Post Watch: Rhee Stiff-Arms Postie

By: Harry Jaffe

DC schools head Michelle Rhee has become a darling of the national media. Reporters for Time, the Atlantic, the New York Times, CBS, and other outlets have chronicled her brash crusade to fix the public schools; they all quote her at length.

But search for Rhee’s comments in the Post and you’ll come up empty. Post education writer Bill Turque is at war with Rhee. She and her staff say he demanded preferential treatment and turned negative when it didn’t happen. For example, Turque has been questioning how Rhee has spent her weekends and a one-week vacation. Turque, who came to the Post after covering national politics for Newsweek, declined to comment.

Relations have become so sour that Post Metro editor Robert McCartney has met twice with Rhee. He brought executive editor Marcus Brauchli along for the second private lunch.

Says McCartney, “We asked for more timely and complete responses from the school system to our requests for information and access.”

Turque, meanwhile, has been doing stories about school violence and the impasse in negations between Rhee and the teachers union. Rhee is still the darling of the Post editorial page, where writer Jo-Ann Armao has been a staunch supporter.

This article first appeared in the January 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.

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