The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

Enjoying the gritty depictions of Washington power players in the fabulous House of Cards series on Netflix? Then you might also check out The Solomon Scandals, which predates the Netflix program. Like so much of House, as well as the classic novel All the King’s Men, Scandals is about the conflict between friendship and duty. […]

Tax dollars at work, GSA style Angry taxpayers are buzzing over the organizational “culture” at the General Services Administration, the federal procurement agency. I don’t mean Chaucer, Mozart or Van Gogh. Enjoy this spoof video for a GSA conference—rudely picked up by ABC News and others. Hey, you helped pay for it. GSA was supposed […]

As if the stolen glasses weren’t enough, Jonathan Franzen is in the news for not making the final cut in the National Book Awards. I myself have mixed feelings about Freedom, but mostly like it. Granted, events and outcomes happen with a little assist from coincidence. But you can accuse Dickens of the same. What’s […]

How closely should the world follow VIP journalists and politicians and—for that matter—celebrities in general? “Newspapers spend too much time explaining themselves.” So  said Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of the Washington Post; and a media watcher even gave the pronouncement a name—the Brauchi Doctrine. Look, Marcus. Your paper is in decline for the moment despite […]

LBJ was about to replace J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director when word leaked to Newsweek. So what did the White House do to spite the Ben Bradlee, then at Newsweek’s Washington bureau? Reappoint Hoover, of course. Now the reverse has happened in a sense to Sally Quinn, Bradlee’s wife and doyenne of the Georgetown […]

My “Don’t fire” headline is for the benefit of out-of-towners. As a close friend of the Grahams, the owning family of the Washington Post, she in fact comes wrapped in asbestos. So why am I writing this generally pro-Quinn post (amid the “dueling weddings” controversy—over the common date of April 10, shared by her son’s […]

Washington, D.C., is a perilous place about which to write fiction. In more than a few of the guides to D.C. fiction, a major premise is that the Great Washington Novel has yet to be written or has already been written. Uh-oh. And no pleasing everyone. One student of the genre holds up Allen Drury, […]