The New York Times is up in arms over the news that Trump allies have been archiving media firefighters’ embarrassing and problematic tweets. It seems that we’re supposed to feel bad for these people for being at risk of having to swallow their own medicine.

Employees at the Washington Post have reportedly also been targeted for this latest round of the “WAR ON THE PRESS,” but for what it’s worth, WaPo media critic Erik Wemple doesn’t appear to have much sympathy for any of the journos who’ve been flipping out about this.

Wemple writes:

And just what would this “damaging information” be? Illicitly obtained DMs? Gossip about their sexual habits? HIPAA-protected information?

Nope. “Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations.” Bolding added to note that this “damaging information” is available not only to a “loose network of conservative operatives” but also to the loose network of everyone with access to the Internet.

[…] There’s an incompatibility in the Times story and the Sulzberger memo: On one hand, there’s an attempt to tar the motivations of the “loose network of conservative operatives”; on the other, there’s a stubborn admission that they have brought actionable information to public attention. For decades now, representatives of the mainstream media have answered conservative critiques by imploring: Judge us by the work we produce, not by the fact that more than 90 percent of us are liberal/Democratic. Mainstreamers cannot have it both ways. Cut the idle and unverifiable talk about motivations. If the tweets presented by the “loose network of conservative operatives” are racist or anti-Semitic or otherwise problematic, take action. If they’re nonsensical distractions, ignore them.

In the meantime, the “loose network of conservative operatives” must be celebrating right about now, having triggered not only an extensive scolding in the Times, but also an eight-paragraph memo from its publisher.


We don’t often find ourselves in agreement with Erik Wemple, but on this, he’s absolutely right.



Seth Mandel shreds the NYT in must-read thread over their meltdown on old embarrassing tweets from journos