The Most Reckless Editorial Page in America

By Carden & Heilbrunn, The National Interest - December 17, 2014

FOR SEVERAL decades, the Washington Post has functioned not only as a chronicler of national politics, but also as a social arbiter of the capital’s elite. The two were fused in the paper’s trendsetting “Style” section, which was invented in 1969 by the legendary editor and scion of New England grandees Benjamin C. Bradlee. This fusion reached a kind of apotheosis with the paper’s reverent coverage of his funeral at the National Cathedral last October. “Style” referred, among other things, to the “A-list gathering of friends and family,” noting that eight hundred guests attended the “invitation-only party in the back yard of Ben Bradlee and [Sally] Quinn’s home.” It treated his funeral not as a moment for reflection about Bradlee’s tenure, but as a social occasion—a final gathering of the “royal court,” as Post gossip columnist Roxanne Roberts put it, that Bradlee and Quinn had presided over. In this regard, it was a worthy tribute to Quinn’s credo, “Good luck and good timing are great, but ultimately, a Washington party rises and falls with its power quotient.” And so Washington didn’t just celebrate Bradlee but also itself.

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