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Redskins vs. Washington Post, Part LXXVI

Say you were running a multi-gazillion dollar company widely regarded as a civic touchstone, one of the few things holding a diverse and fragmented community together. Say that another civic landmark--down on its luck, to be sure, but still with a brandname that resonates internationally in its quest for truth--was tasked, as one of its duties, with covering your company. Say that you didn't like how that media company was doing its job, that you particularly lamented the use of anonymous sources by one of that media company's star employees. How would you handle this potentially destructive situation?

1) Go out to a business lunch with the leaders of Civic Landmark II, force everyone to down a couple Martinis, agree to disagree about the use of anonymous sources, but figure it's not worth torching an important relationship.

2) Fight "Anonymous Sourced Information" with "More and Better Sourced Information," leaking every bit of positive and negative news to your own paid media members, thus rendering Civic Landmark II and their anonymous sources wholly irrelevant.

3) Quietly steam for a few days, and maybe even have dart-throwing contests at the center of Star Employee's Blog, but find consolation in this logic: in the long run, if the anonymous sources were proven incorrect, Civic Landmark II's reputation would be the one to suffer, and if the anonymous sources were proven correct, then no harm no foul.

4) Have one of your paid media members create a mocking "Source Meter" paired with mocking references to "Sourcery," and then have him broadcast an "interview" with an "out of work anonymous source" clad in sunglasses and ski cap, during which the anonymous source's palm will fall open and the paid media member will say "why is your hand always out," this being to subtlety what FedEx Field is to "luxurious NFL game-day enjoyment."

I mean, really? This is what things have come to? The noted media critic (and always-very-kind-and-charitable-to-me) Larry Michael openly taunting Jason LaCanfora through fake interviews with fake sources? On Comcast SportsyNet, the same network that supposedly has a working relationship with The Washington Post?

Either way, it's great fun. I can't wait for today's episode of Redskins Radio, airing daily on Comcast SportsyNet from 4-5. (See everyone? That right there is how collegial back-scratching is accomplished.)

By Dan Steinberg |  May 20, 2008; 11:21 AM ET  | Category:  Media , Redskins
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

And this is what happens when you put Larry Michael in a show without someone like Bram to hold him in check.

Posted by: Aaron | May 20, 2008 11:42 AM

stoking the fires

Posted by: littles | May 20, 2008 11:42 AM

Larry might be the best brown noser ever. Wow.

Can we find a way to force out Snyder as owner? Seriously?

I'm done with the Skins. Last straw.

Posted by: DC Centurion's Shield | May 20, 2008 11:43 AM

Larry Michael is a sad, sad, little man. Comical Ali had more credibility.

Posted by: TMU | May 20, 2008 12:21 PM

Larry Michael is a tool. Everyone know's this, its just the part he plays.

J La shouldn't waste an underground indie rock second on captain kiss a**.

I like the stance that the Post has taken with the team - its actually journalistic.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | May 20, 2008 12:22 PM

Here's the real question:

Is the Redskins front office dumb enough to think this kind of stuff helps on ANY level? Larry's a club employee, just like the guy who wipes the flecks of bile off the Danny's chin. How could ANYONE imagine that this little video is a good idea?

Posted by: Hah | May 20, 2008 12:25 PM

Man...what a homer...

Posted by: Buckhantz | May 20, 2008 12:27 PM

And people thought the Wizards were quirky?

Posted by: StetSports.com | May 20, 2008 12:28 PM

The WP should just refuse to cover the Deadskins. Not even publish the score and leave their place in the standings blank.
No mention at all not even game listings etc. I am sure Larry and Danny Boy have the resources to publish their own paper.
Have TK burn the bandwagon or no buyout on the Michael's Deadskin Show with Lindsay Czarniak in a t bar and pasties dancing
to Cowboy's theme song!

Posted by: | May 20, 2008 12:28 PM

Apples and oranges. Larry Michael is a paid spokesman for the team, he is expected to be biased. Jason LaCanfora is expected to have journalistic integrity, he doesn't.

Posted by: PowerBoater | May 20, 2008 12:55 PM

I must be the only WP reader that thinks the WP's coverage and Mr LaConfora's coverage is to pro Redskin and homer. Powerboater read the NYC paper coverage of Giants and Jets. Mr Laconfora has more journalistic integrity then most of the WP's reporting staff except for the Reliable Source girl's.

Problem with your Redskin's is their owner does all his thinking with his smaller brain while he and Tom are reading the The Washington Times and sharing breakfast in bed!

