Ideas Fest reporters’ notebook: Washington Post editor talks Trump and media
June 28, 2018
WashPo editor talks Trump and media
Marty Baron doesn't want to be in a war with the White House; the highly acclaimed Washington Post editor just wants to do work.
It's a quote he said last year shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration and began his sharp criticism of the media and the president's cries of fake news.
Baron spoke Wednesday at the Aspen Ideas Festival of the struggles his profession faces in a time when the White House and its supporters are attacking the First Amendment and reporters themselves.
"I think the truth is under assault from a lot of different ends, including the White House, by the way, and that is really concerning," said Baron, who has been at the Washington Post five and a half years after a decade at the Boston Globe. "There have been a lot of false statements."
The Post has fact-checkers who keep track, and currently it is "well over 3,000 at this point and increasing at an accelerating rate it appears after the last couple of weeks."
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He said they have been adding resources to the fact-checking team.
"There seems to be a deliberate effort to subvert the role of the media as an independent arbitrator of facts, but it's not just the media, by the way, but also universities, the courts, the intelligence agencies, scientists — and to argue that there really is no independent arbitrator of the truth except for the administration."
He said the Post is "more blunt about calling out falsehoods than we did in the past because there are so many of them and they are so blatant."
Shortly after Trump's inauguration, Baron responded to a Trump criticism, saying, "We're not at war with this administration, we're at work." It has become a rallying cry for journalists of late.
"It's going to be on my tombstone, evidently," Baron joked.
How to regulate guns
The Aspen Ideas Festival demonstrated Wednesday there's an overwhelming amount of interest in reversing the gun violence epidemic in the United States and frustration over lack of progress.
Former Congressman Mickey Edwards, a Republican from Oklahoma, brought stark reality to a session titled "Gun Violence Triage: What Has to Change to Stop the Bleeding?"
"It's not going to be stopped by the left," Edwards said to the large, liberal audience. "It's not going to be stopped by people who say, 'No, you shouldn't own a gun.'"
Action will only occur when gun owners say enough is enough and become the face of the movement for background checks and other regulations, he said.
"The fact that gun ownership is permitted under our Constitution and the Supreme Court has upheld that doesn't mean it can't be regulated," Edwards said.