Wall Street Journal criticized for Trump letter pushing election lie

<span>Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
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The Wall Street Journal has been criticized after it published a letter by Donald Trump in which the former president continued to push his false claim that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged”.

The former president’s letter, written in response to a WSJ editorial about voting law in Pennsylvania, claims, wrongly, that “the election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven’t figured out”.

Related: How a secretive conservative group influenced ‘populist’ Trump’s tax cuts

The 600-word letter contains a bullet-point list of disproved claims – many of which have been debunked by WSJ reporters – which Trump claims show there was voter fraud. There was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, as several independent and partisan reviews have confirmed.

Several WSJ reporters were unhappy with the publication of the letter, CNN reported, which comes after what had been a successful few weeks for the WSJ, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The newspaper’s Facebook Files investigation revealed, through internal documents, how high-profile users were not subject to the same standards as regular users, and that Facebook was aware that Instagram, which it owns, is toxic for teenage girls.

The decision to publish Trump’s spurious letter threatens to undermine that journalism, despite a newspaper’s editorial board typically being separate from the newsroom.

Trump remains banned from Twitter and Facebook, and has been reduced to sending daily emails to supporters to make his voice heard. The WSJ’s publication of the letter was swiftly criticized in the media world.

“I think it’s very disappointing that our opinion section continues to publish misinformation that our news side works so hard to debunk,” an unnamed WSJ reporter told CNN. “They should hold themselves to the same standards we do!”

Bill Grueskin, a Columbia University School of Journalism professor who served as deputy managing editor of the Journal, told the Washington Post that letters to the editor are often used as a place for readers to express dissatisfaction with a newspaper’s coverage.

“That’s generally fine, but if someone is going to spout a bunch of falsehoods, the editor usually feels an obligation to trim those out, or to publish a contemporaneous response. The Wall Street Journal editorial page chose not to do that in this case,” Grueskin said.

Other journalists weighed in on Twitter.

“Most newspapers don’t allow op-ed writers to just make up nonsense lies. Apparently the Wall Street Journal is not among them,” SV Dáte, a HuffPost White House correspondent, wrote.

Matt Fuller, who covers politics for the Daily Beast, posted: “Newspapers don’t exist so that powerful people can publish whatever lies they want. In fact, that may be one of the very opposite reasons newspapers exist.”

The WSJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.