WP's Pulitzer winner Robin Givhan took flak for Katherine Harris appraisal
Edited on Tue Apr-18-06 02:50 PM by DeepModem Mom
Editor&Publisher: Looking Back: When Pulitzer Winner Robin Givhan Took Flak for Her Katherine Harris 'Fashion' Statement By E&P Staff Published: April 17, 2006 NEW YORK
WP's Robin Givhan, being congratulated on her Pulitzer Prize for criticism (Burnt Pixel/Keith Jenkins, under a Creative Commons license, via wonkette.com)
Robin Givhan of The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday in the criticism category for her insightful and often witty writing about fashion. But she has also taken some knock to get here. On Dec. 18, 2000, Alicia Mundy, then an E&P columnist, now a correspondent for the Seattle Times, wrote a piece about the uproar inspired by Givhan's classic appraisal of Florida's pivotal election figure, Katherine Harris....
(From Alicia Mundy's original column):
....No one's done a better job of critiquing Harris than The Washington Post's fashion editor, Robin Givhan, and no one's taken more crud doing her job. On Nov. 18, Givhan wrote, "At this moment that so desperately needs diplomacy, understatement and calm, one wonders how this Republican woman, who can't even use restraint when she's wielding a mascara wand, will manage to use it and make sound decisions in this game of partisan one-upmanship....
"Her skin had been plastered and powdered to the texture of prewar walls.... And her eyes, rimmed in liner and frosted with blue shadow, bore the tell-tale homogenous spikes of false eyelashes. Caterpillars seemed to rise and fall with every bat of her eyelid, with every downward glance..."
Givhan added this denunciation: "The American public doesn't like falsehoods, and Harris is clearly presenting herself in a fake manner. Why should anyone trust her?"
The Post was swamped with letters and e-mail messages. Its new ombudsman, Michael Getler, called Givhan's column "a slashing attack" and "a classic example of the arrogance of journalists."
Only the Post's top editor, Len Downie, defended Givhan in Getler's column: "Robin is a well-established fashion critic who is known for her strong views....The newspaper has printed many other strongly voiced views about the issues and participants in this national drama, and I believe that is a proper role for the newspaper....
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