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Sun and Post

Gregory Kane | 5/29/2013, 4:34 p.m.

You mean the "Washington Post" is NOT a liberal newspaper?

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Gregory Kane

Contrary to an assertion in my last column, at least one reader feels it isn’t. He didn’t want to give his name, but he made his point darned clear.

“Dear Mr. Kane: in your most recent "Baltimore Times" piece, you describe the Washington Post as ‘far from a conservative publication.’”

“This, if false:

  1. Editorially, under Fred Hiatt, the WP is now a neocon mouthpiece.
  2. If you recall, the WP endorsed Bob Ehrlich against Martin O’Malley in the 2006 gubernatorial race.
  3. More to the point, the WP’s assault on the Correctional Officers Bill of Rights is the publication’s virulent anti-union bent. The WP— i.e., the Graham family— has never gotten over a major strike by the typesetters’ union in the 1970s, which generated a case of anti-labor PTSD that has afflicted the newspaper ever since. If you were a regular reader of the Post, you would know this.”

Actually, in his e-mail, the reader referred to Ehrlich as “Bo(o)b Ehrlich.” Rather clever wording, but as O’Malley prattles on about the corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center and the subsequent indictments of 13 corrections officers being a “positive achievement,” we all might want to ponder who the real boob is.

However, the reader was right: I am NOT a regular reader of the "Washington Post." I only read enough of the paper to have learned that Peter Hermann, the former city editor and crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun, is now working for the Washington Post.

Hermann was nearly a legend at The Sun. I remember when I started working at the paper in 1993 that he was working the cop beat in the Anne Arundel County bureau.

Soon he was working the cop shop in the city, and was superb on both beats. He cranked out so many stories as a cop reporter in Anne Arundel County and

Baltimore City that reporters and editors had a nickname for him: The Hermannator.

Eventually editors sent Hermann to Jerusalem to work as the paper’s Middle East correspondent. Then he returned to the States and worked a bit as a city editor before returning to working the cop beat.

Hermann continued to hang in there as a faithful, loyal Sun reporter even after the turmoil of 2008 and 2009. In 2008, over 40 reporters and/or editors took management’s offer of a buyout. A plethora of talent walked out the door that summer.

In 2009, the paper purged a number of editors, including the head of the copy-editing department. I was stunned.

A newspaper with virtually no copy-editing department! Just how far was the Tribune Company, which owns The Sun, willing to go in ratcheting down journalistic standards?

I got my answer this past March— Sunday, March 3, 2013 to be exact— when I picked up a copy of the Sunday Sun.

There, on what is called the bottom fold of the newspaper, was a “summary of the news.” Here’s what was printed there:

MARYLAND

CALL FOR JUSTUCE: The family of LaRelle Ashlyn Amos, a young mother killed by a stray bullet on Labor Day weekend, urged witnesses to come forward as they gathered Saturday to mark the six months that have passed since her death.

Yes, on March 3, 2013, The "Baltimore Sun" did indeed issue a “call for justuce.” And you can bet there was nary a copy editor near the joint when that call was issued.

I have no idea why The Hermannator bolted from The Sun to work for the "Washington Post," but I have a hunch that the Tribune Company’s lack of devotion to anything even remotely resembling journalistic standards had something to do with it.