The Downfall of the Washington Post

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11 months ago

Co-published on Publish0x.

There was a time when The Washington Post held a lot of prestige and was the face of investigative journalism. In June 1972, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward investigated the burglary of the DNC headquarters building called Watergate. Their findings and assembling of facts uncovered the dirty tricks the Richard Nixon re-election committee used against his political opponents and ultimately led to the first presidential resignation in United States history.

Fast forward to present day and WaPo is utterly unrecognizable from its former self. It went from an organization of diligent, respectable reporters to that of whiny lunatics who pose as journalists. Taylor Lorenz and Felicia Somnez, in particular, are the face of this lunacy.

I actually mentioned Lorenz when I covered the aftermath of the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial. After the jury handed down the verdict, Lorenz published an article that accused independent content creators for chasing clout throughout the trial. Not only was her claim rashly presumptuous and an ad hominem attack, but she also got the facts wrong. She claimed that Legal Bytes (Alyte Mazeika) "pivoted" her content to cover Depp v. Heard, but she covered the Rittenhouse trial months ago with other lawyers. Her article also alleged that Legal Bytes and another content creator, TheUmbrellaGuy, did not respond to requests for comment. However, both Legal Bytes and TheUmbrellaGuy proved Lorenz did not reach out to them and her article was sloppily edited several times going by the archive history.

This was just one of multiple example of her unprofessional behavior. Back in February 2021, she falsely accused Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreesse for saying "retarded" during a discussion about the WallStreetBets/Gamestop movement. In April 2022, she set her sights on a Twitter user by the name of Libs of TikTok because the user was rapidly gaining followers. Lorenz published a piece that accused the account for "spreading anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment" and fueling outrage among the right wing. Writing an opinion piece is perfectly fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but Lorenz did not stop there. In her article, she doxxed Libs of TikTok, revealing the user's name, occupation, and past activities. Making matters worse, she went as far as to visit one of Libs of TikTok's relatives to which the user described as harassment.

Lorenz's actions drew a lot of criticism, including (actual) journalist Glenn Greenwald. He pointed out at Lorenz's excessive obsession over a conservative Twitter account and her hypocrisy over doxxing.

I can keep going, but eventually Lorenz's unprofessionalism caught up to her. Per the New York Timesshe has been moved from the features staff to the technology team and senior managing editor, Cameron Barr, will review all of her articles before publication. Despite her claims that she was not demoted, her new position is practically a downgrade and WaPo has put her on a shorter leash.

As for Felicia Somnez, she engaged in a week-long public meltdown that ultimately got her fired from WaPo. What kicked it all off? When her (ex-)colleague, David Weigel, retweeted a joke.

Sonmez heavily criticized Weigel's retweet to which he retracted it with an apology. In addition, WaPo suspended him for a month without pay. However, that was not enough for Sonmez as she continued to complain on social media. Her (ex-)colleagues told her she went too far and asked her to stop, but she continued to double-down. She resorted to ad hominem attacks by pointing out that they are white and among the highest-paid employees.

Ultimately, her behavior got her in trouble with WaPo's leadership and the organization terminated her position "for misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity". The kerfuffle garnered a lot of attention, including that of Bill Maher who made a parody of WaPo's slogan which perfectly describes the organization's current state: Democracy dies in dumbness.

An organization that once employed scrupulous, investigative journalists, WaPo has devolved from a respectable organization into, as Maher described, an "unlicensed daycare center". It is quite surreal to witness such a large downfall. Whether it's the fault of social media or shoddy hiring practices, WaPo has a lot of work cut out for it to get its reputation back. Will it put in the work? Well...

This is WaPo's Michelle Singletary and she's telling Americans to shut up about inflation.

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11 months ago