Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Washington Post Express Causes "Dismay"

If the staff of The Washington Post Express had overheard a reporter walking away from "The Gettysburg Address", they would have reported it like this:

"Wow, that was pretty good!"
-- Abraham Lincoln expresses his opinion of the Civil War

Imagine my chagrin when I read one of my favorite blogs this morning only to find that The Washington Post Express has done it again.

In today's blog entry, the witty, clever, sometimes snarky but always humorous Herb of DC reports that he got a mention in the WPE. Cool stuff. This almost always prompts commenters to congratulate you and then you go to the WPE website and download that edition so that you can have it forever. It's like you won a Grammy or something.

Now that I think of it, we should start having "After The WPE Awards" parties. Red carpets, goody bags, paparazzi, Joan Rivers... How great could that be?

There was one small issue with the part of the blog that the WPE chose to cite in their paper, though. They weren't Herb's words. In fact, the weren't actually even part of Herb's blog. They were comments left by me on a brief video that Herb wanted to share with the world.

Herb was extremely laid back about the whole episode. He said that he was "dismayed". He also included very kind words for the author of the actual citation, referring to the entry as "...very smart. Analytical. Sober." Thank you, Herb. You're a better man than I am.

Now you may think that this is a little "whoops" episode and is no big deal. In fact, in this particular case, it's probably not. Herb got recognition for his blog even if the attribution was incorrect. I got a compliment out of the whole deal. The problem is that this is not the first time the WPE has botched things up.

In what I consider a much more serious episode, Liz of WhatLizSaid fame wrote a brief but thoughtful and moving article about 9/11 on the 7th anniversary of the date we all remember. The gist of her article was that she heard people talking about where they were or what they were doing when tragedy struck on 9/11/2001, as if proximity to an event of that caliber mattered in some way. Her point, I believe, was that it simply doesn't because in the end we were all affected in a very deep way.

The Washington Post Express managed to take just a few of Liz's words out of context, and then make an editorial comment that showed that they had completely missed the entire point of her article. Their comment made Liz look like some kind of hypocritical hack when in fact the thrust of her essay was exactly the opposite of what they said. I very much fear that more people may read the WPE than actually read Liz's article, and that's just way too bad. They owe her an apology in a very big way.

Liz - I'm very sorry that the WPE did that to you.

Herb - I'm very sorry the WPE did that do you. In future comments, I will make every effort to be less smart, analytical, and certainly sober. Perhaps I'll make humorous references to bodily functions or throw in a misspelling or two.

Washington Post Express - I don't speak for all bloggers, but if you're going to be so sloppy, inattentive, haphazard, and unprofessional in what you do, then I'd simply prefer that you remove the "Blog Log" section of your "paper" entirely rather than include improper citations and editorial comments that only display the fact that you can't be bothered to actually read before you publish.

21 comments: said...

Thank you, and I can't believe what they did with Herb's thing. I seriously wonder if they even read what they publish in the blog log. I agree with you... if they can't do it right, why even do it?

Gilahi said...

You're welcome. You didn't deserve what you got. Plus, it's not often that I get to express righteous indignation over being called smart, analytical and sober. :-)

Shannon said...

Oh, the Express makes me nuts sometimes. I pop up fairly often, and it is really fun to see your name in print. But half the time they completely miss the point of what I've said...which makes me wonder whether I haven't been clear enough, or whether they lack reading comprehension skills.

Also, Express, I don't live anywhere near Petworth.

GreenCanary said...

They cited me a while back and I was thrilled. The only thing? They quoted me and it wasn't actually what I wrote. It was close, but they weren't my actual words.

Gilahi said...

shannon - It is fun to see your name in print. In fact, I would have thought the whole thing was OK if they'd just mentioned that it was a comment on Herb's blog instead of making it look like he'd said it. They didn't even have to mention me. No really. I wouldn't mind. Honest.

canary - Do they ever get it right? Do you think they'll notice that Herb and I have written about them today? Do you think we'll show up in WPE again? Do you think they'll screw it up if we do?

