From Deborah Howell, Ombudsman [!] for the Post:
I admit to both wincing at and being fascinated by the [infamous boobies] column. I had a lot of questions that the column didn't answer: Did Clinton have a bad-blouse day, or did she want to wear something a bit provocative? Was this a wardrobe malfunction, and, if so, did it merit this much coverage? Shouldn't her reaction have been sought? Perhaps the column could have talked about cleavage on older women. If Clinton can show it on the Senate floor, is it okay in The Post's newsroom? Out at a restaurant? (This older woman wants to know.) . . .
There's a bigger issue about her Clinton piece: Does this have anything to do with whether Clinton should be president? Not a thing. But do we want to read the column about her cleavage? Yes indeed. It was the most viewed story on the Web site all day. So was a recent story on John Edwards's hairdresser.
There has to be a balance in campaign coverage. Readers deserve substance, but they also want to know who these people are, about their families and their lives.
Ok hell, I'll further comment. Other than the obvious ridiculousness, the fact that voters generally want to know personal details about candidates has absolutely nothing to do with the appropriateness of this specific story, which was devoted wholly to Senator Clinton's cleavage. Second, the fact that the story was popular has absolutely nothing to do with its appropriateness. I mean, writing about whether the candidates had sex last night would probably be highly-viewed too, but that doesn't exactly make it ok. Ugh. This is the Ombudsman mind you.