Monday, July 10, 2017
"Go Back Dorothy, Go Back...."
It was like the scene from "Alice in Wonderland."
It Was 1969 and I was walking out of Broadcast House for the last time...when I encountered a former young member of the Production crew, Steve King, walking up the steps to the station, returning to get his old job back, after his two year tour in Vietnam. .
""Go back, Steve, ...Go back! It's not the same place you left," I shouted as he walked up the steps.
But the law said that the station had to give returning veterans their jobs back, so......
He learned very quickly that he had simply swapped one war zone for another.
He put up with a very hostile attitude from the "Larry Israel people" for quite some time before finally throwing in the towel and leaving Broadcast House to start his own production company.
When Phil Graham died (suicide) his wife, Kathrine Graham, took over and proceeded to change just about everything that Phil had done; firing many long term Washington Post employees, and TV station WTOP-TV) employees right and left. She hired a man named Larry Israel, who was known in the business as "Ruthless."
He proceeded to fire everyone at the Post's TV station (WTOP-TV). After about 6 months of this reign, about 100 employees had been terminated. Former top executives were the first to go....his method was to first "promote" the executive to a non existent position, (called "area vice President of some such thing) and a few months later fire them. After about a year and a half or so...he had completely "cleaned house."
The firings were done seemingly with viciousness. It was very ugly.