LBJ was about to replace J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director when word leaked to Newsweek. So what did the White House do to spite the Ben Bradlee, then at Newsweek’s Washington bureau? Reappoint Hoover, of course.
Now the reverse has happened in a sense to Sally Quinn, Bradlee’s wife and doyenne of the Georgetown party circuit, in the wake of her controversial writeup of a wedding gaffe.
Contrary to common expectations, including mine, based on Ms. Quinn’s tight friendship with the owners of the Post, she lost her “Party” column—or at least the version that counts on L Street, the print incarnation.
With rare exceptions, she’ll “Party” on just in cyberspace. And the column must “return to what had been its original focus on faith, family and entertaining.” As reported by Erik Wemple at the Washington City Paper, that’s the word directly from Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli. The Hoover parallel—my little twist—is appropriate given Sally Quinn’s standing as a Washington institution just like Hoover. No spite-the-prophets factor, perhaps. But a surprise just the same.
I myself was hoping that she would get an “at large” column as a replacement, with an attentive, fully empowered editor to oversee her. Realistically, though, given the widely reported furor over Ms. Quinn’s wedding column, I wasn’t counting on it. But you never know. I’d remind the skeptics that she has pulled her share of Lazarus acts, reinventing herself along the way. If nothing else, might she depart the Post for more freedom elsewhere? Maybe in the magazine world? Perhaps even Newsweek if the Graham friendship factor kicks in? Or if it doesn’t, perhaps Vanity Fair, which has respectfully quoted her in the past? Coincidentally a member of her husband’s family, Frank Welch Crowinshield, whose last name is Ben Bradee’s middle name, once edited the latter magazine.
As unfashionable as this may be now in the blogosphere, good luck to her.
The gaffe: Ms. Quinn insisted on April 10 for a wedding for her son in D.C. even though her husband’s oldest granddaughter had already planned to tie the knot on the same day a continent away.
Related: Eric Wemple is leaving the City Paper—to edit a local startup from Allbritton Communications.