To many, The Washington Post is thought to be an objective observer of the political landscape just as the New York Times is dubbed “The Paper of Record,” but recent e-mails obtained through FOIA tell a completely different story. The American Center for Law and Justice received numerous emails regarding the June 27, 2016 tarmac meeting in Phoenix, AZ through a FOIA requests that were initially stonewalled by the FBI under the directorship of James Comey. The same FOIA request was also stonewalled by the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice under the leadership of Loretta Lynch. Through litigation in federal court, the ACLJ was able to obtain the records pertaining to the “tarmac meeting” listed under the FOIA request; records that include correspondence showing the DOJ guiding the Washington Post and the New York Times on what to publish.
The FOIA request offers a less than unique look into how these two publications address stories within the political theatre. A reporter for the Washington Post actually told the DOJ outright, “I’m hoping I can put it to rest” with regard to the breaking story of AG Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton, the husband of her investigatory target. The DOJ also requested specific changes to the story the Washington Post was going to run in order to paint AG Loretta Lynch in a better light; the Post was quick to edit before publishing. One New York Times reporter told the DOJ they were being forced to cover the story stating they were being “pressed into service.”
As the story was breaking, correspondence showed the DOJ Press Officials stating they “also talked to the ABC producer, who noted they aren’t interested even if Fox runs with it.” Further email chains show the DOJ Press Officials and AG Loretta Lynch trading messages regarding the coverage in regards to their efforts to cover up or decrease the damage brought about by the tarmac meeting.
This is particularly troublesome due to the timelines and how the situation progressed. Instead of running with a story that dominated the public discourse, they colluded with the DOJ to cover up the story as much as possible. The Washington Post and the New York Times attempted to keep the story from public view, which failed. It seems that when the main stream media failed to cover up the story, both publications decided to ignore it.