WashPost Adds Line ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’ to Top of Home Page; Mockery Ensues

After having been teased on their Snapchat account, The Washington Post made clear its concerns on Tuesday about the future of the country under the Trump administration by adding the slogan “Democracy dies in darkness” to the top of their website below The Washington Post logo.

While some in the establishment media loved it and found it to be serious, others swiftly began lampooning it and substituting “Democracy dies in darkness” with what they think The Post’s slogan should be.

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The slogan first arose on the paper’s Snapchat page and CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter noted this at the top of his newsletter last week:

Take a look at the top of the Washington Post's section on Snapchat: The words "DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS" are featured right underneath the Post logo. A new rallying cry for real journalism in the age of "fake news?"

A tipster pointed it out on Friday, and Kris Coratti, a spokeswoman for the paper, confirmed that we're going to be seeing more of this slogan. Jeff Bezos used the phrase at a Post event last year.

Coratti attempted to throw cold water on the idea of it being a hastily-made mission statement, explaining that it’s “actually something we've said internally for a long time.”

The Post spokesperson hinted that adding “Democracy dies in darkness” elsewhere would be a possibility and also provided a rationale for it: “We thought it would be a good, concise value statement that conveys who we are to the many millions of readers who have come to us for the first time over the last year.”

While some like The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins applauded the liberal newspaper, others found it to be a bridge too far and one worthy of lambasting. Here are a few responses: 

As NewsBusters associate editor Scott Whitlock hinted, one has to wonder if The Washington Post was channeling Star Wars character Senator Padme Amidala when she said this during Revenge of the Sith.

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UPDATE, 1:48 p.m. Eastern: The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reached out to The Washington Post for comment about this motto and spokeswoman Molly Gannon reiterated the same talking points that Coratti had provided to Stelter last week. 

Gannon denied that this motto was added due to the arrival of Donald Trump into the White House, but York correctly saw this as nothing but spin: 

Take that as a no. Many readers will find it difficult to believe that the introduction of “democracy dies in darkness” was spurred by new tech platforms and not, say, by the presence of Donald Trump in the White House. Like other elite media organizations, the Post has displayed more than a little hysteria about Trump, and the sudden appearance of  “democracy dies in darkness” just feels like it might have some little something to do with the new administration and a new atmosphere in Washington.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center