By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion section published a lengthy letter to the editor from Donald Trump on Wednesday that was full of the former US president’s debunked claims and conspiratorial falsehoods about the election he lost last year.
The Journal’s opinion operation is separate from the newsroom and sometimes downright oppositional. But both are part of Rupert Murdoch’s cherished newspaper, which is a key part of the News Corp portfolio.
Several Journal reporters grumbled about the letter after it came out on Wednesday, but none were surprised it was published, given the Opinion section’s right-wing and contrarian bent.
“I think it’s very disappointing that our opinion section continues to publish misinformation that our news side works so hard to debunk,” one of the reporters said. “They should hold themselves to the same standards we do!”
Similar disputes over differing standards have broken out in the past between the news and opinion camps.
On Wednesday, some Journal newsroom staffers hinted at their dissatisfaction through retweets that were critical of the Trump letter. At least one reporter retweeted The Daily Beast’s Matt Fuller, who wrote, “Newspapers don’t exist so that powerful people can publish whatever lies they want. In fact, that may be one of the very opposite reasons newspapers exist.”
So what was the justification for publishing the letter to the editor? No comment, thus far. Jeremy Barr of the Washington Post inquired, but “Steve Severinghaus, a spokesman for the Journal, declined to comment about the decision to publish the letter. When asked specifically about the newspaper’s standards for publishing a letter, he did not respond.”
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