Posted by: | May 20, 2008 1:04 PM

this reminds me of that mickey mouse parody done by al-jazeera for some reason.

i can't, for one second, understand the purpose or motive behind these strong-armed tactics by mr. snyder. the battle to be fought is with the 31 other teams in the league--not your own hometown journalists.

Posted by: 81 | May 20, 2008 1:07 PM

Seriously, Snyder needs to grow a thicker skin. Read the New York papers. Read the Philly, or Chicago papers. THAT'S hard news coverage of football teams; no punches are pulled. Most of the media in D.C. is pretty squishy re: the Skins, and the WP is no real exception -- they MAY run an article or two now and then that isn't pure "rah, rah", and that's what gets Danny's tiny panties in a bunch. So he hires a two-bit shill like Larry Michael; every circus needs a clown, I guess.

Posted by: TMU | May 20, 2008 1:47 PM

Larry Michael didn't you steal Frank Herzog's job?

JLC has a right to rip dannyboy for what he's done to this beloved franchise. The sad part is what this franchise does its fans.

Keep fighting the good fight JLC.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | May 20, 2008 2:09 PM

The worst part about that video is it wasn't funny.

Posted by: Jamie Mottram | May 20, 2008 2:10 PM

This is a joke people. Do you actually think Snyder dictates what is put on Redskins Radio? I think it is sort of funny because Jasno is always quoting his "sources" (anonymous, league, team). He does not seem to be the Redskin Insider any longer.

As much as Jasno has bashed the Redskins organization, what is wrong with a little jab back at him?


Posted by: ComeOn | May 20, 2008 2:18 PM

Not that I expect top-notch humor and satire from Larry Michael (or Dan Snyder), but I don't even get it. Is he saying La Canfora is paying "anonymous sources" for his information?

Posted by: Fingerman | May 20, 2008 2:19 PM

It was worse than that, Go Skins Go. As I remember it, Michael fired Herzog and replaced him with himself.

Larry Michael sucks. Our beloved Redskins' stooping to this level of information control sucks. Boo!

Posted by: Nate in the PDX | May 20, 2008 2:21 PM

2 skinnee js song as the intro!?!?! I have newfound respect for Larry Michael, despite the completely unfunny satire.

Posted by: Ben | May 20, 2008 2:25 PM

That guy with the cap and sunglasses posts alot on Mr. LaCanfora's blog.

Posted by: dcsween | May 20, 2008 2:38 PM

Big deal. The Post should report on the Redskins' ridiculousness (as it did with this blog post) and leave it at that. Just about every subject criticizes those who report on it. Why would the Redskins be any different?

Posted by: | May 20, 2008 2:46 PM

Do I think Snyder dictates what's on Redskins Radio?

I don't think he HAS to. Larry is pre-dictated. I expect nothing interesting from Larry; why should I? He's just a shill, a mouthpiece, a paid loudspeaker.

What *DON'T* want to see is Larry Michael acting like he has some moral high ground over the actual press. He's NOT the press. The Post does NOT work for the Skins; they COVER the Skins, and that means the good and the bad.

Posted by: TMU | May 20, 2008 3:17 PM

Nice to see that you've got your guy's back. Now, would it kill him to return the favor every once in a while?


Posted by: DevilGrad | May 20, 2008 3:42 PM

Wait, you all didn't realize that every single solitary thing that goes on at Redskins Park and FedExField is controlled by Dan Snyder? You can't take a leak in those places without "Mr. Snyder" saying it's okay first. Take it from a former Redskins employee, that places is like communist China--complete with a tiny little male dictator in charge.

Posted by: | May 20, 2008 3:46 PM

TMU you are exactly right. LM is nothing more than a hired hand, someone to read the press releases.

He can still take jabs at the press if he wants to. Just like the press can take jabs at him in their blogs.

Posted by: Come On | May 20, 2008 3:52 PM

From LaCanfora's blog post titled "Fred Davis Speaks"

"My first time out at the Park in the while, and I keep hearing that the Redskins tried to hire the president of the Brandon Lloyd fan club - initials DS - to join their machine and help get the word out via his blog skills."

What's up with this Dan?

Posted by: 1st and Goal | May 20, 2008 3:53 PM

I love seeing the Redskins ridicule the Post. Love it.

Posted by: Joe | May 20, 2008 4:14 PM

I miss Bram already.

Posted by: odessasteps | May 20, 2008 5:13 PM

The problem is most, but not all, of JLCs recent articles on the Redskins have been negative. In particular, he's very negative in personal comments and opinion regarding the actions of the front office and the owner.

