It’s not the best of times at the Wall Street Journal. Not long after a painful overhaul that brought layoffs and buyouts, Editor in Chief Gerard Baker recently faced a rebellion by his own staffers, who feared that the paper was going soft in its coverage of President Trump. Trump’s self-declared war on the media has pushed journalists everywhere to worry that joining the battle will cost them their objectivity, while adhering to that standard will let the President roll right over them.
At the Journal this dilemma has been exacerbated by fears that the editorial section’s famed conservatism was leaching into the news coverage. In addition, many news staffers reject Baker’s position that the press should be leery of using the term “lie” to describe every falsehood uttered by Trump, because the term “implies a deliberate intent to mislead,” The subtext of this dispute is that Baker is himself a convert to conservatism, and the paper’s parent company is controlled by Rupert Murdoch. By contrast, a widely cited UCLA study rated the Journal’s news coverage as well left of center.