As Washington Post editor Marcus Brauchli tries to minimize the damage from the salon affairs, calls are beginning for his departure.
As managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, he had allowed Rupert Murdoch, the paper’s new owner, to push him around — and ultimately out the door — in contravention of the editorial-independence framework that the News Corp. (NWS) owner had agreed to. Rather than sound the alarm, Brauchli held his tongue, his amiable silence purchased by $3 million (or more) of Murdoch’s money.
…This is serious. This isn’t about journalistic judgment; it’s about integrity. Brauchli was given a chance to take responsibility, and he responded by falling back on the exact sort of obfuscation and hair-splitting that newspapers like his exist to demolish. And he’s still doing it: In a chat with Post readers today, Brauchli faulted himself for failing to see to it that the salons were marketed correctly, but said nothing about his own role in propagating the "misunderstanding." No doubt he’s a fine journalist in many regards, but the top editor of an institution like The Washington Post — one of a handful of great American newspapers, and the first line of defense against government perfidy — has to be more than just a fine journalist. He has to be a paragon.
Brauchli will probably survive this episode, if only because his boss, at whose pleasure he serves, shares his culpability. But he should offer his resignation.