Why Newspapers Are Dying: Nobody Cares About Mona Sutphen but the Washington Post

And you wonder why newspapers are losing readers.


By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Mona Sutphen.

Who is she?

The deputy White House chief of staff for policy. Zzzzzzz.

Wake up! She got a huge write-up in the Style section of the Washington Post today. Color photo. Half the front page. Wow! What have I missed? In what scandal is she enmeshed?

None. The reporter interviewed her friends, White House colleagues and mentors, and they all say she is a person of excellent character. Ah. So surely the evil Republicans have made her a matter of controversy for her liberal beliefs?

Cannot really say. As far as we can tell, no Republicans or critics of the administration were interviewed for the story. Certainly none were quoted. Well surely there is some outrageous anecdote on which to peg a profile. Did she fight in the Israeli army? Lose a finger in her youth? Does she curse like a sailor?

Well, there is one anecdote. The profile opens with a story about how the governor of Kansas once met Sutphen in the hallway and recognized her name. Well why does the Post say we should care about her?

The story says that "as a respected foreign policy thinker in a job coordinating President Obama's vast domestic policy agenda, she embodies the way this administration blurs the line between the two, believing that issues such as public education, regulatory reform and economic recovery no longer stop at the water's edge." Blecch. OK , why did the Post really give her so much space?

Getting her to return the newspaper's phone calls and leak stories may have something to do with it. Otherwise, why print the single most boring story ever to appear in an American newspaper, anywhere, ever? And you wonder why newspapers are losing readers?

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