Like some reporters, WaPo‘s Elizabeth Flock was off last week — conceivably for the holidays.
But FishbowlDC sources are insisting that Flock was suspended last week for writing that post on GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney‘s using a KKK slogan in his speeches. Editors who oversaw the post insisted that she call Romney’s campaign for comment. She did so via email and the comment went to her spam folder, as reported by WaPo Ombudsman Patrick Pexton on Dec. 16. In his piece, Pexton gave Flock a public flocking on many levels — her journalism, her ethics and her common sense. He suggests that she pick up the phone once in a blue moon and use it. He also suggests she think before associating someone who has never been accused of racism with the KKK. Then this morning, weirdly, she writes about an 8-year-old American girl being targeted by Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel. Coincidence perhaps?
Sources in WaPo‘s newsroom say word spread last week that WaPo had suspended Flock. She didn’t post anything last week, nor tweeted about anything work-related. But today she’s back on BlogPost. Was she on a regularly scheduled holiday or what some are calling a “forced vacation”? At WaPo Managing Editor Raju Narisetti’s newsroom Q&A last week, he said experienced editors read the post before it went up and didn’t flag it.
Flock did not deny the news. But she responded to FBDC, saying, “Thanks for your email. I can’t comment on the matter. You will have to go through Marcus Brauchli.” Narisetti, who oversees the entire website operation, also wouldn’t comment. “Happy holidays,” he said in response. “As you might imagine, I can’t comment on personnel issues.” To that end, we sought comment from WaPo Director of Communications Kris Coratti. We also threw in an email to Executive Editor Steamed Marcus Brauchli for kicks and will check our spam filters pronto. We’re hoping four’s a charm.
UPDATE: Coratti wrote, “We don’t comment on personnel issues. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.”