The Will Lewis Living Wake

will lewis
Will Lewis has endured one of the more unimaginably awful months in recent media history. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
June 19, 2024

On Monday, many of the swells of the Washington political-media in-crowd gathered at Temple Sinai to celebrate the life and times of legendary author and journalist Howard Fineman, the longtime Newseek star and NBC analyst. Mark Whitaker, Evan Thomas, Chris Matthews, Al Franken, and Jill Abramson were among those who delivered remarks and, at the end of his eulogy, former Rep. John Yarmuth broke out a minibar-sized bourbon and toasted Fineman’s days as a cub reporter for the Louisville Courier Journal with a swig from the pulpit. In Washington, a town built on institutions and legacies, it was a true hero’s goodbye.

And yet in addition to the glowing remembrances about the muckraking icon and presidential scholar who they were there to celebrate, the small talk coalesced around the town’s current preoccupation—the future of Washington Post publisher and C.E.O. Will Lewis. The Post newsroom, of course, has openly revolted against him following a cascade of leadership changes, alarming news reports, reputational concerns, and a mushrooming dreadscape. The same topic, unsurprisingly, dominated a cocktail party thrown the previous evening by Patty Stonesifer, the Post’s former interim C.E.O. and a top Bezos lieutenant, in honor of Sally Buzbee, the underachieving editor-turned-martyr who had—how does one put this?—self-defenestrated earlier this month after being demoted from running the Post newsroom to take charge of the paper’s nebulous and forthcoming “third newsroom.”