Washington Post Editor Marty Baron said this week that his paper is treating the Trump administration the exact same way it would a Clinton administration, and they’re absolutely not the opposition party.
“The way I view it is, we’re not at war with the administration, we’re at work. We’re doing our jobs,” Mr. Baron said at the Code Media conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, California, on Tuesday, adding he’d treat the Clinton administration the exact same way.
“… as far as being the opposition, we’re not the opposition either. We’re independent. And I think we’ve reached a strange point, where just being independent — which the press should be — is portrayed as being opposition,” Mr. Baron said.
That’s funny. In November, the former CEO of NPR wrote in Vanity Fair that some days he feels as though The Post has become Breitbart for the left.
And Wednesday’s coverage exemplified his point.
On The Post’s online front page, all six featured stories involved President Trump, and all were negative. Admittedly, the firing of Mr. Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn sent shock-waves throughout Washington, but there were other stories.
The same day, Mr. Trump had a very good meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis was meeting with NATO allies in Europe. The U.S. stock market is soaring.
On Thursday, the coverage wasn’t much better. Of the four featured articles, all of them focused on Mr. Trump, one with the snarky headline: “Campaigning like its 2016: Trump stuck in a time warp.”
It’s hard to imagine Hillary Clinton would’ve been treated the same way — even though she too had low favorability numbers and was thought dishonest by the majority of Americans.
The New York Times — which ran a front-page analysis defending reporter bias in the age of Trump last summer — also feels its coverage of the administration is fair.
Earlier this month, the Times CEO Mark Thompson stopped by CNBC’s Power Lunch and explained how his paper played it straight.
“We aim to be objective and to tell people straightforwardly what’s happening,” he said.
Yet, it’s own public editor Liz Spayd, admitted The Times got so wrapped covering Mr. Trump’s daily controversies during the campaign, it missed the real story on why he resonated with voters.
“… as the Times begins a period of self-reflection, I hope its editors will think hard about the half of America the paper too seldom covers,” she wrote.
That has hardly happened.
In The Times’ Washington Sunday edition, there wasn’t one positive Trump story to be found, but a reader could get the scoop on why federal civil servants felt a sense of “dread” in the Trump era, and how Republicans in Washington “appear flummoxed by the complexities of one-party rule.”
It’s also had hard-hitting pieces, focusing on how Mr. Trump’s team is so inept, it can’t even operate the lights in the White House.
“Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit,” intrepid reporter Glenn Thrush detailed earlier this month.
It’s worth noting The Times hired Mr. Thrush after his WikiLeak embarrassment, where he described himself as a “hack” to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, while sending parts of his reporting for sign-off by her campaign.
I wonder if he extended that same courtesy to Mr. Trump’s administration before printing that they didn’t know how to operate the lights. I bet not.
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