He often disregards journalistic integrity by using anonymous sources to make his negative arguments. I venture to say most of those anonymous sources are either from Skins competitors who have a vested interest in stirring up controversy or completely made-up fantasy to reinforce his points. If the statements are true, then I fail to see why it's important to hide the identity of an NFL GM or scout who says the Skins picked a bunch of donkeys in the draft or the front-office doesn't know how to manage the salary cap...

JLC's reporting has improved recently (we acknowledged his loss in the blog), but the Washington Redskins are the home team where the Washington Post is published. If JLC cannot modify his writing style, then the Post should assign a new football beat writer who can obtain real inside information from the press conferences and interviews. I suspect JLC has lost his inside access as a result of his constant personal attacks against the front office and owner. He's a Ravens fan, so why force him to cover a team he doesn't like?

It's certainly reasonable to question strategy and be critical of the team in reporting. Personally, I find it more informative to read positive articles (e.g. see any written by Jason Reid) about my football team. However, the near constant negativity from JLC is disrespectful to both the fans and everyone involved with the Skins. We read the Washington Post sports articles to gain informative insight and information about the local sports teams. We can read the Dallas Morning News or Dr.Z for negative information from competitors.

Just to be clear -- I believe the negative reporting is causing the friction with the Skins and not JLCs anonymous source references...

Posted by: Siris | May 20, 2008 5:20 PM

Siris - well said, but wait for the backlash of JLC supporters. It seems that some of bloggers are more loyal to JLC then the Redskins.

Posted by: Come On | May 20, 2008 5:35 PM

"... However, the near constant negativity from JLC is disrespectful to both the fans and everyone involved with the Skins. ..."

Posted by: Siris | May 20, 2008 5:20 PM

And I absolutely disagree with this. Its like saying negativity about a hypothetical presidential administration is disrespectful of U.S. citizens and everyone who works in the federal government.

Posted by: dcsween | May 20, 2008 6:13 PM

'He often disregards journalistic integrity by using anonymous sources to make his negative arguments.'

Siris, have you ever worked as a journalist? Anonymous sources are the nature of the beast. Jason also uses anon sources when making his positive (non-negative?) arguments, points, etc.

Posted by: | May 20, 2008 6:17 PM

Who cares if JLC is negative about the Skins? That franchise isn't exactly in tip-top shape. No reason to wear rose-colored glasses when talking about the Skins. I love them to death, but they've been spinning their wheels for more than a decade now.

And as I've always said, Larry Michael is a hack. An absolute no-talent hack. Always has been. Always will be. Although, if he can find a decent job, it gives hope to all the homeless out there.

Posted by: Colin | May 20, 2008 8:40 PM

Imagine if "Civic Landmark II" had just trusted my administration instead of using anonymous sources?

Posted by: Nixon's Ghost | May 21, 2008 12:23 AM

I agree with Jamie, the real tragedy here is that this wasn't funny.

I read Redskins Insider daily and if I watched the Larry Michael video without having read this post first, I wouldn't have any idea that he had directed it at La Canfora.

If the joke has to be explained it isn't that funny. At some point subtle becomes confused.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | May 21, 2008 9:05 AM

is la canfora negative or is he just covering a negative situation?

im waiting for snyder to change the team colors to purple, oragne, and green for some real fedex unity

Posted by: scruggs | May 21, 2008 10:06 AM

It hardly seems out of bounds to me for LaCanfora to report that the emperor at Redskins Park has no clothes (or trees remaining on his property for that matter). Snyder has become a larger-budget, less charming version of Peter Angelos, and the Redskins are a laughingstock outside the Beltway. The team and its Kool-Aid-drinking fans can pillory the Post all they want, but truth is still a defense to libel in all fifty states plus the District.

Posted by: DevilGrad | May 21, 2008 10:40 AM


Boy, you really don't understand the press, do you? So JLC's sources (so to speak) should be press conferences and interviews? Never a discouraging word, eh?

This team has an . . . interesting record, both on the field and in the front office, during the Danny years. Do you REALLY think the Skins will tell us the truth about what's going on? If you really think that, I can't help you. JLC has to get his information where it can be gotten -- and that's going to be from anonymous sources a lot of the time, just like the guys in the A section.

Look, if you just want the Skins' front office's sunshine-and-lollipops, Larry will be pleased to give it you. The Kool-Aid jug is right over there.

Posted by: TMU | May 21, 2008 10:41 AM

Not funny? "How do you apply for a job if you have no name that people have any veracity with," has to be one of the funniest sentences I've heard all morning. And that's the veracity truth.

Posted by: WorstSeat | May 23, 2008 11:23 AM

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