War of the Words

Perhaps the most interesting insight into Clark, though, comes from a 1981 Washington Post Magazine article devoted to— surprise— the brilliance of Wesley Clark, then a Lieutenant Colonel commanding a tank brigade. Even then, apparently, Clark knew everything, because both he and the U.S. Army had made no mistakes. "Maybe I'm poorer for never having had that experience," he answers when asked about failure, after arguing that the U.S. military won the Vietnam War: "It was more than a can-do attitude we had. We did do. We set out to destroy the enemy's main forces, their political infrastructure, to build up the South Vietnamese economy and government, and we did. I would say that the United States just lost heart too soon. Had we held our heart after the peace talks, intervened if the accords were violated as we promised, there would still be a South Vietnam."

Smaller Cakes and No Ale

The only way to really get what you want at the Washington Post, conventional wisdom among Post veterans holds, is to secure the interest of the New York Times— at which point top Post editors will promptly fall all over themselves doing whatever is necessary to keep you. Latest case study: the gifted fashion writer Robin Givhan, who's parlayed an offer from the Times to secure the plum 2000 presidential campaign billet in the paper's Style section. (Unlike National staffers, Style's political writers are actually allowed to be engaging and trenchant if they choose.)

Leaving the paper later this summer— but not for the Times, or even anything journalism-related— is the eternally compound-interested James K. Glassman, who reportedly wants to parlay his column-based following into corporate consulting and seminar gigs.

Sources told Press Clips they're not sure if Glassman will get a farewell party from the financial desk staff, but if he does, it's likely his going-away cake— another Post tradition— will be smaller than those in the past. Not only have budget cuts resulted in a freeze on free Wall Street Journals or New York Timeses for the National staff's reporters, but the goodbye-party budget has been pared. "The cakes are smaller, and no more soda!" one Postie fumed. While this may seem a bit overwrought— Post writers are among the best-paid in journalism— some at 15th and L NW say Post writers see it as adding insult to injury after new National editor Jackson Diehl's purge of five veteran writers from the National staff. Since suggesting the writers (now known as "the Jackson 5") find jobs elsewhere at the paper, Diehl has gained a hardly endearing but utterly appropriate nickname: "Slobodan."


  • A recent Washington City Paper story commemorated former New Republic staffer Ruth Shalit's transition from Washington wunderkind journalist to New York City junior advertising executive. City Paper editor David Carr observed that, in addition to being a plagarist and a not consistently accurate reporter, "Shalit is a tremendously self-involved person who is not particularly self-aware." Nor, apparently, is she (or Salon's editors) geographically aware. In her debut May 11 piece as Salon's advertising columnist, the diminutive dilettante wrote that "If there is such a thing as 'false consciousness,' its giant brain must lie at the corner of 18th and Madison." Last time we checked, Madison started at 23rd. . . .

    Cynthia Cotts returns next week.

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