Sunday, June 21, 2009

What if a School Principal Acted Like This

Rhee apparently won't talk to the Washington Post reporter who is primarily responsible for reporting on school issues.
It's not uncommon for public officials to temporarily slam the door on reporters who upset them. But this is unusual. Rhee's effort to transform the public schools is arguably the biggest story in the District and has gained national attention. Her pique has lasted months. Turque is the only reporter who covers her full time. And he works for a powerful hometown newspaper whose coverage is essential to taxpaying readers with a stake in the issue.

"Basically, she just stopped talking to me," Turque said. "She never gave me a direct explanation. I've had to sort of piece it together indirectly."
How does Rhee explain the brush off?
I e-mailed Rhee and asked her to specify her complaints about Turque. I also asked whether she wants Turque replaced on the education beat and why she would talk with Mathews and not him. She referred me to her spokeswoman, Jennifer Calloway, who said Rhee doesn't want to "rehash" the past.
The Post's ombudsman observes,
Rhee's reaction to The Post's coverage strikes me as petty and thin-skinned -- and perhaps calculated. She has been uncommonly cooperative with national media reporters who parachute in for big-picture profiles. But she has been overly sensitive when Turque, and Post education reporters before him, have pursued more granular coverage that is so essential to local readers.
But it also seems to me to be a fair question, would Rhee tolerate this kind of behavior if it were directed at her?

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