Battle of the WaPo Drama Queens

Act I Scene I

This is what happens when you have multiple blogs and hot heads at a newspaper. They get catty. They fight, scratch, kick. Whatever it takes to make a coworker look like a dumbass. Nothing a few trust exercises in the woods couldn’t resolve, but we think WaPo‘s Erik Wemple might not catch Dana Milbank, no matter how petite Milbank is, or how much bicycling Wemple does to keep himself fit and capable of catching his colleague.

This morning at 9:09 a.m. Wemple ran a post about a recent Hartford meeting on gun violence, after which Milbank “ruled” against the audience as to whether a father of a Sandy Hook victim was heckled. Ruled? Is Milbank a judge?

Wemple cracked, “Milbank and others on ‘Reliable Sources’ appeared to conclude that the whole heckling thing was a ‘judgment call.’ Right, an easy judgment call. (And Milbank takes issue with the judgment of this post).”

Act I Scene II. Milbank responds!

Nearly four hours later at 12:52 p.m., Milbank posted an opposing opinion on whether he, in fact, affirmed that the man had been heckled. He said Wemple wrote a “curious” item in which he quoted only a fragment of what he said. He went on to report exactly what he said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” Milbank’s quote, whether he can hear this or not, basically says the man was heckled. He was heckled or he was shouted at — either is bad manners, Milbank concludes.

(At this point in the play we must pause to seriously ask ourselves, WHO CARES? Who cares if Milbank affirmed the heckling and who cares if he thought it was heckling or shouting?)

Milbank cares. That’s who. “That’s affirming heckling?” he wrote, analyzing his own comments on CNN and challenging Wemple. He barrels on. “Wemple also neglected to mention that the segment he cited wasn’t primarily about heckling but about MSNBC’s editing of the video, which I and the other panelists agreed gave an incomplete view of what happened.”

Milbank concludes on a particularly clawing note. “Neither Wemple nor I was in the room,” he wrote. “Neither of us is in a position to affirm anything. I didn’t, and he is mistaken to state that I did.”

So far, Wemple has not issued a response.

(This is truly a work of art. In other words, according to Milbank, neither reporter was qualified to write the posts they did. Congratulations WaPo! Carry on Wemple and Milbank. We’d like to see the fight continue.)