WashPost Downplays D.C. Vandalism Story Starring Son of CBS Radio Boss [Correction Appended]

[CORRECTION: Friends of Arenstein protested it was inaccurate to imply Louis Arenstein was "the son" of Orly Azoulay. He is her stepson. That doesn't remove the potential for embarrassment.]

The Washington Post knows how to downplay scandalous news when it’s about the children of other D.C. journalists. In Sunday’s Metro section, they published a story blandly headlined “Northwest residents on edge over vandalism.”

Someone’s been scratching or gouging cars, even with swastikas. “The suspect, the son of a prominent Washington journalist, has not been charged with the more sinister acts,” reported Peter Hermann. Who’s the journalist?

It’s Howard Arenstein, the Washington Bureau Manager for CBS Radio News. (I couldn't find this local story on the CBS DC website.) His son Louis has been identified as the suspect in the case. But you have to turn inside the Metro section to paragraph nine for that information:

Last week, after an undercover sting operation, authorities arrested Louis Levine Arenstein, 23, of Northwest Washington. He faces one charge of felony destruction of property in connection with backing over a motorcycle the night police were watching. No charges have been filed in the other vandalism cases.

Arenstein is the son of Howard Arenstein, the Washington bureau manager and correspondent for CBS Radio News, an award-winning veteran journalist and foreign correspondent. The elder Arenstein had his own scrape with the law in 2010, when D.C. police arrested him and his wife on marijuana charges. [Try "11 hulking pot plants sprawling in their backyard."]  Those were dismissed after a government witness did not show up at a hearing.

Arenstein's wife is Orly Azoulay, who's also a journalist. She reports for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth and she's written a book titled Obama: He Has a Dream. These parents cannot be pleased with the notion his son [and her stepson] might be scratching swastikas into German cars.

Victims of the vandalism complained that it’s not a casual scratch, but aggressive gouging. Near story’s end came this tale:

One resident whose BMW was scratched three times with damage exceeding $8,000 said he now parks three blocks away and retrieves the car each morning for his wife. “We got to the point where we couldn’t even park in front of our own house,” said the man, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons.

He said his insurance company considered each attack separately, each with its own deductible. “I haven’t had it fixed at all,” the man said. “Not until this thing is solved."

[HT: Dan Gainor]

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