The Washington Post says that a photo of its reporters unwinding after a long day of impeachment proceedings is being misconstrued by Trump White House officials and allies.
Donald Trump Jr., who regularly attacks the press, claimed that the photo showed reporter Rachael Bade “celebrating yesterday’s farce.”
In an interview on Thursday with CNN Business that was scheduled long before the controversy popped up on social media, Washington Post editor Marty Baron said Bade’s tweet containing the photo was “ill-considered.”
But Trump’s claims are bogus. “What they were doing is that they were celebrating being able to go off the clock after a long day of covering impeachment. And that’s what that’s what she intended to convey,” Baron said. “It’s unfortunate that this has been distorted into celebrating impeachment.”
Bade, who doubles as a CNN political analyst, tweeted on Wednesday night “Merry Impeachmas from the WaPo team!” and showed several of her colleagues smiling and having drinks, chips and guacamole after 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the end of a marathon day that ended with Trump being impeached by the House of Representatives.
At midnight she deleted the post because, she said, it was “being misinterpreted by some as an endorsement of some kind. To be absolutely clear, we at the Post are merely glad we are getting a break for the holidays after a long 3 months.”
Jared Holt of Right Wing Watch defended the group of reporters in an overnight tweet: “Some right-wing folks on here are gunning after some WaPo reporters for tweeting ‘Merry Impeachmas’ as if that wasn’t trending on Twitter earlier this week and didn’t inspire numerous articles already.”
That’s true – “Merry Impeachmas” became a meme earlier in the month. But Grisham criticized Holt, too, saying “some reporters will circle the wagons & defend their colleagues at all costs.”
Bad-faith attacks have been a steady feature of the Trump era. In this case, the complaints weren’t about anything the Post reported – just about the tweet.
On Thursday morning, long after Bade deleted her tweet, Trump Jr. chimed in by mocking the photo, claiming the media is in league with the Democratic Party, and saying “you can’t trust a thing these clowns say.” Fox News decided Bade’s tweet merited discussion time on one of its afternoon programs.
In reality, Baron said, the reporting team had a very long day, and the photo showed when, “finally, they were able to relax.”
When asked about Trump Jr’s reaction, Baron said “people will use whatever opportunity they have to attack us.”
He pointed out that “these attacks have been going on for years now” and called the Post a “very convenient target.”
“We’re not just a target for people on the right, but also sometimes for people on the left as well,” he said. “I think it’s important to remember that. People find it convenient to attack us because they want people to just believe them and not believe any independent arbiter of facts.”