Hey NewsGuard, Will You Still Keep WashPost’s 100/100 Score After Lorenz Scandal?

June 8th, 2022 12:16 PM

The Washington Post was caught stealth-editing a dishonest attack-the-right story by its in-house cry-bully Taylor Lorenz, yet the publication still enjoys a perfect score by leftist news ratings firm NewsGuard.

NewsGuard currently rates The Post with a stellar “100/100” score, and claims the leftist paper “adheres to all nine of NewsGuard’s standards on credibility and transparency.” The score hasn’t budged since news broke that Lorenz falsely claimed she contacted two YouTube content creators (ThatUmbrellaGuy and LegalBytes) for comment in a smear piece smacking them for making money from their YouTube coverage of the infamous court trial between actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard. Both YouTube influencers vehemently disputed Lorenz’s claim that she contacted them for comment before publication, but The Post stealth-edited the article in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that Lorenz didn’t reach out to them, while claiming she had. Fox News Digital media reporter Joseph Wulfsohn originally reported on the stealth-edit. [Emphasis added.]

Editors treated the story with a bevy of sporadic updates and edits for the purpose of damage control. The latest update was a big, fat “Editor’s Note” plastered at the top of Lorenz’s piece, admitting that editors originally edited the story without notation following Fox News’s request for comment:

The first published version of this story stated incorrectly that Internet influencers Alyte Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy had been contacted for comment before publication. In fact, only Mazeika was asked, via Instagram. After the story was published, The Post continued to seek comment from Mazeika via social media and queried ThatUmbrellaGuy for the first time. During that process, The Post removed the incorrect statement from the story but did not note its removal, a violation of our corrections policy. The story has been updated to note that Mazeika declined to comment for this story and ThatUmbrellaGuy could not be reached for comment. A previous version of this story also inaccurately attributed a quote to Adam Waldman, a lawyer for Johnny Depp. The quote described how he contacted some Internet influencers and has been removed.

But Mazeika in a tweet disputed the content in the “Editor’s Note:” 

What?! @washingtonpost I will say this AGAIN. I was not reached out to by @TaylorLorenz for comment until after my tweet below. She reached out to me by IG DM AFTER she did on Twitter. Both DMs were sent to me AFTER I called her out here. Please stop lying and take the L.

Fox News reported that it "obtained a screenshot of Lorenz's direct message on Instagram to Mazeika with a time stamp showing the columnist reached out after her story was published."

Meanwhile, The Post still boasts green marks on a number of NewsGuard’s phony journalistic criteria. Here’s a few that The Post passed with flying colors, according to NewsGuard’s logic:

  1. “Does not repeatedly publish false content.”
  2. “Gathers and presents information responsibly.”
  3. “Regularly corrects and clarifies errors.”

Talk about embarrassing. 

But NewsGuard propping up leftist publications as paragons of journalistic virtue is par for the course. An MRC study last year found that outlets rated “left” or “lean left” by AllSides received an average NewsGuard score of 93/100. Sites considered “right” or “lean right” by AllSides had an average NewsGuard rating of 66/100.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski at matt.skibinski@newsguardtech.com and demand that his firm downgrade The Washington Post’s grade because of Lorenz’s shoddy reporting and its shady editorial practices.

MRC Associate Editor Nicholas Fondacaro contributed to this report.