The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page offered a feisty Boxing Day piece on Wednesday lashing into the Washington Post over coverage of President Trump’s Christmastime visit to the troops.
The Journal focused on this piece by the Post’s Philip Rucker and Paul Sonne, citing the opening two paragraphs and accusing it of needlessly working in unrelated Trump scandals into a piece that did not call for it.
“Can anyone reading those opening two sentences wonder why millions of Americans believe Donald Trump when he tells them that he can’t get a fair shake from the press?” the Journal asked. “The point isn’t to feel sorry for Mr. Trump, whose rhetorical attacks on the press have often been contemptible. The point is that such gratuitously negative reporting undermines the credibility of the press without Mr. Trump having to say a word.”
“These reporters can’t even begin a news account of a presidential visit to a military base without working in a compilation of Mr. Trump’s controversies, contradictions, and failings,” the paper added.
The offending paragraphs were quoted verbatim by the journal:
“President Trump touched down Wednesday in Iraq in his first visit to a conflict zone as commander in chief, a week after announcing a victory over the Islamic State that his own Pentagon and State Department days earlier said remained incomplete.
“The president’s visit to Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, which was shrouded in secrecy, follows months of public pressure for him to spend time with troops deployed to conflicts in the Middle East and punctuates the biggest week of turmoil the Pentagon has faced during his presidency.”
The story with the passages cited was subsequently picked up by several local news sites like The Oregonian but no longer appeared to exist in any version of the story on the Post’s own site Thursday morning. A look at the Internet Archive’s WayBackMachine reveals the piece was edited after publication, though the original language cited by the Journal appears to have been removed before being archived.
When asked for comment, reps for the Post told TheWrap: “The story was updated as news developed over the course of the day. It presented facts that were accurate and context that was clearly relevant, as evidenced by the president’s own comments to American troops regarding Syria and U.S. military commanders.
“As for President Trump making the trip after criticism for not previously visiting a war zone, the Wall Street Journal’s own news story makes the same point,” the statement added.
Wall Street Journal editorial chief James Taranto also did not immediately respond to an inquiry from TheWrap about the matter.