We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
LL filed a Freedom of Information Act request a couple months ago for emails between Muriel Bowser administration officials and Post employees. The plan was to find out whether the alliance between the Green Team and editorial board maven Jo-Ann Armao is as tight as it seems. Alas, Armao apparently learned from past LL stories and stopped using email for the good stuff.
Instead, the FOIA request revealed something else: Post reporter Robert McCartney is a bit of a suck-up.
McCartney pops up in the emails as he came off a particularly Ambien-like stretch as a columnist for the Post to become the paper’s “senior regional correspondent.” In an email to Bowser spokesman Michael Czin, McCartney introduced himself with a nod to Bowser.
“I’m a writer for the Post‘s Metro section (who has known Mayor Bowser for some time),” McCartney wrote.
After Bowser legalized marijuana in February, McCartney asked her to help him with what would become an admiring Post story about her legalization work.
“It looks as though you’ve won an important early victory here, as well as called attention to D.C. second-class status with a national audience,” McCartney wrote, who regularly calls Bowser “Madame Mayor.”
So far, this is just some old-fashioned source flattering. In an email to Bowser thanking her for “deep background” help with the marijuana story, though, McCartney takes it in a more queasy direction.
“I hope you were satisfied with it,” McCartney wrote about his story.
LL asked McCartney what he should make of the fawning emails. “I disagree with your reading of it,” McCartney says via email.
Don’t get the idea that everyone at the Post works so greasily. In one email, the Washington Post Magazine tries to convince Bowser to pose with sugary Peeps for their annual diorama contest—a pretty nuts idea, but one that at least wouldn’t endear themselves to Bowser. Meanwhile, even a Post email address couldn’t help columnist Dana Milbank resolve a parking ticket in less than three months.
The FOIA documents reveal Post Wilson Building denizen Aaron C. Davis to be an impressively cranky member of the Fourth Estate. Late mayoral calendar releases and delayed press conferences all draw Davis’ ire. If only everyone at 15th and L NW had that fire.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery