More reporters are coming forward with public complaints over baseless attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller from publications owned by right-wing billionaire Rupert Murdoch.
Reporters at the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal spoke to Vanity Fair about the newspaper's declining credibility one day after staff at the Murdoch-owned Fox News spoke to CNN to air similar gripes.
"The editorial page has been doing crazy shit for a long time,” a former long-serving Wall Street Journal editor told Joe Pompeo. “It does feel like this is a different level of crazy."
The problem arises from The Journal defending President Donald Trump on the editorial page in ways that kneecaps the journalism of reporters investigating the White House.
“We could disprove half the stuff” the opinion writers “are saying if they just read our own reporting," one Journal reporter explained. "It’s like living in some alternate universe."
Staff at Fox News voiced similar complaints.
“It is another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way,” one senior Fox employee told CNN's Oliver Darcy. “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”
The awkwardness of the situation was on full display during a Twitter question posed to Journal security reporter Shane Harris.
@shaneharris Again - then why is your editorial board putting out garbage editorials saying the opposite?— Miss Behavior (@Miss Behavior)1509135816.0
@shaneharris I know - and I wasn't blaming you. It just seems odd for both things to be running a day apart.— Miss Behavior (@Miss Behavior)1509137229.0
The attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller were viewed as particularly destructive to credibility.
One Fox News employee said the attacks on Mueller's credibility, “does the viewer a huge disservice and further divides the country.”
It also seems to be doing a huge disservice to the Murdoch companies. Prominent reporters Adam Entous and Devlin Barrett both left the Journal, as did editors David Enrich and Rebecca Blumenstein.
Twitter has been the prominent vehicle for the discussion on what is happening.
This sort of approach, attacking @NKingofDC, is only gonna continue the exodus of top-flight reporters from the WSJ https://t.co/8q3K0C6uPf— Jonathan Martin (@Jonathan Martin)1509545821.0
The Journal has claimed that accuracy is not the point of the editorial page, a contention that will likely only increase the whispers of turmoil.
https://t.co/B9kYb5p8jW— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJ Editorial Page)1509481645.0
Likewise, Fox News is also pursuing a defense of Trump that undermines credibility.
“It’s an embarrassment,” a Fox News source told CNN. “Frankly, there are shows on our network that are backing the President at all costs, and it’s that short term strategy that undermines the good work being done by others.”