Erik Wemple profiles new Wash Times head John Solomon. Some of the highlights:
- “Speaking of war, Solomon has engaged in virtually none of the ideological sort since taking over perhaps the most conservative daily in America. No mass desertions of journalists who wanted to write slanted copy. No rearguard efforts to save the legacy of former Executive Editor Wesley Pruden. No campaign to name the newsroom after Reagan.
Says Solomon: ‘The only point I have made with the reporters and editors who write for the news pages is there must be a bright line between opinion and editorializing that rightfully belongs on the op-ed and commentary pages and the fair, balanced, accurate, and precise reporting that must appear in the news sections of the paper.'”
- “And if there’s one topic that Solomon is freakish about, it’s that his Washington Times not be perceived as politically motivated. When asked about a recent story that exposed inconsistencies in the campaign positions of Barack Obama, Solomon launches right in: ‘That was a fair, evenhanded story, and it highlighted issues that people hadn’t examined before.'”
Of course the real question is that, even if you assume that Solomon is doing his best to rid the paper of any conservative bias (in its news copy, not editorial pages…), how long will it take for its reputation to change? Is that even possible?
And, if you do change the public’s perception of the paper, will the paper then lose its strongest fan-base: conservatives? Keep in mind: Although the Washington Times has strong name recognition nationally (and strong web stats), it’s actual circulation isn’t even remotely commensurate with its stature (to wit: it’s beneath such papers as Harrisburg’s Patriot-News and Arlington Height’s Daily Herald).