White House officials attack Washington Post over 'media bias'

The White House is ramping up its attacks on The Washington Post for what it calls unfair coverage of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE

Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamMelania Trump's spokeswoman slams 'inappropriate and insensitive comments' about Barron Trump Melania Trump is 'behind-the-scenes' but 'unbelievably influential': book East Wing rips book saying Melania Trump renegotiated prenup before moving to White House MORE and Hogan Gidley, the White House press secretary and deputy press secretary, respectively, on Thursday penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner criticizing the Post for a Sept. 1 article that described “what some Trump advisers and allies characterize as a lost summer defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities.”  

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Grisham and Gidley wrote that the Post refused to cite the majority of Trump’s accomplishments from a list of 26 that was provided by the White House, and that writers Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker “pushed their own personal political narrative that President Trump had a ‘lost summer’ of squandered opportunities and few accomplishments.”

The White House officials argued that the opposite is true.

The Post article notes that White House officials offered up a list of over two-dozen accomplishments from summer 2019, but goes on to report that many of Trump’s advisers and allies privately described it as a “period of missed opportunity and self-sabotage.”

Grisham and Gidley pointed to the president’s historic trip to the DMZ between North Korea and South Korea, his agreement in principle with Japan on trade, and the administration’s move to terminate the Flores agreement that set the rules for the detention of migrant children as examples of accomplishments that were not explicitly referenced by the Post. 

The Post story does mention Trump's June meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time Is Kim Yo Jong North Korea's bridge to the future? How the US could respond to Russia's support of the Taliban MORE as an accomplishment cited by the White House.  

“The truth is, Trump racked up many well-documented victories that directly benefited the American people at home and abroad,” Grisham and Gidley asserted. 

“Media bias comes in two forms. It plays a role in deciding what news is, and is not, covered, and also in deciding how that news is covered. In this instance, the Post's ‘reporters’ are guilty of both,” they wrote.

In a statement to The Hill, The Washington Post defended its reporting.

"Our story prominently noted the White House’s list of accomplishments and quoted a White House spokesman at length. It also reported the views of Republicans, both on the record and on background, some of whom are part of the administration and some who watch its performance from a distance," said Shani George, the Post's director of communications.

"Readers can judge for themselves whether our account fairly represented a variety of perspectives on the President’s summer," she added.

Trump often attacks the Post for what he views as unfair coverage, frequently calling it the “Amazon Washington Post” in reference to the paper’s owner, Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosJeff Bezos's wealth hits record high 1B How competition will make the new space race flourish Just because Democrats are paranoid about the election doesn't mean there aren't problems MORE, who is the founder and CEO of Amazon.

The White House opinion piece also attacked the Post over its own “embarrassing moments,” pointing for instance to a freelance article that had to be corrected for 15 errors.

The White House op-ed — titled “The Washington Post’s lost summer,” to mimic the publication’s original article describing Trump’s summer — was published Thursday and promoted by the White House Friday morning.

Grisham and Gidley also called out The New York Times and cable news networks in the op-ed for what the administration officials described as biased news coverage. Trump regularly refers to reports by the Times, CNN and other outlets as "fake news."

The White House earlier this week mocked the Post’s “lost summer” article on Twitter, sharing a video that branded the piece “fake news.”

--Updated at 12:27 p.m.