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WSJ tells anti-Trump reporters to find other employment

Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker told his reporters on Monday to quit the newspaper if they don't agree with his coverage of President Donald Trump.

Published: February 14, 2017, 10:22 am

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    He said if they want to adopt a more oppositional attitude, they could find other employment. Baker, a veteran British editor and columnist became editor in chief of the Journal in late 2012, and is a conservative.

    “It’s a little irritating when I read that we have been soft on Donald Trump,” he told his reporters and editors, a source at the newsroom meeting told The New York Times. Baker discussed the editorial direction of the paper during the meeting after rumours that the newsroom is in turmoil over the Trump coverage.

    Lefist reporters at the newspaper are unhappy about a memo to staff instructing reporters and editors to stop the use of “loaded” language in coverage of Trump’s Muslim immigration ban. The Trump coverage is clearly not leftwing enough for some.

    Baker defended his paper’s coverage as objective in the meeting, and suggested it is other outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post that have abandoned fair reporting standards and objectivity — not The Wall Street Journal. Baker said that anyone who claims the Journal has been soft on Trump is peddling “fake news”.

    “We can’t allow ourselves to be dragged into the political process, to be a protagonist in the political fight,” Baker said. He said that Americans already distrusted the news media, and that if The Journal covered Trump in an overly confrontational way, that distrust might increase.

    But New York Times columnist Jim Rutenberg defended Trump-bashing a the new “norm” of objectivity.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s Twitter now drives huge market reactions and because they come without warning, companies across the country are being forced to draft plans for “war rooms” to address a surprise presidential tweet.

    Moreover, other companies are actively exploring strategically placing ads on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CNN and “The O’Reilly Factor”, all programs and networks from which Trump has often appeared to draw inspiration for his tweets.

    “Every business and association in Washington is thinking about how they would respond to a tweet from Donald Trump,” Alex Conant, a partner at the communications firm Firehouse Strategies and a longtime Republican strategist, told the WSJ.

    “Just 32 percent of Americans say they trust the media . It’s an all-time low,” Ben Werdmuller, a director at Matter Venture’s in San Francisco says, outlining the changing publishing and media landscape in which both established outlets and social media compete.

    The boss of Apple, Tim Cook, is meanwhile calling for governments to launch a public information campaign to fight the scourge of “fake news”, which is “killing people’s minds”.

    He told the British Telegraph on Monday that news that do not support a corporate agenda “is a big problem in a lot of the world” and necessitates a crackdown by the authorities and technology firms. News reports promoting a nationalist angle gained huge traction on social media in the US during the election, something Cook has vowed to fight.

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