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NPR, Network of Posh Retail?


The Washington Post published another sad story Monday on an “iconic shop” of “high-end retail” closing in northwest D.C., and among the thousand-dollar-clothes shoppers at Harriet Kassman’s salon is a reporter for the government-subsidized National Public Radio, the people who are supposed to be getting by on donations from poor old ladies who love Mozart:

But now, with fewer galas and more customers cutting back, the shop in the upscale Mazza Gallerie in Northwest Washington is closing. The thousand-dollar gowns and suits by Badgley Mischka and Armani are marked down. Even the chairs, fixtures and now-bare mannequins wear “for sale” stickers.

Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio’s legal affairs correspondent, said she doesn’t know what she’s going to do without the boutique. She got to know Kassman 15 years ago, when her husband spent six months in intensive care at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She’d stop by Kassman’s after visiting at the hospital. For Totenberg, it was “a store with some humanity.”

“I’d often buy something to cheer myself up,” she said. “[Kassman] was just wonderful to me.”

Totenberg was married then to former Sen. Floyd Haskell (D-Colo.), who died in 1998. She remarried in 2000. Old estimates show she didn’t have a six-figure salary at NPR in the 1990s. But stories like this wouldn’t help during pledge drives.  


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