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 TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE

Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Debruyne Says Global Response Platform Needed; Navarro Saw It Coming The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump gets new press secretary in latest shake-up 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 UnTired of worrying about the pandemic? There's always Pyongyang Overnight Defense: Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting coronavirus numbers | Hospital ship arrives in NY | Marines pause sending new recruits to boot camp | Defense bill work delayed North Korea: 'Reckless remarks' by Pompeo show US doesn't want nuclear talks 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 gives 0M to Feeding America amid coronavirus pandemic Fired Amazon striker demands Bezos protect workers in open letter Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks 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.