Friday, January 8, 2021

Block Newspaper Owner Accused Of 'Watering Down The Truth'

Reporters at the Toledo Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Friday that the right-wing views of the papers’ owners are hindering their ability to accurately cover President Donald Trump and Wednesday’s Capitol riot, reports The Wrap.

Blade executive editor Kurt Franck directed digital journalists on Wednesday not to describe the rioters as Trump supporters, TheWrap also reports. According to Blade journalists and a statement from the guild that represents them, their reporting on the event was edited without their permission to remove some references to Trump and leave room for ambiguity about how many of the demonstrators involved were his supporters.

Those who stormed the Capitol Wednesday came from a pro-Trump protest and were instructed by the president to direct their attention on the Capitol. Elected officials and journalists who were in a joint session of Congress at the time entered a lockdown amid the chaos, postponing the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win, and when it was over, four people were dead.

The stealthy editing “waters down the truth of what happened on Wednesday and is a disservice to our readers,” the union said in a statement, which added the changes “are also done in a political climate where some are attempting to create misinformation about who was responsible for, and participated in, Wednesday’s chaos.”

Reporter Jay Skebba told TheWrap that newsroom employees have “always known” that publisher John Robinson Block has “tried to manipulate stories to be more pro-Trump,” but this week marks the first time he can recall “where that mentality has seeped into management inside the Blade newsroom.”

A representative for Block Communications did not immediately return a request for comment.

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