‘Freedom Walk’ Sponsorship Isn’t Free

It’s hard to say whether the criticism of the Washington Post for its sponsorship of the Pentagon’s Freedom Walk is “gathering steam” or just continuing to puff along.

Nevertheless, the controversy is spending another day atop Romenesko’s media navel-gazing site–meaning that every journalist in the country gets to see it about every fifteen minutes when they click “refresh.”

One letter writer argues that the Post didn’t really take a hard look at the event before declaring it non-partisan: “Here’s some due diligence: the headlining act of this upcoming affair is a faded country star who got himself back into the news with a song called ‘I Raq and Roll.’ The song manages, in one fell swoop, to deride anti-war protesters, glorify the use of smart bombs in Iraq, and make Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless The U.S.A.’ actually seem complex. So much for the no-connection-to-the-war argument and so much for a dignified tribute to the victims of 9/11.”

Meanwhile, earlier today during his weekly chat, Howard Kurtz became the latest Post report to criticize his employer: “I wish The Washington Post were not co-sponsoring this event. It is an operation by the Pentagon — a place that we devote substantial resources to covering — and therefore subject to all kinds of interpretations. It is not the same, in my view, as the corporate side of The Post handing out awards to the best teachers or other kinds of nonpartisan civic activities.”

Wonder if there are any Post reporters out there who support the walk? So far we’ve only heard from ones opposed.

And, last but not least, the American Friends Service Committee (a.k.a “the Quakers”) have launched an email campaign to pressure the Post into dropping its support.

A prediction? This is going to end about as well as Bob Novak being interviewed by Ed Henry. Of course, if the Post backs down, the paper hates America. If it doesn’t, it’s a tool of the adminsitration and hates journalism. Like we said, a win-win.

> UPDATE: And the paper’s union is getting involved too.