I’ve had issues with the Washington Post for years, including their relentless “both sides-ism” and “false equivalence” political reporting; their 2016 hatred of Hillary Clinton, which resulted in obsessive focus on “her emails” plus the “Clinton Foundation,” helping to elect Donald Trump in the process; their frequently flawed, false-narrative-driven, thin, shallow, derivative (and often without any credit or links to those who initially broke the story), stenographic Virginia political reporting; etc.
The latest example comes from Fairfax County School Board member Laura Jane Cohen, who is not at all pleased – and for good reasons! – with the Washington Post’s “journalism” (in air quotes). In this case, the problem is with yesterday’s article, by WaPo education/Virginia reporter Hannah Natanson, entitled, “To keep bus drivers on the payroll, Fairfax County Public Schools directs some to drive empty buses along old routes.” Sounds horrible, right? Yeah, except for everything written below – bolding added by me for emphasis – by Laura Jane Cohen on her Facebook page (note: she gave me permission to share this publicly), who also quotes her Fairfax County School Board colleague Rachna Sizemore Heizer:
“In a world where there is incredibly newsworthy shit happening by the second, yet another disappointing article from Ms. Nathansan.
As [Fairfax County School Board member] Rachna Sizemore Heizer said, ‘This is a story based on an unverified email. The bus drivers are delivering meals, and books and many other things. They are *also* driving the buses a little to keep them operating. As we all know you let cars, etc. sit too long it causes problems.’
Additionally, drivers have to maintain their licenses with a number of hours behind the wheel. And prior to the pandemic, we were already short more than 80 drivers.
Can you imagine the uproar when we can finally go back and then we had no one to transport students?
This is the same reporter who got an interview with me under the guise of writing an article about why we lagged behind other systems in deciding to go virtual. When published the article was a scathing piece on how we were too afraid to go back in person, not at all what I was sold. The quote was accurate, but the context was totally wrong.
I learned my lesson. I will never talk to the Washington Post again (at least as long as Hannah Nathansan is their education writer). Add that to “things I never thought I’d say in my life” folder.
Sounds like good advice for anyone/everyone, really. But, one wonders, why would a reporter for a “legitimate” newspaper do such a thing? I interviewed Laura Jane Cohen briefly this morning, and she suggested:
“Perhaps because they were spurned for not going through with the appropriate permissions to observe students on the first day of school, the Post decided to take a shot at FCPS with an article that misses an awful lot of important information on how we keep our bus fleet up and running, our students fed, and our driver’s licensed and employed.”
Ah, corporate media “journalism,” gotta love it…or not. And they wonder why fewer and fewer Americans – and not just Republicans, either – trust them?