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White House $277,000 Invitation Probe Breaks WUSA9 Record For Most Read Web Story

9:02 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - (WUSA9) - At over one million clicks, and counting, WUSA9's probe into the White House's $277,000 calligraphy staff has remained among our most popular stories for a week and has evolved into WUSA9.com's most read story ever.

Click here to see original story.

The story has been picked up by news organizations coast to coast and has also created a lot of strong opinions and questions.

In comments on WUSA9.com and Facebook, many supported the age old protocol of hand written White House invitations, while others expressed outrage at the cost.

Others had questions about how we put our story together and how we created a fake using Microsoft Word that fooled so many.

One of the most common questions was why we featured a George W. Bush era invitation in our comparison.

Although we created a fake Obama invitation too, the highest quality image we could obtain from the White House Historical Association was a Bush archive.

Confusion continued about which invitation was authentic. In the side-by-side image, the one on the right is the authentic invitation prepared for the White House staff.

The other was created on a WUSA9 station computer.

The same calligraphy department has been responsible for several administrations.

The first hand written invitation we could found goes back to 1801 under President John Adams.

Finally, on that $277,000 annual cost for the White House calligraphy department, many asked whether that includes printing and paper.

That's staff only.

According to a 2012 White House report to Congress, there are three presidential calligraphers earning a minimum of $85,953.00, with the chief calligrapher earning $96,725.00

The White House has not responded to our repeated requests for comment.


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