Several journalists have condemned The Wall Street Journal for publishing an op-ed by former President Donald Trump peddling lies about the veracity of the 2020 presidential election — including some journalists at the newspaper itself, who have worked diligently to fact-check the former president in their own work.
Trump’s letter, which was published on Wednesday in response to an opinion piece written by the Journal’s editorial board, contained numerous falsehoods about the 2020 election. But the newspaper allowed his missive to be printed nonetheless, essentially lending credence to the former president’s misleading commentary and flat-out lies.
“The election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven’t figured out,” Trump wrote in his opinion piece, directed toward the Journal itself.
Much of the piece focused specifically on the election outcome in Pennsylvania, with Trump placing blame on former Attorney General William Barr for his loss, claiming that he ordered a U.S. attorney to “stand down and not investigate election irregularities” in the state. Barr has denied doing this, pointing out that he told federal attorneys across the country that they could pursue claims of fraud just days after the election took place.
The op-ed drew the ire of journalists, many of whom said that granting the former president a platform to promote his erroneous claims was dangerous.
“Most newspapers don’t allow op-ed writers to just make up nonsense lies. Apparently the Wall Street Journal is not among them,” wrote HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte.
Trump’s op-ed “is full of absolute lies – from the first bullet point down,” opined Jonathan Tamari, national politics writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Conservative columnist Charlie Sykes also chastised The Wall Street Journal for its decision, saying, “You know, the WSJ was not obligated to run this farrago of lies. That was a choice.”
Noah Bookbinder, president of the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, explained how allowing Trump to proselytize his lies in a paper with the reach of the Journal was a dire miscalculation, one that could carry with it heavy consequences:
Publishing a letter from Donald Trump filled with clearly false and utterly unsupported claims that the 2020 election was beset by widespread fraud is dangerous. Trump’s false claims already helped incite violence, and this could encourage more.
The Wall Street Journal has so far declined to comment on why it chose to publish Trump’s rant.
But journalists from within the Journal, who work separately from the opinion department, were also critical of the department’s decision. Speaking anonymously about the issue, one reporter noted that much of their work correcting the record and publishing the truth was being undone.
“I think it’s very disappointing that our opinion section continues to publish misinformation that our news side works so hard to debunk,” that reporter said, according to CNN. “They should hold themselves to the same standards we do!”
Another reporter from the Journal didn’t expressly criticize the organization, but shared a tweet disparaging the publication from The Daily Beast’s Matt Fuller, stating that “newspapers don’t exist so that powerful people can publish whatever lies they want.”