Wall Street Journal Editor's Memo on Trump Draws Flak

Gerard Baker accused of softening coverage of Phoenix rally
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2017 7:16 AM CDT
Wall Street Journal Editor's Memo on Trump Draws Flak
Gerard Baker, editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The top editor at the Wall Street Journal apparently thinks his reporters are too biased against President Trump. But many in the journalism community think the newspaper has become way too deferential to the White House. The issue flared anew after staffers leaked an email from editor Gerard Baker in which he criticized an early draft of the paper's coverage of the Phoenix rally. "Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as news reporting,” Baker wrote in the email obtained by the New York Times. "Could we please just stick to reporting what he said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?" The Times then examined a later edition of the story and found that phrases had been deleted, including one saying that Trump had "an off-script return to campaign form" that "pivoted away from remarks a day earlier in which he solemnly called for unity."

Another excised line said the Charlottesville violence was "reshaping" his presidency. In response, the Journal says it maintains "a clear separation between news and opinion" and strives to avoid having "opinion seeping into news coverage." The very fact that the emails were leaked suggests discontent in the newsroom, notes the Washington Post, which rounds up journalists' critical tweets of Baker. This leak follows another earlier this month in which Politico (and not the Journal) published the full transcript of the newspaper's interview with Trump. In it, Baker "dominated the session and did so in solicitous fashion toward Trump," per industry website Poynter. Not helping the Journal's reputation as being too soft: It's owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has become a close adviser to Trump, notes media writer Dylan Byers at CNN. (More Wall Street Journal stories.)

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