The Democrat journalists at The Washington Post must have disliked the appointment of Fred Ryan, who owner Jeff Bezos installed nine years ago. Ryan for chief of staff for former president Ronald Reagan after he left the White House, and is still chairman of the board of trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. On Monday, Ryan announced he will leave the paper with a kind of golden parachute.
Ryan sent a memo to Post staffers, chalking his exit up to leaving in order to help society with a new foundation that Bezos is bankrolling.
"I have a deep and growing concern about the decline in civility and respectful dialogue in our political process, on social media platforms and more broadly across our society," he wrote. Does he have zero sense of how Republicans feel about the civility of The Washington Post?
"As a result, I have decided to leave my position at The Post to lead the nonpartisan Center on Public Civility that is being launched by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute," Ryan continued. "Jeff is personally providing support for the planning and design phase of this new initiative and supports my decision to make this move."
Fox News media reporter Brian Flood reported:
A Post insider said Ryan's news came as a surprise, and it was possible Bezos pushed him out to bring in younger leadership.
"Hard to say whether he was pushed or jumped... We’re still hiring, still expanding. But Fred is 68. So… if I had to guess—and it’s strictly that—I’d say Bezos is getting impatient and wanted to get fresh blood," they said, adding the subscriber loss was substantial. "Pretty clear Bezos is worried."
Trump leaving office hasn't been good for business. According to its own report on Ryan's departure, The Post has lost about one-sixth of the 3 million digital subscribers it had in January 2021.
Bezos said in his own memo to staff Monday that his “longtime friend and colleague Patty Stonesifer”—a former Microsoft executive and the founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—“will join The Post today as interim CEO.”
On the leftist site Vanity Fair, Charlotte Klein reported Bezos is taking a more active role in running the paper now, and reporters seemed to like the new direction:
Stonesifer addressed staff Monday and was well received. She “totally won over the newsroom,” one reporter texted me after her remarks. “Someone asked her to name some stories she liked (very hard question!) and she masterfully named specific recent examples from section after section: opinion, national, metro, international, style, food.” Her answer got applause, they said.
Meanwhile, Ryan’s departure was apparently a welcome development. “Have not spoken with anyone today who isn’t happy about it,” another Post reporter said of his departure.