Wall Street Journal rebels demand comment changes
HUNDREDS of journalists at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal have mounted an attack on their newspaper’s opinion pages, accusing editors and contributors of undermining readers’ trust with misinformation and basic errors on topics including coronavirus and racism.
In what will be viewed as the latest escalation of the so-called culture wars engulfing American institutions, about 300 reporters, editors, video journalists and technical staff have signed a letter to managers at parent company Dow Jones to demand change.
In a copy of the letter seen by The
Daily Telegraph, they accuse the Journal’s opinion pages of a “lack of factchecking and transparency” and a “disregard for evidence”.
The letter, due to be sent to Dow Jones chief executive Almar Latour yesterday, said: “Many readers already cannot tell the difference between reporting and opinion. And from those who know of the divide, reporters nonetheless face questions about the
Journal’s accuracy and fairness because of errors published in opinion.”
The signatories singled out an article by Mike Pence, the US vice-president, headlined “There isn’t a coronavirus ‘second wave’ ”, which they said was contradicted by prior reporting in the
Journal’s own news pages.
A widely read article headlined “The myth of systemic police racism” published a week after George Floyd was killed, and as Black Lives Matter protests gathered momentum, “propelled misinformation”, the letter added.
The Journal’s “employees of colour spoke out about the pain this opinion piece caused them” after it “drew erroneous conclusions from the underlying data”, Mr Latour was told.
In their letter Journal staff proposed a series of changes they said would make the distinction between news and opinion clearer, including prominent labelling.
The signatories added: “We also propose that WSJ journalists should not be reprimanded for writing about errors published in opinion.”
The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Almar Latour, chief of Wall Street Journal parent company Dow Jones, has been sent a letter by angry journalists at the title