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The Bias That We Fight...

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From Daily Kos.

Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 10:47:46 PM PDT

A quick confession as I begin. I like the Washington Post. From where I sit it may be the best newspaper in America. Sure, the NYTs is OK, but they did have Judy Miller. The reporting of the WP over the last decade has been""for the most part""(IMHO) outstanding.

That said the WP has its share of problems. The Editorial Page is consistently an embarrassment, the Opinion Page hasn't updated their contributor rolodex in decades and the paper carries a gaggle of inside-the-beltway dilettantes who almost never add anything of substance to the debate (you know: Broder, Milbank, Kurtz and the other regurgitators of cocktail party prater on the WP payroll). And then there was that recent business about selling access at a party in the Publisher's home.

Still, all in all, I think the WP is a great American newspaper.

I live in Baltimore and work in DC. When I drive into District I usually park across the street from the Washington Post. Then I walk the few blocks to work.

And outside of the WP is a monument to the bias we face and the bias that we fight.

To the jump...

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Washington DC is a funny town. It is a one industry town and that industry is power. There is a lot of focus on power in DC. Who has it, who's getting it, who knows how to use it and who is losing it. It is a place that celebrates and grovels in the minutiae of power, process and your relative place in the pecking order.

For decades, the local paper in town""the Washington Post""has excelled at chronicling the ins and out of the power game in DC. When they're good, they are excellent""the best newspaper in the Country (again IMHO) and sometimes they FAIL big time.

A case in point was a recent epic FAIL concerning the selling of access through dinner parties at the home of the Publisher. Man-O-Man, was that a dumb idea.

I like to think that the memo that exposed the party plan leaked out because the DNA of the WP is actually dedicated to the best aspects of journalism. I tend to think that even when one part of the operation is getting consumed with a bias or group-think, another part is working to bust that bubble. Over the last decade you often saw that struggle play out on the pages of the paper where there could be an Editorial Page celebrated Bush and his War on one page and on others that same day, reporters where writing stories that exposed Bush and his policies as a catastrophe that defined his Administration.

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There is a constant struggle between the ingrain power biases of political celebrity reporters in DC and working WP journalists who write about what actually is happening. One of the things that makes the Washington Post a great newspaper is that you can see that struggle played out in a raw, almost naked way, in the pages of the paper on almost any given day. I find it something to celebrate.

You can also see this struggle on display any day you feel like walking south from the main entrance to the Washington Post and then west on L Street NW.

The main entrance to the Washington Post is on 15th Street NW about midway between L and M streets:

It is an easy place to find, so let's begin the walk here. Facing the entrance turn left and head south. The first street you come to is L Street NW. Turn right and walk about a third of the way down the block. This is what you'll see:

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