The Playgoer: Six Degrees of Graham?

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Six Degrees of Graham?

A dilligent reader points out something else noteworthy about the Washington Post piece.

We all know the name Graham is synonomous with the Post. The late Katherine Graham ran the paper for many years and it remains in the family.

A man named Stephen Graham happens to be the "founding trustee"* of New York Theatre Workshop. And a current board member. He was interviewed as such in the last NY Times article.

His current bio on the RISD website (where he is a donor) confirms the name is not coincidental:

Stephen is currently pursuing a PhD in literature at Columbia University and teaching at The New School. He is owner of Stephen Graham Productions, a theatrical production company in New York, and founder and trustee of the highly
respected New York Theatre Workshop. Stephen is also the youngest son of the late Katherine Graham, former chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Company and former publisher of The Washington Post.

More about the Graham family and the Post can be found here.

Would have been worth at least a disclaimer in the article, don't ya think?

* CORRECTION: This has been amended from my earlier "founding artistic director." Nothing I've read actually mentions Graham as ever having that title. I may have wrongly assumed he functioned as such before Nicola took over in 1988. Any NYTW historians out there who can fill us in?


Anonymous said...

You may be right; it wouldn't have hurt. But it's possible the writer wasn't himself aware of this. Besides, I think we can go astray in worrying about the mostly hidden connections in cases like this. If the writer had a personal connection to the subject of his story, we nowadays expect that to be revealed, and there's some sense in that. But that the newspaper had an semi-institutional connection to the theater being discussed sounds pretty distant to me.

Anonymous said...

John, I'm not so sure.

This is yet another mainstream media story that depicts Nicola as 'caught in a maelstrom' without following the facts far enough to demonsrate that the maelstrom was clearly the result of his own (bad) behavior.

Like the pieces in The New York Times, this article gives Nicola much more of a voice than those who believe he caved in to political pressure.

Compare that to the coverage of "Corpus Christi." Here we're seeing a totally different slant.

Is that because Nicola was hired by, and NYTW was founded by, the brother of the Post's CEO? Probably not.

But I wouldn't put money on it. Mentioning Graham's connection to The Post would have been the responsible thing to do.

freespeechlover said...

hat tip, playgoer

Alison Croggon said...

Depressing to see the usual biases in US reporting of this issue - mention of 500 Israeli deaths, of which there is no doubt of the grief and heartbreak; but if balance matters, then the deaths of more than 2000 Palestinian civilians in the same time ought to be mentioned. Only "friends" of Corrie dispute the official IDF inquiry, and so the weight of truth implicitly lies with the IDF. But the IDF has a very bad record on this stuff.

There is an inquest going on in Britain at the moment for a young English activist, Tom Hurndall, who was shot in the head by the IDF while trying to protect some young children from IDF snipers, which exposes the lack of disinterest of IDF inquiries. The young man was waving a white flag; the IDF claimed he was shooting at them and was in army fatigues, etc. No evidence anywhere from anyone who was there, save the IDF, supports the army's claims - the inquest will hear how ""the Israeli authorities tampered with evidence, suppressed investigations and attempted to cover up the shooting." Link here The story also has details of James Miller, the British cameraman who was also shot dead in dubious circumstances, whose inquest was last week.

Anonymous said...


The official IDF inquiry, though remiss in providing a through investigation of Corrie's death, makes no mention of ANY alleged smuggling tunnels in the vicinity of the house she was attempting to protect. The family who lived in that house travels freely in the U.S.

I'm not jumping you about this, just letting you know that the "smugglling tunnels and the house" thing is a combination of misinformation and urban myth.

Also, in general, we could write to David Segal and ask him if he knew of Graham's relationship with NYTW at the time he penned the piece.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't resist, as we're debating the character of WaPo writers. There has been a bit of criticism of their new ombudsman, and the way is bending over backward to find employment for right-wing hacks, but Jane Hamsher at firedoglake said it best:

"For years now the GOP machine has succeeded in strong-arming the Washington Post into legitimizing their propaganda, dribbling out sensational disinformation during Whitewater to the hacktackular Sue Schmidt to put on the front page without skepticism or question. Over time they have provided easy, sleazy copy and traded “access” to the point that it has fueled an empire of mediocrity where only the people willing to limbo low enough and shape the news to Karl Rove’s satisfaction are rewarded with the scoops that trigger seniority. Both editors and reporters alike know their only ability to ascend the hierarchy comes from emulating supreme access pimp and BushCo. dupe Bob Woodward in a slavish devotion to stenography and the propagation of disinformation."

May or may not have something to do with David Segal's approach to his asignments.

Anonymous said...


You may listen to my "Dance for Tom Hurndall" at

When we played the music in London in November, Tom's mom sat next to me and we held hands. She's a wonderful, strong woman.