Toasting The Post’s ‘Big Mistake’

The official recorders of D.C.’s chattering classes gathered Friday night to toast Anne Schroeder as she began her journey from the Post’s newsroom to the offices of the Jason Binn upstart Capitol File.

The party, sponsored by the Committee To Keep Gossip Alive in Washington, in the swanky setting of the Madison’s jewel restaurant, Palette, filled through the night with boozing journalists who enjoyed the food offerings by Chef James Clark, including pork dumplings and spring rolls, as well as the evening’s signature drinks–the Absolut Anne, Schroederade, Postini, and the Quidnunc. In a testament to Schroeder’s respect within the community she covered, the Madison’s leadership–GM Axel Suray and Uwe Roehricht–personally saw to the evening’s smoothness.

The gathering, graced briefly by the presence of the former Source himself–Richard Leiby–included some of those rumored to be on the short list for the Reliable Source (like Roll Call’s Mary Ann Akers) and those who wished they were (Wonkette’s Ana Marie Cox and the Hill’s Jeff Dufour). The hundred or so guests included the Post’s Mark Leibovitch, NPR’s David Folkenflik, ABC’s Jessica Yellin, CNN’s David Bohrman, Time’s Matthew Cooper, the New York Times’s Carl Hulse, File’s new Editor-in-Chief Kate Gibbs, and even Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff ventured out to pay tribute, as well as a host of publicists and society figures.

The evening’s main topics of conversation, though, were how the simultaneous departures of Schroeder and Leiby might spell the end of the Post’s gossip column as the city has come to know it. There’s intense resistance within the Post to making the column interesting and gossipy, and with no one to offer institutional continuity who knows what it’ll end up looking like.

And while not cattily gossiping about Bill Hemmer, many guests speculated about the thinking that let Schroeder, one of the city’s best-connected and best-liked writers, walk away. “The Post is usually more forward thinking than this,” one guest commented. Another non-Postie said “Letting Anne go is a decision the Post will live to regret.”

On the other hand, as party attendee Harry Jaffe points out, the Post is appearing lost on several fronts right now.