Monday, October 02, 2006

Here's a new one: Post editors aren't that big on transparency

For a newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal and has been crusading and jihading against government secrecy since 9/11, it's odd for the Washington Post editorial page to come out so tepidly in support of transparency at Montgomery County Public Schools.

Perhaps there's a story behind it.

Here's how the Post editors regard public discontent with Weast's secrecy and the overall MCPS lack of accountability in their October 1 editorial:

"While none of the leading candidates for County Council or school board have [sic] come out publicly against Mr. Weast, dissatisfaction has emerged under a clarion call for 'greater scrutiny' of the school system."

Fair enough - bad grammar notwithstanding - but look at how limply the Post editors approach the issue:

"We don't disagree that, with more than half of the county's budget going to schools and given the importance of education, there should be oversight and open debate."

"We don't disagree that . . . there should be oversight and open debate"?

What weak journalism! But wait - there's more:

"The public has a stake in how well the schools do, and it is incumbent upon Mr. Weast to open up his decisions for discussion." Fine and dandy, but look at the next sentence in the editorial:

"However, we would hate to see oversight descend to intrusive meddling."

This from the paper that just won a Pulitzer for its investigations of the rot on Capitol Hill and built its name on hard-core public accountability in government. It seems as if the Post editors are trying to protect Weast from their own rather independent reporters.

Where's Ben Bradlee when you need him?