11 families will speak out very soon.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Post dropped its sponsorship on Monday of a walk organized by the Pentagon to remember victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and to support U.S. troops, saying it was possible the event would become "politicized."

The newspaper's news employees' union had urged the newspaper to reconsider co-sponsoring the Defense Department's "Freedom Walk," which it said was a political event.

Critics of the war in Iraq gathering for demonstrations in Washington beginning on September 24 also had criticized media outlets for co-sponsoring the Pentagon event. The Washington Post was one of several local media organizations that had signed on to promote the walk.

"As it appears that this event could become politicized, The Post has decided to honor the Washington-area victims of 9/11 by making a contribution directly to the Pentagon Memorial Fund," Eric Grant, a Post spokesman, said in the newspaper's Tuesday edition. "It is The Post's practice to avoid activities that might lead readers to question the objectivity of The Post's news coverage."

The Post article said the newspaper had notified the Department of Defense that it would no longer donate public service advertising space to promote the Pentagon walk.

The Post spokesman was not immediately available for further comment.

Leaders of the newspaper's unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Local 32035 delivered a resolution to publisher Bo Jones' office stating its concerns over linking the paper to the Pentagon event, unit co-chairman Rick Weiss said.

"The statement urged Post management to reconsider the decision co-sponsoring this event in the interest of maintaining the paper's reputation for neutrality on polarizing issues of public policy," Weiss said.

According to excerpts published on the Editor and Publisher Web site, the resolution said: "Post news employees are subject to disciplinary action for participating in political activities that may be perceived as revelatory of personal opinions or bias. The Washington Post itself should be held to the same high standard."

The resolution said the prominent participation of country music star Clint Black belies arguments that the walk was not a political activity in support of the war in Iraq.

Black is headlining a concert outside the Pentagon after the walk. The guild unit's resolution said Black was "best known of late for his war-glorifying song 'Iraq and I Roll.' "

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