A sleazy British hack won’t be the Washington Post’s new managing editor after all

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William Lewis, a British editor, was appointed the Washington Post’s new CEO last November, and he officially started work at WaPo in January. For months, there wasn’t a ton of gossip about WaPo’s new CEO and the newsroom was pretty much operating as it always did. Then Prince Harry won a motion in his years-long lawsuit against News UK/The Sun – in Harry part of the lawsuit, he could cite names of journalists and editors who worked for Rupert Murdoch’s British media outlets. Harry can and will pinpoint the individual criminality of various editors and journalists who worked for Murdoch from 2000-2012, basically. One of those names is William Lewis, who worked as an editor for the Times of London.

When Harry won that motion, WaPo’s managing editor Sally Buzbee told Lewis that the paper planned to cover the case thoroughly, even if he was implicated. He leaned on her to try to influence coverage or convince her not to run any coverage. Then he announced his plan to significantly demote Buzbee and she quit. All hell broke loose. Lewis quickly announced the appointment of Robert Winnett to take over Buzbee’s position, although Winnett was only scheduled to take over post-election. Since Buzbee’s exit, the New York Times, the Guardian, assorted media watchdog groups and the Post itself have all done deeper dives into both Lewis and Winnett. What they’ve found is shocking – the criminality, the years-long claims of hacking and paying for illegally obtained information, the uncited political work and on and on. So far, Jeff Bezos – who owns the Post – has not fired anyone. But now Winnett is waving the white flag of surrender. He will no longer wash up on American shores.

Robert Winnett, the British journalist recently tapped to become editor of The Washington Post later this year, will not take the job and will remain at the Daily Telegraph in London, according to a company email sent to Post employees Friday morning.

The change of plans comes after days of turmoil surrounding The Post, triggered by the abrupt exit of executive editor Sally Buzbee on June 2 and questions about past journalistic practices of both Winnett and William Lewis, The Post’s CEO and publisher.

Lewis had announced Winnett’s hiring when Buzbee departed just 2½ weeks ago, along with plans for a “third newsroom” that would be tasked with attracting new audiences. Under the plan, former Wall Street Journal editor Matt Murray came on board to run news coverage until Winnett’s arrival, at which point Murray would have handed the reins to Winnett and run the new division in November after the election. Murray took over June 3 and was introduced to the newsroom; Winnett, who oversees news coverage at the Telegraph as a deputy editor, had not yet met The Post staff and was almost entirely unknown in American media circles.

Lewis and Winnett have faced accusations in recent days of using unethical newsgathering practices in Britain, where they previously worked together at the Telegraph and the Sunday Times — London newsrooms that sometimes operate by different rules than their American counterparts.

Telegraph editor Chris Evans announced in a memo to his staff Friday that Winnett had pulled out of The Post job and would remain his deputy at the London paper. “I’m pleased to report that Rob Winnett has decided to stay with us,” Evans wrote. “As you all know, he’s a talented chap and their loss is our gain.”

Lewis confirmed that Winnett had withdrawn from the position, relaying the news “with regret” in a note to Post staff Friday morning. “Rob has my greatest respect and is an incredibly talented editor and journalist,” Lewis wrote, adding that an outside firm would be used to conduct a “timely but thorough search” for a replacement.

[From WaPo]

LMAO. Robert Winnett didn’t want the American smoke. All of these British hacks think they can break into the American market and bring their unethical behavior and criminality over here and no one will say sh-t. They believe they will be embraced, or worse, they believe that they can recreate the British newsroom climate in America. My hope/prediction is that Bezos will eventually tell Lewis to go, although I expect it will be couched in “William Lewis is choosing to go of his own accord.” When will that happen… it depends on the pressure being exerted outside of the Post, honestly. The New York Times is full of Trump supporters, but they’ve done a good job of being loudly outraged by Lewis and Winnett’s hirings and their past activities in the British media. Journalists on both sides of the pond enjoy some blood-letting within their own ranks, it appears.

Puck did a hysterically outraged story about how WaPo journalists decided “to investigate both Lewis and Winnett to see if they could unearth unflattering information about the two men’s history in the U.K.” in recent weeks. Puck is calling this a “coup.” What the Post has done so far – report on itself and create a Chinese wall between Lewis’s management and the real journalism being done – is not a coup, it’s just plain ethical journalism. And it honestly should have been done months ago. It’s a pretty half-assed “coup” to only investigate the sleazy new CEO after he marginalized and demoted the female managing editor for daring to report on his activities.

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