WaPo Managing Editor Agrees Paper Dropped The Ball On Black Panther Story


The Washington Post should have covered the New Black Panther Party intimidation story earlier and alleged lack of staff on the National desk can’t be blamed for the oversight, WaPo managing editor Raju Narisetti said today in a chat with readers.

Coming to the defense of Ombudsman Andrew Alexander, who chastised the paper for not covering the story, Narisetti said the story should have gotten covered and that staffing shouldn’t be an excuse for missing the story.

It was a combination of multiple news priorities, summer staffing, not focusing on everything we should have and overall tight staffing. But the answer isn’t in simply adding more staff. It is in juggling our priorities well in serving all readers and in this case we fell short of our normal standards of what constitutes news and our responsibility in covering it.

Narisetti brushed aside National Editor Kevin Merida’s defense that there wasn’t enough people to get to the story, saying “I doubt there has ever been a time in the Post’s history that a section/topic editor has not felt his or her section is understaffed! It is just the nature of newsroom editors.”

Alexander has come under fire–again–from progressive writers and media watchdogs for his suggestion that the story should have been covered because “it’s a controversy that screams for clarity that The Post should provide.”

Paul Waldman at the American Prospect’s TAPPED said Alexander didn’t know what he was doing as ombudsman while Jamison Foser at Media Matters for America accused Alexander of “promoting” another right-wing attack while ignoring “race-baiting.”

Apparently, allegations that the Justice Department dropped the ball or didn’t pursue a case should be examined among ideological opponents but not by the Washington Post. If the story is a hit-job on the Obama administration, who better to ferret that out than the Washington Post as opposed to the ideological bomb throwers.

For every right-wing conspiracy meme, there’s also one on the left.  The traditional press should weigh in and examine the meme – as Narisetti says, it is a newspaper’s responsibility.

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