The Diplomatic Correspondent for the WaPo had a story last Thursday that promised more Trumpening of the State Department than it delivered - That drip-drip is the sound of two more senior diplomats leaving Foggy Bottom:
The steady departure of senior officials at the State Department is continuing, as two assistant secretaries of state are stepping down next week.
The impending losses of Daniel Russel, assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary of African affairs, leave only a handful of career diplomats who were holdovers from the Obama administration among the cadre of senior State Department officials.
It's more evidence for the meta-story that the WaPo has been reporting for weeks. You know, all those visions of empty corridors, idle employees whiling away the hours in the cafeteria, layoffs in the senior ranks, and the purge of the 7th floor.
But then, what's this?
Russel and Thomas-Greenfield are not resigning from the government; they are taking State Department-related jobs not actually at the State Department.
It turns out one of the departing seniors is going to "a one-year assignment as a diplomat in residence and senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute" and the other "will become a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy." Those sound like nice gigs. After which I assume they will either return to the Department or maybe retire, of their own choice and not because Trumpistas ran them out of town on a rail.
Looking at the comments on that article I saw something wonderful and rare, a response from a reader who is knowledgeable and even-tempered:
I worked at State as an FSO. I changed jobs more than a dozen times. Twice I had jobs "outside the Department", at Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and at Smithsonian. Both times I came back to the Department on schedule. This story just reports the routine. It is like a breathless story about a river that is not flooding or a house that is not burning.
So then, it's just a dog-bites-man story and fundamentally uninteresting, despite the headline and misleading lead paragraphs.
Until the WaPo purges these hyped-up headlines from its editorial system, readers should automatically dial them down a few levels of drama.