Washington Post Ombudsman Admits To Excessive Salahi Coverage, Says We’re Stuck With It

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Since making an unrequested appearance at last fall’s state dinner at the White House, it seems that no matter how hard we try, we can’t get rid of Tareq and Michelle Salahi. Especially in this town, that type of reality famous is rare, and the local Washington Post has really embraced the celebrity by posting many stories and features on the couple since their moment of infamy last November – to the tune of 110 articles written by 30 different writers.

For two socialites who may not exactly have a long list of accomplishments, that sure seems like a lot of space in a dying medium. That hasn’t been lost on some of the WaPo’s readers, who have penned many a letter to the editor about this excessive coverage, to the point that the paper’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, dedicated his column yesterday to defending the decision to keep running stories related to the two:

But at its core, reader interest centers on the unique audaciousness and astonishing self-absorption of the Salahis. Many object to continuing coverage because they find the couple detestable, especially the Salahis’ moth-to-flame craving for media attention. Many readers have told me they view the couple as villainous and some eagerly await the Salahis’ comeuppance.

But many of those same readers harbor a what-will-they-do-next curiosity. They’re eager for each new episode in what amounts to a serial drama. The Salahis don’t disappoint. Journalistically, they’re a gift that keeps giving.

Readers, how much is too much coverage of one pair of spotlight seekers? Alexander argued that the “gossip crap” is something long missing from the gloom of the normal Post perspective. Do you agree?

Dave Levy is a PR guy by day, a media researcher on the side and a self-proclaimed geek. He blogs often about how traditional media adapts – or tries to adapt – to the growing digital media world at State of the Fourth Estate. You can follow Dave on Twitter for various updates about everything from sports from his previous home in Boston to eccentric and obscure pop culture references. Read why Dave loves D.C.

10 thoughts on “Washington Post Ombudsman Admits To Excessive Salahi Coverage, Says We’re Stuck With It

  1. It’s interesting that the media – and the Post is no exception – can be so ready to proclaim that they have an obligation to tell the people what they NEED to know rather than what they WANT to know… up until bottom-feeders like the Salahis are part of the picture. Then all of a sudden they turn on their heel, throw up their hands and say “hey, we’re just reflecting consumer demand.”

    You can’t have your Noble Calling and peddle this stuff too, Alexander. Or at least admit that you’re part of the problem. There’s a clamor for this crap because you’re willing to peddle it.

    Nobody bangs on the WaPo doors asking for updates on who is dating who in the porn industry because you’ve decided you’re not willing to shill that garbage. You get asked for Salahi updates because you’ve shown you’re willing to be their media pimps in exchange for viewer eyeballs.

  2. remember in the summer of 2001 when it was all Chandra Levy all the time (except when it was about sharks and missing blondes) – and then after 9/11 there was this supposed great examining and the new media was actually going to take its job of informing Americans about what was going on in the world seriously. And now we have the Sahalis – the journalistic gift that keeps on giving.

    These newspaper guys really don’t want to report the news, do they?

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  5. Can’t get enough of The Salahis!

    I love that the few women who are so jealous of Michaele are on her “Fan” page on Facebook. They have done everything to try to hurt her. Sam ( ? we know who you are) let it go. The Police Dept watch her page like crazy – 3 people have had their accounts shut for spinning hate. Like I told you on the other blog – we all love Michaele and are beside her! Hate has a hold of you girl.

    Obsessed with no lives.

    Michaele keep Rockin’ it! We are all out here and love it!

    Whoever posted that page (Sam) is the next to go!

    Bye Sam.( ?) soon to go.

  6. I’m so paranoid. Should I be blacking out my windows when the Salahi police come for me. The question is why would people defend and obvious scratching and clawing social climbing celebrity wanna-be. Maybe if she paid off her multiple judgments in court she has defaulted on, quit claiming their charities that are under investigation are legitimate, and quit telling everyone she has a heart of gold people will leave her alone.
    You better be careful..the police might come after you for impeding their investigation of me.

  7. Don’t think you’re alone Sam, we’re no fans of those charlatans here at We Love DC, and we’ll be mocking the shit out of Tarek “Fake Patek Phillipe” Salahi and Michaele “I wear my sari backwards!” Salahi. They’re absolutely wastes of DNA.

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