A Dan Froomkin Memory

Robert Waldmann

The Washington Post just fired Dan Froomkin. This has caused considerable outrage on the web. Interestingly, my personal reaction was that Froomkin doesn’t need the Post — he will get high traffic with a new affiliation or with an independent blog.

After the jump a recollection about how Froomkin has been getting in trouble for his journalism for over 30 years.

31 years ago today I was a freshman in the same dormitory as James Bradford DeLong. Dan Froomkin was then a senior in Sidwell Friends High School visiting colleges. He slept on a couch in the suit Brad shared with 3 other students (yes a suit, even freshmen have relatively decent accommodations at Harvard). Froomkin had a slightly tense reception. Brad had written an article about his first impressions of Harvard and, in particular, his suitmates published in the Sidwell Friends newspaper. Froomkin had illustrated it with drawings based on Brad’s descriptions of said totally innocent people whom I will not name on the web.

By some strange coincidence, Froomkin’s drawing of on suit mate — J.Y. — turned out, by pure coincidence, to be a very funny but harsh charicature of a completely different suitmate altogether* — J.E. and Mr E. was not pleased.

Thus I have seen Froomkin (then age 17 or 18) nonplussed by the reaction of one of the subjects of his journalistic efforts.

Somehow, I think this is a bit of a distinction as I don’t think many people have seen that.

*deliberately phrased in memory of pointless redundant words once written by George Orwell — another rare event.