Herb of DC said...

Thanks for the well written defense—I knew you could do it much better than me!

Here is the email reply I sent to the person who first notified me that my blog was featured on the Blog Log.

“Wow…as last as it was of me it is even lazier of them…
Whatever…this gneerated no traffic from what I see “

Clearly my emails are just as insightful, accurate and spelling optional as my blog but what I was trying to convey was how silly it was they had linked a post about a widely distributed video. When I finally bothered to read it I was surprised at how coherent I sounded for a Sunday morning.

I agree with you though, it’s not really that big of deal what they did with me but what they did to Liz was atrocious.

Washington Post Express - if you're going to be so sloppy, inattentive, haphazard, and unprofessional in what you do, then you should really give up newspapery and become a guest blogger for Herb of DC. I have most Thursdays available if you are interested.

Gilahi said...

See? Snarky and yet witty.

BTW, I met a guy a week or so ago that I was pretty sure was you. Hat, shorts, sunglasses and all. I told him all about "Herb of DC" (or at least as much as I knew). He told me that he was "Sean of San Diego" and claimed that he wasn't you.

Bilbo said...

All this makes me glad that I can blog along in relative anonymity. I've been plugged by DC Blogs twice, but not by the WPE, which appears to be a good thing.

LivitLuvit said...

The first time the WPE cited me, they completely took my post out of context and made it seem as though I was using Facebook as a dating service. Not nearly as much of an affront, but yet another display of either their inadequacy, or complete lack of respect for peoples' writing.

Gilahi said...

bilbo - The good thing about DC Blogs is that they just give you a link. As Herb pointed out, that's pretty hard to do with the paper you're holding in your hands. I shutter to think what will happen some day when they take one of your political posts out of context and publish it. If that ever happens, watch out for the jack-booted thugs.

lilu (if I may use the informal form of address) - I just don't know why they bother. If they're going to provide this "service", you'd think they'd at least want to get it right. And whyizzit that every time your name pops up anywhere, a certain Led Zeppelin song starts running through my head?

Gilahi said...

"shudder". I shudder to think. Sometimes I shutter to think too, but that's not what I meant to say.

Bilbo said...

Shutter? I don't even know 'er!

Herb of DC said...

FYI I just received this email from an editor of the Washington Post Express:

Hello Herb, in the edition that day it was simply a mistake. If you read that section frequently, you'll notice that we often use the verbiage 'a commenter at xblog' said such and such. That day's was just left out erroneously.

Thanks for reading and please forward this to your friend Gilahi with my apologies

Shannon said...

Dear Herb,

With the financial crisis afflicting the newspaper industry, we simply cannot verify or proof anything that we publish.

The Express

Gilahi said...

Herb - How nice of them. I notice that they didn't volunteer to print a correction.

Herb: Ow! You poked me in the eye!
Express: Sorry. Tell your friend we're sorry when we poke him in the eye too.

Shannon - Nailed it, as usual. said...

I'm glad that they responded to Herb at least. Although it must be selective response, because I wrote to them as well, and have yet to hear anything back from WPE.

Gilahi said...

Perhaps you should have loaded up your message with typos and grammar issues like Herb did. :-)

jimbo said...

I think WaPo still doesn't "get it" in regards to blogs. Since blogs are so ephemeral, chaotic and trendy in nature, why bother citing properly?

If you don't want WaPo to ever quote your blog in the Express, just post porny pictures at least once a week and they'll leave you alone.

Gilahi said...

jimbo - My suspicion is, if they read blogs at all, they won't be citing The Gilahi Blog after all this.

zipcode said...

amen - like I said on shannons blog they made me look like looney the other day.

Gilahi said...

zipcode - At least you can rest in the comfort of knowing that you're in the good company of folks like Herb, Shannon and Liz.

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