Post Salahi coverage draws heavy online traffic
There was plenty of reaction to Sunday’s ombudsman’s column defending The Post’s coverage of publicity-hungry Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who gained fame late last year for crashing a White House state dinner. Most online commenters disagreed, arguing The Post has written too much about the couple. And more than 30 other readers -- all but two from the Washington area -- e-mailed or called to protest continuing coverage.
But traffic data from The Post’s Web site suggest fascination with the Salahis. Much of it is from outside the Washington area, indicating national interest in the exploits of the local couple.
Since the White House security breach around Thanksgiving, content about the Salahis on The Post’s Web site has received more than five million page views. One story that explored the backgrounds of the couple was the third most-viewed article on the Post’s Web site in the six month period after the initial reports that the Salahis had attended the state dinner without an invitation.
Through the end of last year, nearly 80 percent of the page views for Salahi-related content came from those outside the Washington area. Since the beginning of this year, the proportion has remained high, with close to two-thirds of the page views coming from beyond Washington.
But those traffic numbers are not likely to convince those who contacted me. In almost each case, they said they detested the Salahis as publicity-seeking egomaniacs. And they also rebuked The Post for giving them media exposure.
Answering the question posed in the print and online headline on my column (“How much Salahi news is too much?”), a reader from Annapolis e-mailed: “ANY ‘news’ of these 2 egomaniacal fools is too much.” He said the Salahis, “two of the most useless, shallow human beings on the planet, are making absolute fools of The Post.”
A reader from Herndon wrote that Post editors should “completely re-think their ideas about coverage for those two publicity hounds.” He added: “It’s pathetic that they have the Post in their publicity seeking grasp.”
And there was this from Gaithersburg: “The Salahis are disgusting nouveau riche and don’t fit into the real social scene any more than the fake designer watches and jewelry they wear.” The reader, responding to my contention that there’s a place for Salahi coverage in The Post, agreed: “It’s in the comics section.”
But not everyone has had it with the Salahis. Post reader Joe Keyerleber, who lives in the District, e-mailed Thursday morning: “I take my news very seriously, but on the other hand the Salahis are fascinating and interesting, so I am glad the newspaper is keeping up with them, in spite of the griping.”
| July 1, 2010; 4:08 PM ET
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