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Obit as Equalizer

Adam Bernstein

NYT columnist Frank Rich wrote last Sunday that the often-friendly relationship between the press and the Washington establishment has caused too few reporters to speak truth to power.

He wrote that The Washington Post's obituary of former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, "... pointedly or not, included a photo of a smiling McNamara enjoying cocktails with a powerful syndicated Post columnist (and Vietnam apologist), Joseph Alsop. The obituary also noted that McNamara served on The Post's board -- a sinecure he was awarded after he had helped send some 50,000 Americans to pointless deaths."

To answer Rich's question, mentioning McNamara's link to The Post was indeed intentional. He had a zillion board memberships. But by omitting the controversial link to our paper, it might give readers the impression we were hiding something. A good obit should be alert for such revealing facts.

By Adam Bernstein  |  July 28, 2009; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Bernstein  
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