Weekend in Review—Keep Jim Zorn
The Redskins lost to Dallas on the road on Sunday by a squeaker score of 7-6. It was an overwhelming defensive effort, with Skins bodies flying everywhere, deflecting this pass, intercepting that pass, bottling up this draw play, battering Tony Romo all afternoon. The loss puts the Skins at 3-7 and pretty much ends all the tongue-in-cheek bandwagon talk of last week. Now the chatter will shift to who will replace Coach Jim Zorn once the season ends.
I say no one should. Yes, Zorn is responsible for this terrible, terrible offense. Six points is almost never enough to win a football game in 2009, and certainly won't be in 2010, either. This was supposed to be the guy's strong suit—West coast offense, keep the chains moving, score points.
Yet here's the thing about Zorn: He's a leader. Even when the team is sinking and things could never look worse, the guy has the right attitude, doesn't make excuses, and doesn't blame other people. Perhaps it's those characteristics that explain why this team hasn't quit on him. There's no magical solution to the Redskins' woes, though there are some big names out there, including former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who might, just might, undergo a long-enough mental lapse to work for Dan Snyder. Such a move would pump up the fan base and perhaps do absolutely nothing for the product on the field. Management experts call it "shiny object syndrome."
Trivia question for Post watchers: When was the last time this reporter landed a story on a page other than A1?
Post ombo Andy Alexander goes soft this week, pegging a profile of the Post's food critic to the Thanksgiving holiday. I must say, however, that I am unlikely to heed Alexander's recommendation: "After Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner, when your stomach is groaning from gluttony, take a moment to reflect on Tom Sietsema."
Diana Sims Snider pisses me off. She's an Alexandriite who showed up in Saturday's "Free for All" page of the Post. Her gripe? She couldn't stand the Post's coverage of the Archdiocese of Washington vis-a-vis the city's pending same-sex marriage legislation. The local arm of the Catholic church warned the city that it would discontinue certain charitable activities if it had to work in a same-sex-marriage-is-OK environment.
Snider couldn't stand the way the Post wrote the story:
The Post's anti-Catholic bias continues unabated ["Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum," front page, Nov. 12]. To call the Archdiocese of Washington's announcement that it may have to discontinue certain social programs if the gay-marriage law is passed an "ultimatum" was both charged and inaccurate. The archdiocese has a long partnership with the District but was fairly alerting officials that it will not sacrifice its religious beliefs.
Quoting D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who called the church's response "somewhat childish," was outrageous.
Couple of points here: First of all, it's an ultimatum, which is defined as a "final peremptory demand." How else to describe the church's craven power play? Dialogue? Constructive engagement on a sensitive issue?
But what really gets me is Snider dissing the Post for, like, quoting a public official. She says that's "outrageous," in case you didn't read the blockquote carefully. How ya figure? First of all, Cheh understated the case. It's not "somewhat childish," it's childish, or perhaps extremely childish. This is the classic case of taking your ball and going home. And that's something that children do at a much greater rate than adults. So Cheh is dead on.
However. The point isn't just that Cheh had it right. The point is that even if Cheh had misspoken, misportrayed, or gone over the line, it is never, never, ever "outrageous" for a newspaper to quote a public official. In fact, it's the newspaper's obligation to do just this. Think about libel law. As any good media attorney will tell you, a special privilege attaches to quoting the remarks of elected officials. If one of these individuals opens her mouth and happens to libel someone, any newspaper who quotes that libelous statement is pretty much immune from liability, simply because that newspaper is quoting a public official—it's fair game.
So, Diana Sims Snider, develop a little respect for the civic duty of a newspaper in your open, democratic society. And keep the great copy coming! Let's talk Monday.