There, I said it. I had to turn off the "liberal lock" on my keyboard and cringed at typing it, but insofar as their coverage of the Capitals (and sports generally), the Washington Times is far superior to its crosstown rival. Today's articles are a perfect example. Let's compare.
Both papers note the Caps Thursday signings of Dainius Zubrus
, Matt Bradley
and J.F. Fortin
, as well as the offer extended by the team to Peter Bondra. The Post gives four paragraphs to the Zubrus signing, basically noting that he will be the team's highest paid forward at $1.85m per year and that "the 27-year-old Lithuanian likely will play on the Capitals' top line, possibly alongside rookie left wing Alexander Ovechkin." By process of elimination, one supposes, that makes Zubrus a center or a rightwing (both positions he has played extensively in the past).
The Times, by contrast, gives the reader a brief recap of Zubrus' career to dates, tells us exactly what position to expect Zubrus to be playing and notes what non-hockey skills Zubrus has that are important to the team by actually quoting General Manager George McPhee ("'He'll be one of our top centers,'" McPhee said. "'He's an excellent two-way player who brings size [6-foot-4, 230] and speed and has become really good on faceoffs. And his ability to speak fluent Russian will really help with some of the younger guys.'")
On the Bondra front, the Post cites its own online chat and includes the key McPhee quote on the matter, that "[i]t's really up to Peter whether he plays here or not." Care to elaborate? No?
The Times, on the other hand, includes a variation on that quote, but gives some context and depth to it with another McPhee quote ("'We made him an offer that could make him one of our highest-paid forwards'") and a point of reference ("McPhee refused to say how much he had offered Bondra, a long-time fan favorite, but did say it was nowhere near the staggering $7 million over two years the New Jersey Devils have committed to often-injured forward Alexander Mogilny, who is recovering from his second hip surgery since the 2003-04 season ended."). Wow. That actually resembles journalism.
The two papers clearly have different priorities (the Post places a hgih value on reporting news, the Times on regurgitating RNC talking points), but it's a shame that District subscribers have to choose whether they want their good journalism in the A Section or in the sports page. Luckily for us, there's the internet - which the Times will be all to quick to erroneously assert that Al Gore claims to have invented.