Outgoing Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery appeared to suggest that his editors had “threatened” him for tweets he had written in the past that called out failures by media outlets to “properly cover and contextualize race.”
“Should go without saying: reporters of color shouldn’t have their jobs threatened for speaking out about mainstream media failures to properly cover and contextualize issues of race,” Lowery tweeted on Monday morning. “What’s the point of bringing diverse experiences and voices into a room only to muzzle them?”
Lowery — who recently left the Post to become a correspondent for a new “60 Minutes” Quibi show, “60 in 6” — tweeted this just hours after the Daily Beast reported that the Post’s top editors “clashed” with Lowery over a series of 2019 tweets in which he criticized a New York Times article about the Tea Party. Lowery pointed out that the article failed to include crucial context, namely the history of frequent and well-document racist statements about Barack Obama made by figures associated with the movement.
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“How do you write a 10 years later piece on the Tea Party and not mention – not once, not even in passing – the fact that it was essentially a hysterical grassroots tantrum about the fact that a black guy was president? Journalistic malpractice,” Lowery tweeted at the time, responding to a New York Times article about the Tea Party. The article was eventually updated to include that information.
According to the Daily Beast, Lowery was contacted by Executive Editor Marty Baron and Managing Editor Tracy Grant, who told him his tweets violated the paper’s social-media rules, and threatened to fire him for further violations.
Lowery did not respond to the Daily Beast’s multiple requests for comment, and he could not immediately be reached by The Wrap on Monday evening. A representative for the Post declined to comment.
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Last week, the Post was widely criticized after it briefly suspended another reporter, Felicia Sonmez, because she tweeted a link to a 2016 Daily Beast article that factually recounted the 2003 accusation of rape against Kobe Bryant. Sonmez was subjected to a coordinated harassment campaign and received death threats for sharing the article, which detailed information already on the public record. Despite this, she was was placed on leave, purportedly for violating the paper’s social-media policy. After a backlash, which included condemnation from the paper’s union, the Post reversed the decision the next day. But while the post conceded Sonmez hadn’t violated the paper’s rules, it still attempted to imply she behaved inappropriately, calling her tweets “ill timed.”
After being reinstated, Sonmez called on Baron to personally and publicly address how the paper handled the matter, as did the Washinton Post union; as of this writing Baron has not done so.