Aug. 17, 2005 – Under pressure from its own workers and groups organizing an anti-war event in the nationâ€™s capital near the end of September, the Washington Post Company decided to withdraw sponsorship for a Pentagon-planned September 11 memorial event, the paper reported yesterday.
Monday, members of the Washington Post unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild passed a resolution calling on the company to immediately cease providing free space in the paper for public service announcements about the Freedom Walk: America Supports You event to be held on September 11.
Late Monday night, Post officials informed the Pentagon that they were withdrawing support for the event and would instead donate money to a Pentagon-run memorial fund, the news service said.
According to information posted to a website set up for the event, the procession is to begin at the Pentagon and end at the National Mall, where it will be immediately followed by a performance by country-western star Clint Black. Participants are required to register with the Pentagon at least two days prior to the event.
Several anti-war groups putting together a three-day-protest beginning on September 24 had heavily criticized the Post for sponsoring the Pentagonâ€™s event, the paper reported last Friday. The American Friends Service Committee posted the email addresses of the paperâ€™s publisher and top two editors and urged people to contact them to express their disappointment in the decision to support the event.
In addition to citing the apparent conflict of interest in a news outlet providing free advertising space to an institution it covers regularly, groups pushing for the paper to pull its sponsorship said the event was highly politicized, pointing to the inclusion of Blackâ€™s free concert at the end as evidence.
Blackâ€™s song "Iraq and Roll" has drawn heavy criticism from some for its war-mongering theme and lyrics.
Three other local media outlets are sponsoring the event, WTOP Radio, WJLA television and NewsChannel8.
In a statement posted late Monday, the DoD termed the paperâ€™s decision "unfortunate" and said: "This is a commemorative event to honor the memory of the victims who died in the attack on the Pentagon and to highlight the yet to be constructed Pentagon Memorial."