Waas & CP: The Fallout

We read over the Washington City Paper’s exhaustive coverage of Murray Waas last night and we’ll have some more on Monday. Our initial reaction can be summed up thusly:

There are some interesting stories and anecdotes in here that certainly shed some light on Murray but, in fairness, we should allow Waas to respond to the many charges against him (faulty reporting on some stories, odd personal behavior, etc.), as we’re sure he will in some venue, at some point (although the City Paper says that such opportunities were afforded Waas on several occasions).

But, even if the piece is to be taken at face value, there still seemed to be these odd questions looming over the whole three-piece enterprise. Namely: Why did the City Paper choose to turn their lens on Waas? And why in such an unbelievably exhaustive fashion?

Frank Bennett says:

    If this episode isn’t a shining moment for Waas, it’s certainly not a banner day for City Paper, either.

    But as a largely disinterested observer, I gotta say this was a bizarre deployment of City Paper’s editorial resources.

DCeiver says:

    For my part, though, we’re in trouble if the CITY PAPER is going to assume a position where they criticize the reporting of others. Even if they are 1000% right, and I’ll allow for that possibility. If you read the CP long enough, you’d note that they have a long history of dubious reporting. Not long after I returned to DC, I found that it was fun to play the game “Who Got Misquoted” after every cover story. My own father-in-law was misquoted.

DCist says:

    This week the city’s premiere alternative weekly profiles investigative journalist Murray Waas, using some 21,514 words over the course of three articles to attack his journalistic standards and detail a long-running feud between the paper’s staff and Waas. If that many words don’t mean much to you, think of it this way — only 11,000 or so made it to print, if only to save on paper (the other 10,000 are in two web-only articles). By comparison, the whole series is roughly one-fifth the word-count of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, would take up 70-plus pages in a Word document and now ranks as the longest piece the paper has ever published.

    As a service to DCist readers, we’ll summarize — according to the City Paper, Waas is an odd guy whose many stories often include facts that are rarely confirmed by mainstream journalists. Was saying that worth 21,514 words? Judge for yourself.

Oddly enough, there’s been very little chatter about this piece in the blogosphere, which can perhaps be partially explained by Waas’ relative popularity among bloggers or the City Paper’s potentially false assumption that such a topic (and front cover billing) would generate much discussion.