What do you do with a young reporter who made a series of errors and showed obvious political bias while covering the national education beat? If you're the Washington Post, you send this "rising star" to Iraq to cover the war. Red State has the details:
Mr. Paley is a twenty-something Harvard grad who has been covering the U.S. Department of Education for the Washington Post. If his present track record of covering education for WaPo is any indicator, we can expect to get a fable, not facts, from Iraq.
Getting his big break on the front page of the Washington Post in April, Paley wrote a host of hard hitting articles citing his leading source as a "senior official," "senior agency official," and even a "presidential appointee." Unfortunately, WaPo had to run a correction admitting that the source was none of the three.
Okay, but anyone can make a mistake, right?
Weeks later, Paley returned to the front page without fact checking. On April 21, 2007, Paley wrote, "The No. 3 official in the U.S. Department of Education, who oversees the student loan industry, had more than $10,000 invested in student lenders, according to documents released last night."
The fact was that the husband of the official owned the stock via a 401(K) and sold it before his wife faced Senate confirmation.
Instead of running yet another correction, WaPo just sneaked in two paragraphs in *a different story* mentioning these facts. This sneaky way to correct their prodigy's record even upset WaPo's ombudsman who called the handling "problematic" and wrote that the correction "should have had its own headline and more prominent display."
As we've learned from years of following newspapers, anytime you can get an ombudsman (or "reader's representative") to actually fess up to a mistake, you know something's gone seriously wrong.
Erick at Red State concludes:
So, realizing they need to do something to get Paley off the Education beat and stop the embarrassing need to substantively correct his front page stories, WaPo has come up with a great idea. They are sending him to Iraq as a war correspondent.
If this wasn't such a serious matter, it would be absurdly amusing.
Jerry: So, what did you say?
Elaine: Well, I called him all the way up to my office, so I had to tell him
something important. So I promoted him.
Jerry: What? What did you--
Jerry: He's writing copy?
Elaine: Well it can't be any worse than the pointless drivel we normally churn