Report: Chaos in WaPo Newsroom as Executive Editor Leaves: ‘I Can’t Sugarcoat It Anymore’

Is it darkness yet?

I ask that seemingly ungrammatical question because, for years, The Washington Post has assured us that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” That slogan was adopted in February 2017, just one month after Donald Trump took office as America’s 45th president. No coincidence or anything.

Democracy has not died in the intervening years, but things have indeed gotten very dark around the Post’s newsroom. Deprived of the outsized importance the capital’s paper of record was lent by #TheResistance during the Trump years, the paper was shedding readers and bleeding money at an alarming rate — so bad, in fact, that Post rival The New York Times did an eye-opening piece about the WaPo’s finances last July, estimating that the paper might lose $100 million in 2023.

To put that into perspective, that yearly loss would be 40 percent of the $250 million Amazon impresario Jeff Bezos paid for the Post back in 2013.

Things have not gotten smoother in the Post’s newsroom since that piece shed a light on the internal workings of the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” crowd, and things have gotten very dark indeed — so dark that the paper’s publisher more or less forced out the executive editor over the weekend and then sparred with the paper’s reporters in the aftermath, telling them he could no longer “sugarcoat” the paper’s declining readership and earnings.


Watch: Sen. John Kennedy Says ‘Biden Is in Trouble,’ Claims He’s Polling with ‘Fungal Infections’ in Fiery Rant

According to a Vanity Fair report, Washington Post publisher Will Lewis had a testy meeting Monday morning with Post staff after executive editor Sally Buzbee left on Sunday. It’s unclear whether or not Buzbee decided to leave before she was fired or was fired and given the option of making it look like it was voluntary, but what was clear from Charlotte Klein’s piece is that she was on her way out one way or another.

Per The New York Times, Buzbee reportedly told her colleagues during a Sunday call that Lewis was attempting an aggressive turnaround for the paper, and while she “would have preferred to stay to help us get through this period … it just got to the point where it wasn’t possible.”

Lewis’ approach is to diversify into three newsrooms — one for news, one for opinion, and a “third newsroom” which is focused on “service and social media journalism” and targets people who aren’t typically in the habit of consuming news via an outlet like the Post, according to Vanity Fair.

Whether or not this is a winnable strategy for the Post, it’s clear something needs to be done. Yet, from the Vanity Fair account of Lewis’ meeting with the newsroom, the identity politics contingent among the WaPo rank-and-file didn’t seem to get the urgency of the moment, leading to chaos at a Monday meeting following Buzbee’s departure.

Do you read The Washington Post?

Take one unnamed reporter, who complained about the number of Caucasian males the British Lewis has brought in to lead the turnaround.

“Everyone was pretty shocked with your email last night,” the reporter said, adding, “The most cynical interpretation sort of feels like you chose two of your buddies to come in and help run the Post, and we now have four white men running three newsrooms.”

Replacing Buzbee will be interim executive editor Matt Murray, previously with The Wall Street Journal and, yes, a white dude. As for the short notice, Lewis said that the news of Buzbee’s departure “began to leak out, which is why we had to scramble last night” to get ahead of it. (Klein noted that the Times was working on a story about Buzbee’s resignation and got their story up before the Post posted a message about her “resignation.”)

Lewis is supposedly a devotee to the concept of diversity, which he admits is “not great” at the top ranks of the newsroom. However, it’s funny how a meritocracy reasserts itself when an institution finds itself in dire straits.

When one reporter asked Lewis if “any women or people of color were interviewed and seriously considered for either of these positions” — which prompted applause from the gathered reporters — he said that the search to replace Buzbee “was an iterative, messy process, which I don’t want to go into the details of.”


WaPo Tries Pitting Donald Against Melania, Completely Misses One Huge Problem

However, the WaPo reporters did want details, which led to some uncomfortable truths from Lewis.

When one reporter asked Lewis if he was purposely bringing in people from outside the Post to transform the culture there, he was blunt: “We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore. So I’ve had to take decisive, urgent action to set us on a different path, sourcing talent that I have worked with that are the best of the best.”

As for the “third newsroom” concept, one reporter allegedly asked this on-the-nose question: “Don’t we need our brilliant social journalists and service journalists as embedded in our core product to make sure that people are actually reading the thing that’s out at the center of the mission of the Washington Post?”

“You haven’t done it,” Lewis shot back. “I’ve listened to the platitudes. Honestly, it’s just not happening.”

“So we’re just going to give up on … ” the reporter started.

“No, I want you to be inspired,” Lewis said. “It’s the most important thing: untapped audiences. If what I cause to happen is you all get it, great, but the game is up.

“I’m setting up a structure where I’m not going to be guessing.”

Well, that’s certainly one way to do it. And it’s a way that didn’t make the employees of a paper that’s made Taylor Lorenz a homeowner happy.

“The fact that Will Lewis keeps going to his network rather than plucking Washington Post leadership implies that he finds everyone lacking, and I think that’s kind of the most disturbing thing,” one staffer told Vanity Fair.

“I don’t think [Buzbee] deserved to go out this way,” another said, adding that those on the paper “don’t feel good about the fact that the first female executive editor of The Washington Post got a one paragraph goodbye note at 8:30 p.m. on a Sunday, and that she’s being replaced by more white men we don’t know.”

As opposed to what? The “diverse” newsroom that was hemorrhaging money like it had taken a fusillade of .50 caliber bullets in its bank account? This is the kind of piffle that only works when you’re making cash, not bleeding it.

The Post has long since ceased to function as anything more than a charity cause of Jeff Bezos, and Bezos is reportedly getting antsy. The old days of DEI hires are over, and people who will turn around the paper are back into fashion.

As it stands now, however, the paper is pretty close to darkness. Is democracy dying? Well, it’s worth noting that, just three days before Buzbee left the paper, the de facto leader of America’s political opposition was convicted on 34 flimsy felony counts in a Manhattan courtroom. The irony feels almost a little too perfect.

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:


“We don’t even know if an election will be held in 2024.” Those 12 words have been stuck in my head since I first read them. 


Former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn recently made that comment to Floyd Brown, founder of The Western Journal. 


And if the leftists and the elites get their way, that’s exactly what will happen — no real election, no real choice for the Electoral College, and no real say for the American people. 


The Western Journal is fighting to keep that from happening, but we can’t do it alone.


We work tirelessly to expose the lying leftist media and the corrupt America-hating elites.


But Big Tech’s stranglehold is now so tight that without help from you, we will not be able to continue the fight. 


The 2024 election is literally the most important election for every living American. We have to unite and fight for our country, otherwise we will lose it. And if we lose the America we love in 2024, we’ll lose it for good. Can we count on you to help? 


With you we will be able to field journalists, do more investigative work, expose more corruption, and get desperately needed trStephen A. Smith Lights Up Analyst Over WNBA Delusion, Caitlin Clark Jealousy – ‘Who Talks About the WNBA?!’uth to millions of Americans. 


We can do this only with your help. Please don’t wait one minute. Donate right now.


Thank you for reading,

Josh Manning

Deputy Managing Editor


P.S. Please stand with us today.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).


Morristown, New Jersey


Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

Source link