WaPo kills "Mouthpiece Theater"; Cillizza & Milbank apologize

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The Washington Post has pulled the plug on Mouthpiece Theater in the wake of criticism of reporters Chris Cillizza and Dana Milbank for their sexist comments about Hillary Clinton and other women. And, for the first time, the reporters have actually apologized.

Howard Kurtz reports:

"I regret that we put up that image," Milbank said Wednesday, "and while I highly doubt the secretary of state has seen 'Mouthpiece Theater,' I would be honored to have the opportunity to apologize to her over a beer."

Cillizza apologized in a post on his blog, The Fix:

I would like to personally apologize for the content in last Friday's video as it was inconsistent not only with the Post brand but, more important and personal to me, the Fix brand which I have worked so hard to cultivate.

UPDATE: More from Kurtz:

Although the scripts for "Mouthpiece Theater" were approved by editors, Milbank and Cillizza often ad-libbed parts of it, as was the case with the inclusion of Clinton's photo. "We did not have an effective system for vetting videos and other multimedia content," Brauchli said, insisting that will change. He said the paper will keep experimenting with new media but that "we need to hold ourselves to our standards to deliver that."

Left unanswered: Did an editor approve Cillizza's reference to Chip Pickering's wife as a "bitter woman from hell"?

And it must be said that Milbank's comments are a little less apologetic than they might be:

"I regret that we put up that image," Milbank said Wednesday, "and while I highly doubt the secretary of state has seen 'Mouthpiece Theater,' I would be honored to have the opportunity to apologize to her over a beer."

As for the dozen videos they have made in what was designed as a summer tryout, "it's clear there was an audience for it out there, but not large enough to justify all the grief," Milbank said. "My strength is in observational, in-the-field stuff, and that's what I should do. I'm sorry about the reaction it's caused but I think it's important to experiment. The real risk to newspapers is not that they take too many risks, but that they don't take enough risks."

UPDATE 2: More Milbank: "It's a brutal world out there in the blogosphere," Milbank said. "I'm often surprised by the ferocity out there, but I probably shouldn't be."

Wait, let me get this straight: Dana Milbank called Hillary Clinton a "bitch," and it's the blogosphere that's brutal?

UPDATE 3: Here's the original video, in case you've missed it before:

And a response:

And the Women, Action & The Media letter.

Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Dana Milbank, Chris Cillizza
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