Over the weekend, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote that Post reporters are upset with Dan Froomkin because they think the title of his column confuses readers:
Political reporters at The Post don’t like WPNI columnist Dan Froomkin’s “White House Briefing,” which is highly opinionated and liberal. They’re afraid that some readers think that Froomkin is a Post White House reporter.
But Howell’s column didn’t offer the full story. In an interview today, Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. made clear that the top concern of the paper’s editorial team wasn’t regular readers after all — it was the Bush administration:
We want to make sure people in the [Bush] administration know that our news coverage by White House reporters is separate from what appears in Froomkin’s column because it contains opinion. And that readers of the Web site understand that, too.
The White House knows exactly who is doing political reporting for the Washington Post. The real message Post editors are sending here is that they don’t approve of Froomkin’s content, and that’s a different story altogether.