from the journalistic-integrity dept
Lots of fans are pissed off at the Redskins this season, and a local radio station came up with a plan to get fans to wear paper bags over their heads during a recent game -- even going out and handing out a bunch of bags outside the stadium for just that purpose. Of course, gametime came and security confiscated most of the bags, saying that such bags are not allowed in the stadium. Still, Dan Steinberg, who writes the DC Sports Blog for the Washington Post, went around looking for such disgruntled fans. And while he didn't find many with paper bags, he did find other disgruntled fans displaying their... disgruntlement. These included t-shirts that were anti-Dan Snyder (owner of the team) along with some other things. Steinberg took photos of these protesters and posted them to his blog.
But not for long.
The photos soon disappeared, and the photo editor for the Washington Post admitted that the Redskins had called them claiming that taking photos of disgruntled fans was a violation of policy:
"The Redskins said he was in violation of his credentials for taking the photographs. We honored that request, because at the end of the day, they control access to their facility."First off all, how ridiculous is it that the Redskins are so insanely controlling that it thinks that banning photos of disgruntled fans will suddenly make people not realize that fans are disgruntled?
But, more importantly, what a shame that the Washington Post would simply fold like that. Yes, the Redskins control access to the facilities, but the Washington Post is effectively providing free advertising for the Redskins pretty much every day, by writing articles about them. The Redskins don't want to lose coverage from the Post. If the Washington Post had any journalistic integrity, why wouldn't it stand up to the Redskins and say "hey, disgruntled fans are news, and we're here to report the news." And people wonder why folks don't trust the coverage in their local newspapers any more. Apparently, those newspapers -- even the big "respected" names -- have no problem caving in to ridiculous requests from those they cover.
Meanwhile, The Big Lead (which gets a few of the details of the story mixed up) wonders what would happen if other people took such photos and sent them to the Washington Post to put on its blog, since the Redskins' main complaint is that Steinberg violated his credentials by taking the photos. If others took the photos though...