Washington Post Style reporter Mark Leibovich learned the dangers of jumping to the rival New York Times this week. On Wednesday, a day after the news broke that Leibovich woudl be ankling the Post for the Times‘ Washington bureau, a newsroom prankster affixed a sign on the back of Leibovich’s shirt reading “Traitor.”
Leibovich preceded to walk around the Post‘s fourth floor newsroom with the sign on his back for 45 minutes until a merciful colleague alerted him to it. Shortly thereafter, White House correspondent Dana Milbank sent an email to Post staffers naming the culprit as columnist David Broder.
Leibovich confirmed the episode by phone.
“I wouldn’t classify that as emblematic of a hostile reaction across the board. I thought it was hilarious. It was one of those situations where the batter has to tip his hat to the pitcher and walk back to the dugout,” he said, adding: “I have wonderful friends here and I just have to laugh about it.”
Asked if he had been responsible for the sign himself, Milbank insisted that Broder was the guilty party. “David left the New York Times I believe 42 years ago,” Milbank said. “The guy can’t give up this grudge. You know, I saw him do it. Admitedly, I didn’t tell Mark he had a fourth grade sticker on his back. It was none other than David Broder, dean of the Washington press corps.”
Broder was traveling and unavailable for comment.