Politics

Washington Post chairman unaware of Obama-Common controversy until shareholder asks, despite running story on it

Washington Post Company chairman Donald Graham told shareholders Thursday morning that he was unaware of the controversy surrounding the rapper known as Common, whom Michelle Obama has invited to a poetry event, until Cliff Kincaid of the watchdog group Accuracy in Media asked him about it. Graham apparently missed a story on the front page of his newspaper’s Style section*, which offered a defense of Common’s lyrics.

“Mr. Kincaid, I thank you for informing me of something I didn’t know about,” Graham said. “You have brought our attention to an interesting controversy.”

At the annual meeting of stockholders, Kincaid, himself a Post stockholder, pushed Graham to comment on why he allowed his newspaper to run a story defending Common’s “civic-minded protests of corrupt law enforcement and unjust legal proceedings.” Kincaid pointed out that Graham began his career as a police officer in Washington, and asked him why he’d allow a defense of someone who supported convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, who’s also known as Assata Shakur.

Graham wouldn’t comment, and adjourned the meeting quickly.

*This story has been corrected.