Washington Post Pulls Support for Freedom Walk; Afraid of 'Bias'

August 16th, 2005 10:30 AM

The Washington Post has pulled its support for the Pentagon's Sept. 11th Freedom Walk:

"The newspaper notified the Department of Defense that it would no longer donate public service advertising space to help promote the Freedom Walk, an event planned for Sept. 11. At the conclusion of the procession from the Pentagon to the Mall, there will be a performance by country star Clint Black, who recorded the song “I Raq and Roll.”

“As it appears that this event could become politicized, The Post has decided to honor the Washington area victims of 9/11 by making a contribution directly to the Pentagon Memorial Fund,” said Eric Grant, a Post spokesman. “It is The Post’s practice to avoid activities that might lead readers to question the objectivity of The Post’s news coverage.”


"Pentagon officials have maintained that the event is intended to be a non-political homage to the victims and a salute to veterans past and present, devoid of commentary on the merits of the war in Iraq. The Post’s corporate officials emphasized that distinction after its involvement was the subject of a Post story Friday. But The Post’s participation was criticized by members of the antiwar movement and by journalists in the paper’s own newsroom who posted messages on an internal electronic discussion board. These critics said the co-sponsorship could hurt the paper’s credibility in covering the war and antiwar demonstrations.

“Post news employees are subject to disciplinary action for participating in political activities that may be perceived as revelatory of personal opinions or bias,” said a resolution passed earlier yesterday by the leadership of The Post unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. “The Washington Post itself should be held to the same high standard. . . . The Guild supports The Post’s stated intention of honoring the nation’s veterans, including those who have served in Iraq. But the Post undermines this goal by lending its support to a political event that links the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to the war in Iraq — a link that The Post, in its reporting, has shown to be false.”