The Wall Street Journal faces embarrassment with the publication of its President Donald Trump interview transcript by Politico, reports Pete Vernon of Columbia Journalism Review.
Vernon writes, “Given the criticisms that Editor in Chief Gerard Baker has faced for his paper’s coverage, and at a time when media transparency is more important than ever, the Journal’s decision to release only excerpts from the interview comes off as aloof. Why its editors made that decision is perhaps less surprising upon reading the full transcript, in which Baker talks with Ivanka Trump about parties in the Hamptons and spends part of his time in the Oval Office discussing, with Trump, Jordan Spieth’s final round at the British Open.
“This episode is especially problematic for the Journal because the outlet has faced accusations, some from within its own newsroom, that it has been too timid in its coverage of Trump, both during the campaign and after his election. Baker has appeared defensive and tone-deaf in his response to those criticisms, reportedly telling staffers at a newsroom town hall in February that those unhappy with the Journal’s approach to its Trump coverage should seek employment elsewhere.
“As the The New York Times and Washington Post have engaged in a scoop war fueled by leaks pouring out of DC, the Journal, outside of a few impressive pieces on Trump’s business entanglements, has largely failed to deliver game-changing scoops. Baker’s chumminess with the Trump family, as well as the failure of any journalists in the room to push back against false claims such as Trump’s assertion that ‘we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world,’ will undoubtedly fuel the perception that the Journal isn’t pushing as hard as some of its marquee competitors.”
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