Joe Trippi More Newsworthy Than Posthumous Medal of Honor Recipient?

Army Captain Mark L. Stoneman took issue with the Washington Post placing an article regarding the Medal of Honor ceremony for the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action in Afghanistan, on page A4, when the Post devoted prime real estate on the front page to a profile of Democratic strategist Joe Trippi (emphasis mine).:

I was disappointed in your coverage of the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor to Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy [news story, Oct. 23].

While Ann Scott Tyson did a good job of covering the ceremony itself, it would appear that her editor felt that such an event deserved only a few column inches and some perfunctory context of the actions for which Lt. Murphy was recognized.

This insult was compounded by your decision to bury the story on Page A4. While I understand that the fires in California and the tension between Turkey and Kurdish rebels were the two big stories of the day, you cannot tell me that a feature article about one of presidential candidate John Edwards's campaign strategists is more newsworthy than the presentation of only the third Medal of Honor since Sept. 11, 2001.

Stoneman was referring to a front-page profile of former Howard Dean Internet strategist and current John Edwards adviser Joe Trippi. The story by staffer Chris Cillizza is a feature in a profile series entitled "The Gurus."

The Trippi profile was hardly a time-sensitive front-page story. Capt. Stoneman went on to note a double standard in Post coverage of the military:

This strikes me as a clear message to everyone in the military of the value you place on their service when you made the editorial decision to give such coverage to the presentation of the military's highest honor. Whenever there is even the allegation of wrongdoing by service members or a hint of failure in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can be counted on to run the story front and center. By running Lt. Murphy's story inside the paper, you have shamed only yourselves.

War on Terrorism Media Bias Debate Military Double Standards Afghanistan Washington Post Michael Murphy