Retiring Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron did a round of atta-boy interviews with liberal media outlets. “A legend stepping down but not stepping away,” gushed Brian Stelter on Sunday’s Reliable Sources. “I peppered him with some questions,” said Stelter, but none of them were truly challenging.
Stelter announced “I asked Baron to debunk some misconceptions about The Washington Post.” The answer was hilarious. First, Baron said it’s wrong to think “we’re all sort of elitists, that we went to elite colleges…that’s a myth… We have people who’ve been combat veterans. We have people who grew up in evangelical homes. We have people who grew up on family farms, and small rural communities, you name it.”
Then he tried to claim they’re nonpartisan!
Outgoing top @WashingtonPost editor Marty Baron insists to @BrianStelter WP not “ideologically attached” to the Democratic party. “That’s not true. We are completely independent. We held the Obama administration to account. We fully expect to hold the Biden admin to account.” pic.twitter.com/320PH9cSoT
— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker) February 28, 2021
There’s also this notion that we’re somehow ideologically attached to a party, the Democratic Party, and that’s not true. We are completely independent. We held the Obama administration to account. We fully expect to hold the Biden administration to account. And we’re just — we’re just not a branch of any of any party. The Trump administration tried to describe us as the opposition party. But they did that for their own political purposes not because that reflected reality.
That’s ridiculous. Stelter should asked to name which of his reporters voted for Trump. But let’s guess there would have been two minutes of awkward silence. Because the Post is reported by Democrats, for Democrats.
Baron also granted an interview to the PBS NewsHour, where he blamed the public for the media’s problems: “So many people now are going to sources of information, or so-called information, that affirms their preexisting point of view. They’re looking to be affirmed, and not necessarily to be informed.”
He then isolated the hardest core of Trump fans: “Many people are looking for media outlets that just tell them what they think is absolutely true. So, if they think the election was stolen, they’re looking for a media outlet that will tell them the election was stolen, even if the election was not stolen.”
Baron could have said “If they think the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, they’re looking for a media outlet that will tell them what they think is absolutely true….And we were that media outlet.”
He made a big deal out of how The Post now has a “managing editor for diversity and inclusion,” and 12 reporters to report on racial-justice issues…which might sound like “information that affirms their pre-existing point of view.” There is no interest in ideological diversity. They’re doubling down on “justice.”
No interest in ideological diversity. Outgoing @WashingtonPost top editor Marty Baron: “Important journalists of color be in the most-senior positions,” so “we named ME for diversity and inclusion” and “dedicated a dozen positions to cover…race, ethnicity and identity” #PBSNews pic.twitter.com/De1KNSfJ2q
— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker) February 27, 2021
Unlike Stelter, Woodruff asked about declining trust in the media, and then this: “we are seeing a number of younger journalists will of color saying that they increasingly believe their work as a journalist needs to be infused with the fight for justice, which raises the question, how much can journalists advocate for a cause, no matter how good the cause is, and still do credible reporting?”
Baron said “We should cover race. We should cover injustice…we do that through reporting, at least on the news side. Obviously, we have an opinion side, and they express their opinions. But that’s entirely separate from our news department, which I run.” Or ran.
Anyone who reads the Post — on paper or online — knows it’s very hard to discern what’s “news” and what’s “opinion.”