by Douglas Blair
The Washington Post has had a rough week.
On Monday, the Post suspended one of its reporters, Dave Weigel, for a month without pay after he retweeted a joke last week that some of his colleagues thought was sexist.
Felicia Sonmez, the national political reporter at the Post, then tweeted her distaste at the joke, which led to the witch hunt against Weigel.
Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed! pic.twitter.com/zs4dX4qprH
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 3, 2022
The Post, once a bastion for free speech, quickly zeroed in on Weigel for having the audacity to retweet a joke it found problematic.
“Editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated,” said Washington Post chief spokesperson Kris Coratti.
Weigel has since removed the retweet and performed the ritualistic self-flagellating apology. “I just removed a retweet of an offensive joke. I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm,” he tweeted last Friday.
I just removed a retweet of an offensive joke. I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) June 3, 2022
But as is so often the case, only blood will satisfy the mob, and Weigel was suspended.
Wow, if all it takes to get suspended from The Washington Post is to make an offensive joke, it must hold its journalists to really high standards.
Enter Taylor Lorenz.
Lorenz serves as the Post’s internet culture commentator and is known for regularly breaching journalistic ethics and being a hypocrite.
Case in point, Lorenz came under fire back in April for doxxing—publicly disclosing the identity, address, or other personal details of—the owner of the Libs of TikTok Twitter account less than two weeks after bawling on national television that people were mean to her on the internet and doxxing her.
Lorenz’s blatant hypocrisy is frustrating, but it’s her complete lack of ethics that really makes the Post look bad.
Last Thursday, Lorenz wrote an article concerning online content creators who covered the defamation trial featuring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
The piece referenced two YouTubers, Alyte Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy, who reportedly profited from covering the trial.
While Lorenz claimed in the article that neither had responded to requests for comment, both YouTubers claimed that Lorenz hadn’t even bothered to reach out to them before writing the piece.
In response, the Post initially stealth-edited the story to remove the claim that they never responded for comment without making an editor’s note to mark that it had done so.
But one journalistic failure in the story wasn’t enough for the paper. As it turned out, Lorenz had also incorrectly attributed a quote to Depp’s legal representative, Adam Waldman.
Once it was clear that the piece was riddled with errors, the Post finally acknowledged the gravity of the problem and released a comically long editor’s note.
“A previous version of this story inaccurately attributed to Adam Waldman a quote describing how he contacted some Internet influencers. That quote has been removed,” the Post wrote. “The story has also been amended to note The Post’s attempts to reach Alyte Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy for comment. Previous versions omitted or inaccurately described these attempts.”
Has Lorenz been fired for lying in her piece? Has she been punished at all?
Of course not. Punishment is only meted out for going against woke orthodoxy, not for completely failing to do your job.
The Washington Post is a parody of its former self. Gone are the days of holding truth to power, of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and Watergate. Its “Democracy Dies in Darkness” slogan plastered at the top of every page reads more like a joke than a serious endorsement of its journalism.
Much like the lion’s share of corporate media outlets, the Post has become a shill for leftist ideology.
It is certainly not unique in its complete rejection of basic journalistic practices in deference to the almighty woke gods above, but it’s sad to see such a giant of reporting sink to the level of the rag you ignore in the checkout line at the supermarket.
Former President Donald Trump argued that the media was the enemy of the people. While many on the left argued his language was dangerous, it’s far more dangerous for news outlets to become organs of the state based on who is sitting in the halls of power.
There is a vital role for journalists in American life. But whatever The Washington Post has been engaged in is not journalism.
Instead, it’s engaged in enforcing ideological conformity and punishing people who don’t stay on woke messaging 24/7. It’s engaged in forgiving egregious violations of journalistic ethics when the culprit aligns with leftist values. And worst of all, it’s engaged in lying to the American people about the world around them.
Its slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” If that’s true, the lights have been off for a while at The Washington Post.
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Douglas Blair is a news producer for The Daily Signal. He is the co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast.
Photo “Washington Post Building” by Dion Hinchcliffe. CC BY-SA 2.0.